Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Comical Ali Is Back, Offering His Pearls of Wisdom

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Comical Ali Is Back, Offering His Pearls of Wisdom

Article excerpt

* He's back. The Samuel Peep-Hole of new Labour is advising another premier. Yes, Alastair Campbell is offering pearls of wisdom to Gordon Brown. It remains a mystery whether the Father of the Nation invited spin or whether Comical Ali, frustrated at sitting by a phone that never rings, presented himself as a willing volunteer. My Talibrown snouts whisper how Comical Ali has taken to pinging 20:20 hindsight memos to Numero Dix including an assessment of the election that never was. The one-time tabloid propagandist devoted much of his tenure denouncing a media obsessed by gossip, tittle-tattle and ministerial splits. That was before, of course, he published a diary full of, err, gossip, tittle-tattle and ministerial splits. The uncharitable wonder if Peep-Hole is collecting material for another chapter.

* Humour alert. Druggie Dave is displaying disturbing signs of being able to laugh at himself, perhaps advised that it will put him in touch with an electorate which likes to giggle at politicians. On the wall of the Tory leader's office, I'm told, is a newspaper cutting with the arresting headline: "Official: He IS a useless tosser." Before readers muse that it's fair comment (and it's not my place to demure), I should explain. The statement accompanies a picture of Cameron failing to flip a pancake on Shrove Tuesday, a stunt presumably intended to cast Dave in a good light, not give a red-top sub-editor the chance to vent his contempt.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

* Yomping across Britain to rally Lib Dem troops behind the half-Belgian Nick Clog is Captain Paddy Ashdown. …

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