Ben Delicious writes from London: This has got to be one of the most hilarious contradictions in terms: former 10 Downing Street spin doctor, Alastair Campbell, the one of the ‘45 minutes’ and ‘Iraqi WMDs’ fame, has been giving evidence this week to the Leveson inquiry that is having a look at press ethics. Yes, Tony Blair’s former attack dog, who is to journalism what a genital wart is to oral sex, actually shared his views on the integrity of the media.
It was a bit like asking Campbell’s former boss Tony to talk about ethics in government. Or inviting Gordon Brown to share his views on ways of avoiding waste of taxpayers’ money. Or, if you want this hilarity to continue, using Peter Mandelson to talk about transparency and openness in high office. Or asking former Jacqui Smith to give a lecture on the need to control parliamentary expenses and allowances. Or Lord Goldsmith sharing his views on legal advice when it comes to dodgy wars.
The list of former Labour creeps talking about things that they are not fit to talk about could be endless here, so we’d better get back to Alastair.
The Leveson inquiry has been already dismissed by many as a total farce, with most witnesses producing the sort of drivel that is more suited for some reality television or a game show involving fading celebs or people, who have become celebs, like Kate and Gerry McCann. But Campbell’s appearance obviously represented a highlight of this lowlight, especially as the cunning operator managed to create a bit of a scandal for himself, having his written statement to the inquiry supposedly ‘stolen’ from him and published by some blogger, who was probably in cahoots with him all along. As a result, both the blogger and Alastair got loads of free publicity, which they didn’t deserve, to be honest, but, alas, it too late now: the damage has been done and the public has been duped – once again.
So what did Mr Campbell reveal to the inquiry? Well, nothing outstanding, but it was the cynicism of his take on the low standards in the press overall. That coming from a former hacks, and not a very good one at that, who ran things for a paranoid PM, Blair, who was terrified of being found out as the fraud and chancer that he was. Mr Campbell ruthlessly imposed positive coverage of his boss in the media, even though he should have been kicked out of office at the end of his first term. Not to mention the unsavoury saga of meddling with the intelligence dossiers on Iraq that the Chilcot Inquiry blew wide open, even though it didn’t really want to do that.
The thing about the Blair administration and his henchmen is that they just won’t go away, even though they should be hiding in shame for what they did to this country. But to their great luck the current lot in power has no intention of bringing the previous lot to account for anything, as it is already up to its ears in misdemeanours of its own.
So expect more books and lectures and appearances on the box and radio from Mr Campbell. The punishment for his sins will later when he least expects it.