The edge - Amanda Platell wishes Camilla was more honest

The low point has to be not when Davis and Cameron were asked whether they wore boxers or briefs, bu

Watching Sir Christopher Meyer being interviewed by Andrew Marr on Sunday AM, I had a dour sense of deja vu. I had been there on that sofa (albeit being interrogated by David Frost) justifying my own diary, Unspun, of the video variety, which was to be aired that night. It was mere weeks after the 2001 general election and before the Tory leadership contest. My diaries were about loyalty - ironically, thought some, who saw the very act of recording them as disloyal. I, on the other hand, thought the Tories had a right to know how some in the party had worked against William Hague to ensure his failure. They needn't have bothered, as we were heading for a colossal defeat without their help.

Like Meyer, I was an employee - or one of the staff, as some MPs liked to refer to the leader's advisers - and like Meyer I was vilified by the establishment. I will never forget turning on the TV the morning after Unspun was shown and seeing a man I had always considered a friend accusing me of treachery of the worst kind.

One thing I quickly discovered was the way "staff" were treated within the parliamentary system. Snobbery and ancient class approbation were endemic. People were divided into "colleagues" - which covers any unprincipled, disloyal, self-interested old toe-rag sitting on the front or back benches - and "staff", the lowest form of human life, who were there to serve, not observe. Our role was to be seen and not heard, and certainly not to have opinions outside those one loyally delivered to one's betters if and when required.

As Meyer has learned, Tony Blair's new Labour has been no different, the new establishment as contemptuous of non-colleagues as any Tory MP ever was. So, to the howls of "Resign, you cad", I say Meyer should stay as chairman of the Press Complaints Commission. Why should there be one rule for new Labour politicians and advisers and another for civil servants?

When a government relies upon obfuscation as this one does, we rely upon the whistle-blowers to tell us the truth. We should be applauding men like Meyer, not pillorying them.

Proof of peace at last in the McCartney household between Paul's wife, the rather unremarkable 'Ever, and his brilliant daughter Stella, the fashion designer - Lady McCartney has worn one of her stepdaughter's coats for an interview in Cosmopolitan. Alas, some have interpreted this not as an olive branch but as a switch, the ultimate act of stepmotherly revenge, as 'Ever has the Fergie factor: she has only to look at designers and they become unfashionable.

Can someone explain to me the rationale behind the BBC's presentation of its Faith Day? The headline finding from its nationwide survey was that 67 per cent of people in this country consider themselves Christians. Why, then, did the image behind the presenters feature only Hindus (1 per cent), Muslims (3 per cent) and Jews (1 per cent)? And why was the introductory footage for the item a group of Muslim men praying, despite that faith representing a minority in the UK? Since when did a public service broadcaster take it upon itself to make society more inclusive by airbrushing out the majority of the people?

The low point of the Tory leadership campaign has to be not the moment Martha Kearney on Woman's Hour asked Davids Cameron and Davis whether they wore boxers or briefs, but when they answered. But then, when a beleaguered Prime Minister, fearing his first Commons defeat, chooses Football Focus to speak to the people, what can we expect?

Camilla Parker Bowles has surprisingly broken her silence to put the record straight on an oft-repeated, damaging story - she was never pelted with bread rolls by angry women in a supermarket. Perhaps this mood of refreshing honesty will extend to her telling us whether or not she had sex with Charles the night before he married Diana?

This article first appeared in the 21 November 2005 issue of the New Statesman, Inside Guantanamo