If only Lance Armstrong had given Alastair Campbell warning about his drug-taking past

Our diarist notes that Tony Blair's former spin doctor was a particularly devoted worshipper of the disgraced former Tour de France winner. Funny, that

Related Topics

The downfall of a hero being an excruciating thing for a Boy’s Own type of mind, I am appalled by the lack of empathy for Alastair Campbell as he struggles to compute Lance Armstrong’s final disgrace. Ali famously worshipped the cyclist, whom he twice interviewed, and as recently as August clung to the hope that he was only abandoning the doping denial through fatigue

Even then, although acknowledging the possibility of wishful thinking, Ali preferred to see the accusations as media persecution and more evidence of the crazed nationalistic arrogance and anti-Americanism that kept France out of Iraq. “To some,” he wrote then, “many of them French, who would rather one of their own had dominated the Tour de France, he is a cheat...” He adored the Texan who taunted his Sunday Times nemesis David Walsh about the death of a 12-year-old son, even adopting Armstrong’s elegant quote that “losing is dying” as a mantra.

It would be a tragedy if he were now to equate Armstrong’s fall with a psychological petite mort that shook his self-confidence as a gifted judge of character. If he believed Armstrong’s denials, as he believed in Saddam’s capacity to attack British interests in 45 minutes and shared Tony Blair’s belief in the bona fides of Gaddafi and al-Assad, is a truly romantic nature a crime? The crucial thing is that he retains his self-belief, and continues to share his opinions with the rigid self-certainty that has made him a national treasure for so long.

Mensch: sharp as a squashed tack

Also contemplating Armstrong is a new star columnist. “Tough, outspoken and sharp,” as a Sun on Sunday strapline needlessly informs, it’s only Louise Mensch! Now who’d have guessed that Louise’s doughty championing of the Family Murdoch during its travails, when Tom Watson accused her of tabling amendments to the media select committee report designed to exonerate James, would earn her such a lucrative reward? Writing from New York, whither she repaired after tiring of Westminster life within 27.31 seconds of being ignored in the reshuffle, she posits that “Lance Armstrong’s confession to Oprah Winfrey left a lot to be desired.” If finding the words for thoughts the rest of us have but cannot articulate is the tabloid columnist’s greatest gift, the future looks bounteous indeed.

If you can’t trust Rupert...

Next Sunday, perhaps Louise will focus her sharpness on News International’s renegade independent directors. Led by Rupert Pennant-Rea, former deputy governor of the Bank of England, these rascals have the nerve to defy Rupert Murdoch’s will to instal John Witherow and Martin Ivens as editors of The Times and Sunday Times respectively, hence their appointments as “acting editors”. Wilfully misconstruing the meaning in this context of “independent” (which the Murdoch: English dictionary translates as “rubber stamp”), they appear to doubt the old sweetheart’s assurances to honour his old pledge never to merge the titles. This is hard to take. If Rupert’s word is no longer regarded as his bond, you begin to fear the death of chivalry in this industry.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits