I wasn't at the No 10 briefing the day after the Swedish euro referendum, but I'm told it was the best comedy performance ever. Even Alastair Campbell at his worst wouldn't have told the lobby hacks with a straight face that the events in Sweden had no impact on us.
How is anyone supposed to believe a word of what comes out of Downing Street when it is not even prepared to admit something so obviously true? The Prime Minister's claim that spin is dead would be far more believable if his spokespeople were allowed to tell the truth, and the truth is that the result in Sweden means there will be no UK referendum in this parliament. Tony Blair knows this, so why not admit it? But he has never been honest about the euro.
The PM tells people what they want to hear. That's why he wrote in the Sun before the 1997 election that he was very sceptical about Europe and why he told the Lib Dems that he was very much in favour of joining the single currency. The only conversation I ever had with Blair about the euro was on my mobile outside the Red Lion pub in Westminster. He wanted to know why the Times was splashing the next day with a story saying Labour had ruled out a euro referendum in the first parliament. I explained that it had all been cleared with Campbell. I can't write here what he said, as my mum reads this column, but let's just say he wasn't a happy bunny. Not for the first time, his Chancellor had ensured that a euro referendum was dead in the water.
Gordon Brown still has bitter memories of the lost first Scottish Parliament referendum and thought, and still thinks, that a euro referendum will never be won. Sweden shows he is right.