Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Alistair Campbell Diaries

"This is a boastful tale whose subtext is moral disintegration: a story of private wobbles, minor disasters and small triumphs, travelling a road towards who knows where (Campbell has long forgotten) but always at his master’s side. If Bill Sikes’s bull terrier had written an autobiography it would read like this: a snarling, compelling, gut-wrenching splicing of loyalty with faithlessness." —Matthew Parris

"Flaubert warned us that by dint of railing at idiots, one risks becoming idiotic oneself. But Campbell has never been shy of taking that risk. Throughout the book he employs the same manly phrases to praise the few people he likes: Glenn Hoddle is 'a decent bloke', Prince Charles 'a fairly decent bloke', Robert Janvin, the Queen's secretary, 'a thoroughly decent bloke. Geoff Hoon is not only 'pretty much a total Blairite' but also 'a decent bloke'. The MP Bruce Grocott is 'always so supportive of me,' and, by chance, 'such a lovely bloke'. But most people Campbell meets come in for some pretty vigorous towel-snapping. Mo Mowlam is 'unbelievably up herself'. Martin Sixsmith is 'a twat'. Adam Boulton is at one moment 'total scum', then later born again as 'a total cunt'. Clare Short turns his stomach. Worse, she cannot 'recalibrate to circumstances'. Bernard Ingham is 'a silly old fucker', Roy Hattersley 'a fat pompous bugger', Matthew Parris 'a little shit', Simon Jenkins 'a total wanker', while George Robertson has 'a real problem on the blather front'." —David Hare

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