War room with rapid response
Saturday 18 May 1996
The first floor of the high-rise block has been taken over by a huge open-plan "war room", modelled on Bill Clinton's Little Rock, Arkansas, HQ in the 1992 US presidential election campaign. The party already has a "flexible, task-force-based" campaigning operation, which combines press office, "instant rebuttal unit" for responding quickly to opponents' propaganda, campaign and policy departments.
By the time of the election campaign, the media centre will accommodate about 150 people, including staff from leading politicians' offices. Peter Mandelson, head of the election campaign team, already has an office there - hence the name.
Tony Blair and John Prescott were also intended to be based there during the campaign, although an official said a final decision had not been made. (After the dissolution of Parliament, politicians cease to be MPs and no longer have access to the Palace of Westminster - although a dispensation has been made for opposition party leaders in the past.)
Much has been made of the high-tech computer systems at the centre, especially the powerful database called Excalibur. When the Scott report on arms to Iraq was published, all 1,800 pages were scanned into the system in five hours, to make it easier to find the key quotes.
The system has all Labour politicians' recent speeches, statements and policy documents on it, as much Tory material as is consistent with copyright laws, and is connected to the Internet. And the computer terminals have screen-savers which scroll messages including: "New Britain. New Labour"; "Young Country. Stakeholder Economy."
The centre includes a converted mini-cinema on the ground floor, refurbished as a news conference venue with a fibre-optic cable link to the Westminster bases of the BBC, ITN and Sky.
- 1 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 3 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 4 John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time
QS university world rankings: Imperial College London leapfrogs Oxford to join Cambridge as best British university
Scottish independence exclusive: Millions of banknotes sent to Scotland in case Yes vote sparks run on ATMs
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...
£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...
£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...