Editorial: Spin king always had perfect timing

Surely it can be no coincidence that spinmeister Alastair Campbell has finally broken his almost monastic vow of media silence, at a time when senior advisers are urging Blair to dispense with the art of ’spin’ that his Government and press secretary have so carefully cultivated?

Surely it can be no coincidence that spinmeister Alastair Campbell

has finally broken his almost monastic vow of media silence, at a time

when senior advisers are urging Blair to dispense with the art of ’spin’

that his Government and press secretary have so carefully

cultivated?



When even pollster guru Philip Gould is criticising Blair’s emphasis on

presentation and when Labour’s lead has been cut to its lowest point for

eight years.



While Downing Street pushes the mute button on Campbell in the wake of

the WI conference last week, his timely interview in the Times and

British Journalism Review, conveniently carves out an identity which is

distinct from No 10’s media machinery. Campbell may be coy about the

timing, claiming that his spur is the current focus on spin and the

relationship between Government and the media, but the whole tone of the

interview comes over as an attempt not only to direct flak away from the

Blairite emphasis on presentation but also from himself personally. In

fact, it appears a curiously unsophisticated ploy to cast off the mantle

of master of the dark art.



While Campbell is keen to underline his loyalty and was careful to point

out that he would stay as long as Tony wants him to, his musings on a

potential life away from No 10, and his ruling out of a career in

politics or the media, effectively opened the door to invitations from

corporations looking for a high profile addition to the board.



News this week that chief of staff Jonathan Powell is to quit following

the next election to form a political consultancy can only add to the

suspicion that this is a case of a former member of the ratpack lining

up an exit from a sinking ship.



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