At the special request of John Rentoul, who refuses to believe that Alastair Campbell could ever tell a porkie-pie, Guido is reproducing what he wrote on Sunday. Campbell is attempting to rebrand as a do-gooder and saint, though that does not extend to Tweeting Paul Dacre’s addresses. The new image is just not credible. Leaving aside David Kelly, lets just look at how he operated in his early days in Downing Street:
“Campbell has been on his high horse all week saying he never briefed against Tony Blair’s ministers – apart from the time he lost his temper with anti-Iraq leftie Clare Short and suggested Gordon Brown was “psychologically flawed”. Those of us with longer memories know this is spin. In May 1997 when he first arrived in Downing Street, Campbell shocked senior civil servants by telling them that two Cabinet ministers “couldn’t keep their trousers on”, that Derry Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, hated Donald Dewar, the Scottish Secretary. Smirking, he said “Nick Brown, was ever the bachelor” – before he was outed as gay. He went on to hint at the Foreign Secretary Robin Cook’s then adulterous affair with his secretary Gaynor Regan. All that was just in the first month he was in Downing Street and before he went on – as Michael Howard famously told him – “bullying and lying his way across our political life”.”
Today Peter Oborne has more:
“This protestation that he treated politicians with respect is so completely contemptuous of the truth that I feel a kind of moral obligation to correct it. No political journalist in my lifetime has treated politicians with such utter, total and complete contempt as Alastair Campbell did during his career for the Daily Mirror and Today newspaper (and later as a government adviser inside Downing Street). His personal conduct was far, far worse and more demeaning than any Daily Mail journalist.”
Hate the Mail all you like, but it is possible to hold contempt for more than one product or person at a time.