Public affairs experts divided on Alastair Campbell's interview on Andrew Marr show

Public affairs experts are split over Alastair Campbell's emotional appearance on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show yesterday.

Former Tony Blair comms director: Alastair Campbell
Former Tony Blair comms director: Alastair Campbell

Tony Blair's former communications director broke down on live television during his interview with Marr and struggled to contain his emotions when questioned over the Iraq war.

Campbell appeared before the Iraq war inquiry last month.

Wolfstar managing director Stuart Bruce said: ‘Alastair did a great interview. He was raw and authentic and it obviously came from the heart and was genuine. It's little wonder that Alastair became upset after Marr's glib introduction and jibe about "works of fiction" linking the new novel to the dossier.'

Mandate Communications chief executive Sacha Deshmukh added: ‘I think Alastair's appearance was real. He has always been a high emotion kind of guy. But I don't think that anyone expects it to get him or Tony Blair any real sympathy. Iraq is now a debate that is so polarised that the most extreme views have trouble recognising any legitimacy in the other side's arguments.'

However, Weber Shandwick chairman of corporate communications and public affairs Jon McLeod was less convinced. ‘Alastair has made the news by being the opposite of what people have always supposed him to be, namely a remorseless, stone-faced spinmeister. Does anyone genuinely cry on TV? Proabably only on The X Factor. Was it deliberate? It wasn't an accident. Was it a PR stunt? No, just an opportunity well taken.'

Fleishman Hillard head of corporate communications David Hart said Campbell served as a reminder to communicators to support clients and not become the story themselves.


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