Matthew Norman: Ali's sorry tale of unrequited love and the Daily Mail

Diary

It is with anguish that we address the psychiatric relapse suffered by Alastair Campbell. On his endlessly entertaining blog, Ali accuses his critics of being motivated by unrequited love. In an entry peppered with understated Nazi references, he explains away the Daily Mail's belief that he enjoys a casual relationship with the literal truth as a classic case of transference.

The disdain of mannerly editor Paul Dacre and two columnists (Peter Oborne and Quentin Letts), is solely due, he posits, to their homosexual passion for him. Those who have identified this posting as a bravely misdirected attempt at wit ignore the form book. This manifestation of narcissistic personality disorder is not the first of its kind. "What struck me most," wrote Cherie Blair of a meeting with Diana, Princess of Wales, early in 1997, "was how completely obsessed he was by the idea that she fancied him ... he kept saying to Tony, 'She really fancies me she's only asked you so that she can see me'. Although he was doing it in a jokey way, such is his ego that part of him probably really wanted to believe it."

Thirteen years on, here we go again. It is not for this column to speculate as to whether that delusion was a case of projecting his feelings for the Princess on to her, and what this might imply about his feelings for Paul now. Nor is it my business, recalling all the Nazi stuff, to reflect on the persistent hold of the Third Reich over homoerotic fantasy. But to those of us whose fears about Ali's wellbeing the years have done little to abate, this relapse is a grievous concern.

Plot spoiler

More cheerily, the publication of Ali's second novel, Maya, is imminent. With apologies for breaking the embargo, "Maya is a dark yet ultimately life-affirming historical romance, telling the tale of how the Mayan civilisation came close to destruction in 4th-century Mexico after the entire male population fell in love with a beaky-nosed, bagpipe-playing Adonis from the distant kingdom of Burnley". Available for pre-order on Amazon, Kingdom, £16.14.

Devil of a time

Ali may not be the only New Labour figure to challenge for the Booker this year. That one time wannabe Labour MP Ross Kemp (Wade as was) has also written a novel. Devil To Pay, out in July, will tell the tale of ex-soldier Nick Kane, and that's as much as we know. Ross, who recently treated Sky viewers to a nuanced examination of the Israeli-Palestinian troubles, becomes a renaissance man to rival Jonathan Miller.

The drawback is how all the other work restricts his stage career. When TV's Hardest Man made Shakespearean drama's most prophetic debut, playing Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew in 2003, two years before summoning police to his aid during a domestic with then wife Rebekah, it seemed a matter of time before he gave us his Lear. Now, perhaps, he never will.

Cameron cutie?

Touch wood the political ambitions of another media type go better. Embarking on the journo-political trail blazed by twin Tory titans Winston Churchill and Michael Gove is Sue Douglas, who vacated the Sunday Express editor's chair after translating John Major's dismissal of Europhobic colleagues as "A Bunch of Shits" into a front page headline. One of the smarter and more engaging hacks of her generation, Sue sailed through the Conservative's fast track selection procedure, and hopes for a safe seat to fight this summer. The odds aren't great, with scores of candidates after very few seats, but if Sue can get herself on to a three-strong shortlist you'd be rash to back against her.

If a leg up is required, Andrew Neil seems the man to supply it. After Sue persuaded him to buy the agency PFD, he rewarded her with the boot. The least the pretty boy could offer by way of apology is a profile-raising slot on This Week.

In the hot seat

As for the show that precedes Andrew's gurn-fest on BBC1, has Question Time ever been more laden with gravitas than on Thursday? I don't believe so. Even Colonel Andrew Roberts, the KFC heir who moonlights as an historian of the empire-besotted far right, was eclipsed by top political commentator Richard Madeley. Britain's best answer to Peggy Noonan interviewed Mr Tony Blair on Iraq, he told us, and using the antennae honed over a 30 year journalistic career was convinced the PM was telling the god's honest. Sir John Chilcot and the gang might just as well shut up shop now.

Missed a trick

Daily Mirror "Exclusive of the Week" goes to Friday's "Brown: I'll face Iraq probe before election". Typically, the reticence was as impressive as the exclusivity. The Mirror buried it on page 14, while both The Sun and the Daily Mail preferred page two.

It's torturous

We began with one of the planet's more unwittingly hilarious blogs, and so shall we end. After carefully analysing the electoral shock in Massachusetts, Melanie Phillips concludes it was all down to Obama's dislike of torture. "As Clarice Feldman notes on American Thinker," writes Mad Mel, "The key issue for Massachusetts voters was not healthcare or spending. It was national security and the treatment of enemy terrorists."

As ever, the depth of her research cannot be doubted simply because it drove her to her preferred destination. As a glance at leading US pollster Rasmussen Reports unearths, exit polling showed that 56 per cent of voters regarded healthcare as the most important issue, while 25 per cent cited the economy. You do the math.

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

News
people

Far-right organisation has defended its actions on Facebook

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

International Promotions Manager - Consumer Products

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: A global entertainment busi...

Head of Finance - Media

£80000 - £90000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: Working for an International Mul...

Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker