James Chapman’s painful live-tweeted breakdown is the subject of growing concerns among his friends in Westminster. It is not hard to understand why Chapman is anguished. He was being eased out of the Daily Mail pol-ed role when he took up Osborne’s offer to spin for him. That’s the source of his surprisingly vicious animus against Dacre. He haughtily told everyone on the way out of Northcliffe House that he would be in No. 10 in due course, lording it over them when Osborne ascended to the premiership. Things did not quite work out that way.
For some time after Osborne’s sacking he was in limbo, eventually taking the role with David Davis at DExEU for which he was so unsuited. He then became a partner at lobbyists Bell Pottinger, his ability as a lobbyist counselling clients specifically on Brexit may be a little hindered by his very public and frequent meltdowns where he has attacked almost all the people clients might hope he had some influence with; government ministers, newspaper editors, not to mention influential journalists who write about his clients. His Trumpish tweets are not a conventional method of communication for usually discreet lobbyists. Never mind his publicly stated plans to set up a new party and stand for it at a by-election. Clients might see that as compromising his counsel and judgement just a teensy weensy bit.
On Facebook and Instagram there have been grim late night posts – subsequently deleted. Chapman was escorted out of parliament a few weeks ago after a particularly drunken episode. He has abused those who have tried to reason with him. All this has been an open secret in SW1 for weeks. His shouty crackers performance on the Today Programme brought it all into the open for the wider public. He has also to some extent gone public himself with his hundreds of round-the-clock tweets. Today he has flipped out with David Davis when only recently he told everyone he was on good terms with him. He’s demanded an emergency recall of parliament and challenged the PM to a public debate in Parliament Square, last week he claimed cabinet members were on the verge of defecting to his party. He’s called for Brexit-supporting publications to be shut down. He sometimes asks people like JK Rowling and Hillary Clinton to follow him on Twitter so he can directly message them. His tweets suggest that in his mind he thinks he is Britain’s answer to Macron leading his own party, “The Democrats”. We’ll pass over the naked Instagram selfies. In all this he is being egged on by idiots on Twitter, every bit of praise and support feeding into his mania.
Some former colleagues are going public, most are keeping their counsel private:
Many, many Remainers are in James’ mentions as well telling him to take a break from Twitter for his own sake. Sadly James can only see conspiracy:
These fears would explain why David Davis stopped short of kicking him too hard this morning. It’s sad to watch.