It seems that the latest bout in the fight between Derek Draper and Paul Staines is not just a spat about whether sites were or were not offline but is a little deeper. Surprise, surprise Labour are doing badly in the polls so their tactic is to smear the opposition. This is always done, The Conservative Demon Eyes Poster, Michael Howard as Fagin, the Obama bin Laden stuff. But it has been turned into a big story on the BBC, today's Telegraph, various blogs with various comments about desperation, being appalled, it being ludicrous the shock and amazement goes on. The problem is though there is no surprises here. It would be obvious it was happening, it is a pretty obvious tactic and consistent with the tone of Labour's campaigns recently. It is also consistent with a rather ham-fisted attempt to create a Labour supporting journalistic blog in the same vein as Iain Dale's Diary and Order Order, mistakenly they think that they can use this not just to spread the Labour message but also scurrilous gossip about opponents. The bit that is surprising is that once again Labour got caught in this way and made to appear so underhand and devious to the man in the street, and this can only be due to the lack of an effective or stable communications team. Brown hailed himself as the non-spun PM after Blair stepped down, this is of course rubbish but, as this great piece by Fraser Nelson suggests, what he has is a largely reactive communications operation which has little long term strategy and (it seems) little job satisfaction or loyalty. While the next election will not be won by communication strategy alone, as the polls wax and wane you can't help wondering if Brown had a more efficient team and strategy would he be losing out as badly in the court of public opinion?