It hasn’t been a great week for Alastair Campbell, has it? Last Thursday, a senior MI6 official called the great persuader an “unguided missile” and said the spooks had concerns “from the outset” about the way their intelligence was presented in his and Tony Blair’s famous Iraq dossier.
Then, earlier this week, over Hackgate, Alastair could be seen touring the TV studios in his new role as an apostle of truth, arbiter of good journalism and enemy of Rupert Murdoch. This has provided much-needed amusement, at a difficult time, for both politicians and journalists – but does the poor man not have even an atom of self-awareness?
I have done some telly too during the crisis – we very nearly bumped into each other a couple of times – and to my horror I’ve yet again provoked this normally calm and mild-mannered ex-spinner to uncharacteristic anger. “Helped by his frequent appearances on a non-challenging (to him at least) broadcast media,” stormed Alastair, “he has been busy parading himself as champion of a free press and peddling the view that his story about Iraq and WMD was ‘right.’”
Well, it looks like no less a person than the Prime Minister seems to agree with me. Today he accused Campbell of “falsifying documents while in government,” prompting a wounded tweet from the former Spin King: “Look forward to Cameron providing the evidence that I falsified government documents. Given there is none, could be a long wait.”
Not that long a wait, actually. Here is a link to my summary last year of some of the ways in which Campbell (and his Joint Intelligence Committee “mate,” John Scarlett) falsified one government document, the dossier. Campbell himself wrote the foreword to the document, which included the false claim that the intelligence placed Saddam’s possession of WMD “beyond doubt.” Intelligence is never beyond doubt, and this intelligence certainly wasn’t.
As you will also see, with handy links to the original emails, Campbell by his own admission “bombarded” the supposed author of the dossier, Scarlett, asking for the insertion of two particular falsehoods – demands which were duly, in large part, granted. Chris Ames has many further examples on his website.
Unlike Cameron, I’m not covered by parliamentary privilege – so if Campbell wants to sue me for calling him a liar, he knows where to come.