Tommy Gun spurns the spinner

Cheerleader for "Murdoch Labour" over nearly two decades, Alastair Campbell once advised Ed Miliband to deal directly with his friend Rebekah Brooks and bypass the Fortress Wapping underlings. It was an understandable, if misguided, courtesy by Comical Ali, who was a guest at her wedding in 2009. During Campbell's reign, Labour guaranteed News International a platinum-story service (the Sun was informed of the date of the 2001 election before the Queen) and Murdoch's papers offered seemingly unstinting support for events such as the Iraq war. So it may be no surprise that parliamentary colleagues of Brooks's nemesis "Tommy Gun" Watson whisper that he rejected overtures from Campbell to hitch the spinner's rickshaw to Watson's horse. I wonder if the suspicious Watson also remembers Campbell dismissing him as a "political pygmy" for joining the riot that forced Tony Blair, leader of Murdoch Labour, to quit as PM.

Nick Clegg was left with a bad taste in his mouth after a trip to Brazil. Waiting for a flight at 1am in Rio de Janeiro, the Deputy PM fancied a bowl of Frosties. A hack from the Daily Telegraph helpfully poured the milk. The Lib Dumb took one mouthful before spitting out the flakes. The milk, I hear, was curdled. Clegg likes Frosties, suggested a snout, because Tony the Tiger reminds him of the "ginger rodent" Danny Alexander.

The things you hear muttered in parliament . . . Could News International really have subsidised Andy Coulson's wages while he worked for David Cameron? I'd dismiss it out of hand but, then again, I'd never have believed that people would delete Milly Dowler's voicemail so more messages could be eavesdropped.

I doubt the multimillionaire Arianna Huffington will make as much money out of hacks and bloggers in the UK as she did in the US. Her pulling power is weaker. The parliamentary drinks to launch HuffPo UK were sparsely attended. Expenses-starved MPs preferred to pop over the road for a sausage at a crowded barbecue hosted by Morrisons. The big cheese at this party was the lump of smelly blue in a goodie bag.

The Sunday Times could have saved itself a lot of subterfuge in discovering how Gordon Brown bought his London flat. The apartment had been advertised in the property pages of a national newspaper. A Sunday paper called the Sunday Times.

This column rarely boasts, not least because it would first need something to boast about. But it notes that other public prints have finally caught up with Brooks's threats to destroy Tommy Gun Watson. Readers of this column may recall the June 2010 disclosure that she'd demanded Brown sack him as a minister.

Students of Cameron's thinning barnet observe that his barrister brother, Alex, three years his senior, appears to have little hair under his QC's wig. Vain Dave is turning into Alec Douglas-Home, the last baldie and Old Etonian in No 10.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

Kevin Maguire is Associate Editor (Politics) on the Daily Mirror and author of our Commons Confidential column on the high politics and low life in Westminster. An award-winning journalist, he is in frequent demand on television and radio and co-authored a book on great parliamentary scandals. He was formerly Chief Reporter on the Guardian and Labour Correspondent on the Daily Telegraph.

This article first appeared in the 18 July 2011 issue of the New Statesman, India