Freesteel Blog » Ed Milliband and the worst Labour Party internet action I have ever seen

Ed Milliband and the worst Labour Party internet action I have ever seen

Saturday, August 29th, 2009 at 11:52 pm Written by:

It’s quite simple. We’ve got the young Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate change, keeping himself busy on jollies around the world, like a government sponsored Cory Doctorow, with no time for anything productive, such as visiting the climate camp or lying down in front of the coal trucks going into Kingsnorth power station.

But who knows? It might be possible to hold our home-grown fossil fuel corporate monsters to account from the plains of Africa, while they are busy funding professional liars to undermine the political will.

But maybe there’s some kind of relevance to negotiating with governments around the world in advance of a Copenhagen Treaty, which is actually going to look more like a suicide note of the human race when it comes around.

Here’s the email:


I emailed you earlier this week to tell you about my new website, well today marks a 100 days left until Copenhagen.

During the week people have been visiting to add their support – they realise that we need to show the strength of public feeling to get the ambitious, effective and fair deal we need.

The amount of passion I have seen in the messages of support people have left me in no doubt that we have more chance of getting a deal if we have real voices demanding action.

You may have many friends who aren’t members of the Party, and won’t receive this email so I am asking you to forward this email onto them now. Ask them to make our pledge for a deal that’s ambitious, effective and fair.

Okay. That link for actually connects to:

which then forwards it to:

So there’s some kind of weird serial number email forwarding system going on here, which shows they’re trying to track where their hits are coming from. It’s a worthwhile thing to do, but this one is very poorly implemented.

The root page for is stupidly totally blank, but it appears to be owned by Tangent Communications Plc.

At the bottom of the final destination page,, it says:

Promoted by Ray Collins, General Secretary, the Labour Party,on behalf of the Labour Party, both at 39 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0HA.
Hosted by Tangent Labs, 32-42 East Road, London, N1 6AD, England, UK

Great! So, if this Tangent outfit control the final destination website, why do they need to stick in this incompetant intermediate web-forwarding layer to count the hits, when they could just as well count them from the destination website, possibly by using the referrer field, or a code more subtle than 100109/1666/1666/4/138/61838/7315ddb1a23831c9b808eab3d45182bd/563/ mapped to tmtid=563-100109-4-138-61838?

Or is their technology this patently crap? As it says on their jobs page:

If you’re painfully, excessively smart, have experience in php, Flex or Flash and would like to work somewhere that goes out of its way to foster ingenuity and new thinking, you’ve come to the right place. Send us your CV and a covering note telling us a bit about what you’ve invented lately.

Painful is certainly the word. And I’ll tell you what’s painful. I tried filling in the signup on, and it requires a mobile phone number. I’ve not got a mobile phone number to give it!

Field: First name is required
Field: Last name is required
Field: Postcode is required
The postcode you entered is not valid
Field: Email is required
The email you entered is not valid
Field: Mobile is required
Please enter a valid Mobile number
Field: Have your say on why we need a deal at Copenhagen is required

Normally you can work around this by using a number like 077777777, but the problem is that these excessively painfully smart people have wired in some server call on the form so it sends the number back, and checks if its a fake number.

What a lot of effort. What could they possibly require my phone number for? I’ve given them an email.

I gave up and replied to the original email, like so:

To: Ed Miliband
date: Fri, Aug 28, 2009 at 8:35 PM
subject Re: Time is running out

Not good. Why do you need a valid mobile phone number to sign up. I haven’t got one and I wouldn’t want you phoning it anyway!

Julian Todd.

Can you believe what I got back?

Here it is:

Thank you for contacting the Labour Party.

Your comments and questions are important to us.

But we will not have seen this email you sent us.

You will need to re-send your email by clicking on the link below and completing the online form.

Go to By using this form we will be better able to deal with your comments and questions in the most appropriate manner.

Thank you for contacting us.

Membership and Communications Unit

The Labour Party


Well, at least that link in the email didn’t contain some crappy redirect through taomail so they could find out how many victims didn’t give up at this point where they experienced this totally ignorant plan of deliberately discarding return mails from the few people who have taken the trouble of writing back with a potentially relevant point of view.

Who could possibly imagine this was a good idea?

Tangent Plc, while the six directors are busy draining half a million quid from the company per year, and declaring donations to the Labour Party of £6000 per year (which does not corroborate with the register), they boast:

Tangent Labs is a pure technology development business. Project teams with highly-skilled technical developers build the applications which support the clients of Tangent One and Tangent Direct. In addition Tangent Labs has a number of direct large corporate clients for which it provides bespoke project work.

The division employs 23 people and uses bespoke development methodologies to achieve high levels of innovative output….

The year saw growth in sales, team capabilities and product development. Demand for the services sold
by Tangent Direct and Tangent One accelerated the investment in TaoBase, Tangent’s proprietary technology platform. Today the platform is the cornerstone for a range of solutions which include:
* TaoBase – database design, construction and implementation;
* TaoMail – fully integrated email platform generating targeted and high volume email campaigns with a fully integrated tracking and results interface for campaign management…

Good for them. So they’re a glorified spam generator. As the Labour Party is one of their important clients, and a stupid one at that, there is a Case Study:

The organisation and funding of the Labour party is based on membership, donations and affiliations with Unions. The party has around 200 staff who support all MPs, councillors and constituencies as well as a network of activists and volunteers who are organized into campaigning groups at the time of local or national elections. With over 200,000 members, Labour needed a comprehensive communications structure that allowed them to communicate with members who in turn could deliver both national and local messages to the electorate.

Tangent was able to quickly build a communications network that can deliver a highly effective CRM solution across the party’s national and local infrastructure. Called Membersnet, this solution is available to all party members and carries personal and constituency information that is used to engage the local electorate. Membersnet allows events to be promoted at a constituency level and every party member can access, design, manage and execute a wide range of campaign materials through a single web interface. Member to member blogging, emailing and SMS messaging has been enabled and Mosaic data on voters can also be accessed through the same interface.

Membersnet has revolutionised the way that the Labour Party communicates both internally and with the public and feedback to mailings has increased by over 55%.

That’s got to be a joke.

For the record, I am not a member of the Labour Party. I’m just on their email list, having entered it into one of their forms at some point.

I do, though, have a friend who was a member of the Labour Party, and recently rejoined. Then he received this robot phone call containing a recorded message from Harriet Harman, and canceled his membership in disgust on the same day.

Marketing sucks when all you have to sell is how little you care.


  • 1. Ian replies at 12th April 2010, 11:35 pm :

    Spot on, I just spent an hour having a little browse through there dodgy websites and landed on this odd taomail domain.

    I like the fact the messages that have been sent can easily be accessed and crawled by Google.

    What a perfect example of wasting money, why pay some bad web development company to make a bespoke email system when you can use one off the shelf. Morons.

  • 2. Freaked out replies at 16th December 2010, 6:11 am :

    It’s the lab technicians in white coats with no faces that freaks me out. Scroll down to the bottom of the their website page (following the link in your post and you can see one screaming out in pain (apparently)!

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