Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Three Tragic Amigos

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Three Tragic Amigos

Article excerpt

After "the bravura Commons performance" and "an award-winning cameo at the 1922 Committee", Dave and I finally managed to catch up on Sky Plus with what had been billed as "the hottest ticket in town": Papa and Baby Doc v the House of Commons Third XI. It turned out to be a dull mismatch, notable only for the strange body language of Murdoch Sr.

As I said to the PM, "You know the old adage: if you've got the facts on your side, hammer hell out of the facts; if you've got the law, hammer hell out of the law. If you've got neither, hammer hell out of the table."

"Thank God we've managed to distance ourselves so effectively from them," he said.

"Absolutely, PM."

Snort with derision if you must but from henceforth the only door open to the Family Murdoch at No 10 is the "trap door". There has been a long-overdue cull amid the Cameroons, not so much a night of the long knives as a month of short, sharp stabs in the back. The chief victims being the Three Amigos.

First, Andy Coulson. Some Old Etonians adopt a mockney accent upon leaving school - an affectation that serves only to make them look universally ridiculous. Dave, in a similar spirit, felt compelled on becoming leader to invite a mockney into the heart of government. And not just any old mockney but a mockney quite evidently a little bit this, a little bit that. This unnecessary betrayal of his class by the PM is at the heart of all his problems. The mockney may be gone but his stain remains, as estuarial as his accent. …

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