Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Charlie Whelan Says ... Don't Believe It: "Tony Blair to Stay on for Full Third Term"

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Charlie Whelan Says ... Don't Believe It: "Tony Blair to Stay on for Full Third Term"

Article excerpt

I don't normally feel sorry for Sunday newspaper hacks, but this past fortnight I did. By the Friday night, they would have all written at least two or three thousand words on Labour's week by the seaside, having spent much of it themselves in an alcoholic haze. Most of their "insight" pieces will no doubt have been about the ongoing Brown-Blair saga, most of it made up or spun for them.

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When Alastair Campbell and I were still talking to each other, we used to enjoy inventing "background" stories for the eager Sunday hacks. As far as I can tell, little has changed since we both left.

On 30 September, when Tony Blair generously decided to tell us about his plans for himself, the Westminster scribes had to delete all their copy and start again from scratch, and No 10 had to work overtime to fill in the gaps. Things got so desperate that the Prime Minister even had to do some of the spinning himself. …

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