Life at No 10 with grumpy Ali

Thomas Creevey: His Diary

Related Topics
NOW hear this. Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's press secretary, is privately keeping a diary with a view to writing an apologia pro vita sua in Downing Street. After all, he is a writer. Having started his authorial career as a pornographer, he interrupted it to become the political editor of Today, the rather boring tabloid shut down by Tony Blair's favourite newspaper proprietor, Rupert Murdoch.

Ali's diary will be riveting. No question about it. But grumpy.

SILENCE now for the Hattie and Frank Show. Harriet Harman, the Social Services Secretary, who pickpockets single mothers, and her deputy Frank "Think the Unthinkable" Field were each invited to appear before the powerful Commons Select Committee. Since they do not sing from the same hymn-sheet about their chosen subject, they decided that the only way to stop carrying on their argument in public was to turn up in tandem, holding hands and keeping an ear open for each other. For connoisseurs, it should prove to be excellent theatre. Perhaps Tony Blair and Gordon Brown ought to look in to see if it can be done.

SPEAKING of the Prime Minister, it is now apparent why he switched to a Roman hairstyle. He combs it forward because it is disappearing at the back. Parliamentary correspondents are losing the thread of Prime Minister's Questions as they study Blair's spreading bald patch from the press gallery. At least he has some hair. William Hague will not be troubling the new Commons unisex crimper. At eight quid a go, nor will Creevey, who will take his custom to Carole, the only female barber (not, repeat not, hairdresser) in North Yorkshire.

THE Bow Group, once the intellectual power-house of the Conservative Party, is busily reinventing itself. Having recovered from the near-terminal hangover of 1 May, a busy programme of events over the next few months has been arranged. Alan Clark will plug his column in the Evening Standard; Eddie George, the Governor of the Bank of England, will unburden himself about his "new roles and concerns under Labour". And over a black-tie dinner at Quaglino's, Cecil Parkinson will discuss "the rejuvenation of the Conservative cause" - in which he may reveal the secret of the elixir he's taking to keep him running a party led by a chap who is young enough to be his grandson. But it will set Bow Groupers back pounds 52.50 a head. Without wanting to sound mean, Creevey wouldn't pay that to listen to Geoffrey Boycott's Confessions of a Wife Beater. But the message is that the Tories are beginning to think for themselves again. They even promise a speech by Michael Howard for their annual diplomatic reception at Sotheby's in mid-May. That costs a mere pounds 20. But aren't the odds against him still being Shadow Foreign Secretary by that date rather longer than the winter nights in Lapland?

By the way, the Bow Group lays down that its members "shall have no collective policy". Just like the last government.

POOR Robin Cook, hereinafter known as Cock Robin. His treatment at the hands of the tabloid press is truly appalling. The Sun called our Foreign Secretary "Nookie Cookie". The Daily Star was worse. They billed him as "Throbbin' Robin". Small wonder that a Labour MP observes that Cook is "destined to die the death of a thousand cuttings".

At least he has had the comfort of his partner Gaynor Regan on his Far- Eastern trip, after Downing Street's clemency on the matter. I hope he enjoyed it, for every amour-tour by a minister will henceforth be subject to the most withering political scrutiny. The Tories have decided that attacking "gravy-train Labour" is the best way to restore their flagging fortunes in the polls. Worse, they have put David Wilshire MP, who is so far to the right that he is barely visible on a clear day, on the case. Nothing shames him. He has even asked the Culture Secretary, Chris Smith, who is gay, if he has taken his partner on any trips abroad at the taxpayers' expense.

No, he has not.

PADDY Ashdown, who goes through office staff faster than a speeding bullet, has got himself a new spin doctor. Miranda Green, an Oxbridge twenty-something has been hired to replace Sean O'Grady, who quit after only a few months over his master's masterful ways. "She's as tough as old boots," says a colleague fondly. "Which is just as well. Paddy is very demanding." That's one way of putting it. Autocratic might be another. His latest wheeze was to lock all his MPs in a bunker and force them to read and then hand back numbered copies of his Thoughts for The Future.

React Now

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

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Piper Ryan Randall leads a pro-Scottish independence rally in the suburbs of Edinburgh  

i Editor's Letter: Britain survives, but change is afoot

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Some believe that David Cameron is to blame for allowing Alex Salmond a referendum  

Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?

Mark Steel
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
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