Don't mention Alastair Campbell

How some bloggers are uniting to prevent sales of some recently published diaries

Sign Up

Get the New Statesman's Morning Call email.

In a week dominated by the publication of Alastair Campbell’s diaries, it is perhaps fitting to see how the electronic political diarists – bloggers to you and me – viewed his revelations. Given AC is said to have condensed two million words to a fraction of that amount, below I have condensed a similar volume of to just a few hundred.

NR (aka Nick Robinson) is quick to point out the reason he is not interested in the book is not because his sole mention is being named as a “jerk” but because it lacks authenticity: "The give away is in the book's title which speaks of ‘extracts’ from Campbell's diaries. The key point is that the extracts were chosen not by a publisher or an editor but by Campbell for political reasons. They give a partial and, therefore, misleading view of recent history unlike the best diaries which show the author and those close to him warts and all."

Sky News veteran Adam Boulton is philosophical about being described variably from “a total c***” to “pretty sour as ever”.

He writes: “All fair comment, all very interesting to me, and all for the viewers to make their mind up on, if they care.”

Meanwhile, Rob Fenwick gives a brief history of mobile phone use in Britain and uses it to assess the validity of the now infamous anecdote of how Gordon Brown was rescued from a locked toilet by Tony Blair.

By Wednesday there was a marked decrease number of mentions of Campbell or his diaries on blogs. This may have had something to do with a Tim Ireland post entitled “Tell Alastair Campbell to go f**k himself”. It proposed a fortnight blogosphere boycott of all things Campbell to counteract the mainstreme media’s coverage of the diaries.

It’s guiding principles were:

“1. Pledge not to buy the book. After all, nothing really juicy went into it, anything halfway-juicy was taken out of it, and any halfway-decent scraps that are left will be repeated in newspapers anyway.
2. Don't blog about the book beyond your decision not to blog about it and/or not to bother buying it.
3. Place this handy button to one side of your weblog for the next fortnight so readers know why you're not blogging about Cherie Blair's knicker drawer.”

Wednesday also saw Gordon Brown announce his draft Queen’s speech: 20-odd proposed bills that have been condensed down to increased housing and a perceived rejection of super casinos in PMQs.

Dave Osler provides an interesting analysis of the benefits of creating public sector housing stock. While Matt Davies ponders whether the Queen will feel annoyed that Brown has stolen her thunder: “She doesn't get to do much exciting as our head of state (aside from all the taxpayer funded fun, of course), the Queen's Speech is about the only time she gets to feel special. When he saw her at the palace, I bet Gordon didn't tell her he was going to make even that a waste of time.”

As long as he doesn’t ask her to remove her crown I’m sure she’ll be fine.

Owen Walker is a journalist for a number of titles within Financial Times Business, primarily focussing on pensions. He recently graduated from Cardiff University’s newspaper journalism post-graduate course and is cursed by a passion for Crystal Palace FC.
Free trial CSS