Miles Kington: And now for something completely similar ...

There were exclusive extracts from 'The Blunkett Tapes' in the 'Daily Mail' yesterday, and also in 'The Guardian'. In what sense were they exclusive?
Click to follow
The Independent Online

Today I am pleased to hand over this space to guest columnist David Blunkett, who has agreed to answer such of your questions as he he can without compromising or embarrassing himself. Take it away, Mr Blunkett!

Dear Mr Blunkett, I could not help noticing that there were exclusive extracts from The Blunkett Tapes in the Daily Mail yesterday, and also in The Guardian, which printed large stretches of the same material. In what sense were these extracts "exclusive", if they appeared in both papers?

David Blunkett writes: I do not see what business my personal life is of yours. I refuse to bring distress to people who have been close to me. Not counting Cabinet colleagues, of course.

Dear Mr Blunkett, No, but this is nothing to do with your personal life.

David Blunkett writes: When I say personal life, I include anything to do with my emotional, domestic, financial, political, mental or cultural life.

Dear Mr Blunkett, That does not leave much, does it?

David Blunkett writes: No. But I have been badly scarred by my recent experiences and have learnt to be extremely wary of people.

Dear Mr Blunkett, You say in your diaries that you often had long private sessions with Tony Blair, talking over your fraught situation. In fact, I am amazed by the amount of time he was able to spend talking to you about your problems. As you cannot see, how did you actually know it was Tony Blair you were talking to, and not some highly skilled impressionist like Rory Bremner? Who might have been specially hired by Downing Street to talk to you and thus release Blair for more important functions?

David Blunkett writes: See my last answer. Next, please.

Dear Mr Blunkett I have been reading Michael Palin's diaries this week, and am constantly drawn to the feeling that your story could only have been invented as a Monty Python sketch. Blind Home Secretary ... affair with married publisher of right-wing magazine ... fellow sinner Simon Hoggart ... illegitimate offspring... do you not agree that it is all wildly unlikely?

David Blunkett writes: I refuse to get drawn into a rehashing of a situation which caused such pain in the past to so many people. Next, please.

Dear Mr Blunkett, If you refuse to get drawn into the rehashing of such a painful situation, why on earth have you sanctioned the publishing of your transcribed tapes, which rehash the same nightmare situation at such interminable length? Are you indulging in protracted therapy at the book-reader's expense?

David Blunkett writes: I refuse to (see last answer). Next, please.

Dear Mr Blunkett, While you were Home Secretary, you tried to block the publication of a book by Steven Moxon called The Great Immigration Scandal, which blew the whistle on the Home Office shambles you presided over. Now here you are, blowing the whistle on shambles at Cabinet level. Some contradiction surely?

David Blunkett writes: Next, please.

Dear Mr Blunkett, In your tapes, you often say that you have made mistakes. You shouldn't have appeared on such and such a programme, or been rude to Jonathan Dimbleby, or criticised Cabinet colleagues, etc etc. But then you say that the worst mistake you ever made, and the one you most bitterly regret, was talking to Stephen Pollard, who was writing a book about you, and who later printed your indiscreet remarks. Was that really the worst mistake you ever ever made? Worse than having a madly indiscreet liaison with a married woman while Home Secretary? Worse than some of your policy decisions? Worse than backing ID cards? Worse than being a multiple resigner? Worse than ...?

David Blunkett writes: We all make mistakes. I think agreeing to come on to this column this morning was a bad mistake.

Miles Kington writes: I think so, too. I have now reluctantly accepted Mr Blunkett's resignation and would like to thank him for his loyalty and invaluable services over the last 24 hours. Back to normal tomorrow.