Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

PM's Health for Sale, Fiona Tries to Disown Cherie, and an MP's Panting Verse

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

PM's Health for Sale, Fiona Tries to Disown Cherie, and an MP's Panting Verse

Article excerpt

The state of the Prime Minister's health is what MPs want to talk about. The Strangers' Bar is like a fishwives' social. Most curious is the story that Tony Blair's hospital electrocardiogram might surface on the media market. One MP with detailed knowledge of the NHS suggested that the premier's ECG printout could be worth 1 m [pounds sterling]. As I know to my cost, these documents are easy to read, and even a medical amateur could settle the vexed question of the Great Helmsman's heart problems. I suspect it is worse than No 10 would have us believe.

Perhaps that is why he is cutting short his trip to Africa, returning a day early from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Abuja, Nigeria. The hacks are mightily relieved, but none of them expects a rebate on the 5,000 [pounds sterling] they are charged for accompanying the beloved leader.

I hear that Anne Jenkin has taken on the role of spin doctor for the lovely ex-model Sandra Howard, the shadow first lady. This is very gracious of her given that Howard demoted her husband, the whingeing nudist Bernard Jenkin, from the defence portfolio to a minor role in local government.

Huge row at the Guardian's education section when Fiona Millar, aka partner of Alastair Campbell, wrote her first column. Millar, ex adviser to Cherie Blair, wished to be described as a former adviser to Tony Blair--not surprisingly, since nobody in their right mind would wish to be identified as the First Lawyer's spin-doctor after Cheriegate. Grauniad chiefs agreed to cave in, but down in the paper's engine room, somebody inserted the correct description of the new writer. …

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