Village People: 16/01/2010


A touch of post-Chilcot stress disorder


*Five hours giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry under the glare of television cameras would test the endurance of anyone, so you cannot entirely blame Alastair Campbell for a touch of post-traumatic stress, but this time he really has blown a gasket.

It is not just that curious rambling post on his blog on Wednesday, in which he quoted Psalm 56, reproduced great chunks of his published diary, discussed Burnley football club's search for a new manager, said he had not read the newspapers, and praised Keira Knightley's performance in The Misanthrope, in a single stream of consciousness.

Among the newspapers he claims not to have read is The Daily Mail, which reported his appearance in its usual understated way, under the headline "Shameless, Swaggering and Still Lying". Inside, Peter Oborne, Campbell's biographer, wrote him off as "an unscrupulous propagandist who lied to the British public", and sketch- writer Quentin Letts labelled him as "ex-Commissar Campbell, the Propaganda Bully."

Suddenly, into the blogosphere there popped in excess of a thousand words of undistilled Campbell rage, directed at this unread newspaper, which he calls Die Mail, and its Editor, aka "Obergruppenfuehrer Paul Dacre".

Campbell has hit on a theory that Dacre is a repressed gay who secretly fancies him something rotten. This passion, Campbell surmised, was "first lovingly bitter, then bitterly enraged, then out for vengeance" because it will never be requited.

Dacre is not alone. In the same blog, that "faux posh tosser, Peter Oborne" and "the queer-looking Quentin Quetts" also stand accused of directing homoerotic longings in Campbell's direction.

Calm, Ali – calm, calm, calm.

Mandiavelli plays up to his own image

*But that other veteran spin doctor Peter Mandelson has developed enough of a sense of humour to play up to his own image. At a BBC lunch, when was asked why the plot against Brown mounted by Geoff Hoon and Patricia Hewitt had failed so dismally, the old Machiavelli purred: "Because I wasn't organising it."

A chance to shake off the curse of his life

*Residents of Spelthorne have until Monday to put their names down to take part in choosing their next Tory MP. The winner will be announced on Friday. One contender is Michael McManus, whose short biography on the Spelthorne Conservatives' website omits to mention that he has the patience of a saint. He needed it, because he worked for several years for that old grouch Sir Edward Heath. Heath's memoirs, The Course of My Life (1998), would never have been written without McManus's selfless assistance, for which he received next to no thanks. Proximity to Heath has been like a contamination that has blighted McManus's career, making it unlikely that any Conservative Association would ever let him near a winnable seat; but since Spelthorne is holding an open primary, maybe, for once, he is in with a chance.

Sitting uncomfortably in mutual loathing

*Which is a good enough excuse to retell a tale about the truculent Sir Edward. In October 1998, William Hague had the bright idea of persuading Heath and Margaret Thatcher to overcome their mutual loathing and sit side by side on stage at the annual Conservative conference, although the two ex-Prime Ministers had literally not exchanged a civil word since early in 1976. Heath arrived early, took a look at the stage, and spent most of the rest of the day bending Michael McManus's ear about the horrible chairs on which they were expected to sit.

Finally came the moment backstage when Heath and Thatcher met and 23 years of frigid silence was broken. Thatcher rose to the occasion, saying: "Hello, Ted. Have you seen those awful chairs?"

To which Heath retorted: "Can't see what's wrong with them."

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
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 General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week