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

Share
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

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Robert Fisk
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape