Alastair Campbell, While Facing MPs, Carried a Pin to Push into His Hand When He Felt He Might Lose Control. since When Have Honest Men Needed to Draw Blood to Tell the Truth? (Watching Brief)

By Platell, Amanda | New Statesman (1996), July 7, 2003 | Go to article overview

Alastair Campbell, While Facing MPs, Carried a Pin to Push into His Hand When He Felt He Might Lose Control. since When Have Honest Men Needed to Draw Blood to Tell the Truth? (Watching Brief)


Platell, Amanda, New Statesman (1996)


Two disgraced communications chiefs stepped into the world spotlight last week screaming their innocence. Saddam Hussein s Comical Ali said he had never meant to lie; he was just passing on information given to him by his masters. Meanwhile, Tony Blair's Cynical Ali was singing from the same hymn book.

First, we had the select committee, then the select audience of Channel 4, two masterful and premeditated performances by the master of spin. Campbell's storming of the Channel 4 news studio was as dramatic as it was misjudged. Physicians may be able to heal themselves, but spin-doctors can't.

Not since Peter Mandelson toured the studios protesting his innocence just hours before he was forced to resign for a second time have we seen such desperate attempts by a new Labour luminary to save his skin. I was less than 20 feet away, in the Five News studio at the ITN building on Gray's Inn Road, that Friday night when it happened. An assistant called Channel 4 at about 7.05pm to say Campbell was on his way.

No member of the government, however senior, would have such audacity. Within minutes, a wild-eyed Campbell was on the set, facing up to Jon Snow. The BBC's political editor, Andrew Marr, was right when he said Campbell's performance was jaw-dropping. That was the only sound you could hear as he raged around the building: the jaws of very experienced television executives dropping to the ground.

One told me he could not remember a single occasion when a politician had arrived unannounced and hijacked a live television show. If a minister had done the same thing, Campbell would have destroyed him.

In the end, there was no comfort of camaraderie, even from the left. The Guardian accused Campbell of starting a phoney war to obscure the ugly truth -- that the Prime Minister had exaggerated the case for a real war. The Mirror asked, "Just how dodgy is the sexy dossier?", and answered that for the 45-minute threat, the African uranium, the missing WMDs, the deadly build-up, there was no evidence found". The Independent concluded that the BBC "furore stirred up by Mr Campbell" could not obfuscate "the suggestion that Mr Blair sent British troops to die on the basis of a lie".

Perhaps the most damning of all pieces was written by Simon Walters in the Mail on Sunday, in which he recounted that the bully-boy tactics used by Campbell were exactly those deployed against him during the Black Rod scandal -- first "the big lie", then Campbell's favourite tactic of denying an allegation that has never been made. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Alastair Campbell, While Facing MPs, Carried a Pin to Push into His Hand When He Felt He Might Lose Control. since When Have Honest Men Needed to Draw Blood to Tell the Truth? (Watching Brief)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.