Alistair Campbell. What can you say? He’s beyond hatred, beyond contempt, beyond belief. He’ll never change and he’ll never get it. The Chilcot Inquiry got nowhere with him. Did anyone seriously expect that it would?
However, the good news is that Tony Blair’s erstwhile Rottweiler is condemned to live a kind of inquisitorial Groundhog Day - eternally going before committees to defend “every single word” of his dodgy dossiers. Defiantly “proud” of the “small part he played” in removing Saddam Hussein. Thumbing his nose at the press. Quoting Psalms. You almost admire him for it.
You can imagine Campbell in his dotage, being hauled before the International Criminal Court when Tony Blair is eventually arraigned for war crimes. Bent and white, like an ageing former Nazi, muttering oaths and repeating the old lies: intelligence reports were clear...never sexed anything up..just did my job. It was the BBC’s fault, really. You can all think what you like. Not listening. Look at my face: bothered?
Does it matter any more? We’ve gone over this ground so many times: the weapons of mass destruction that were a figment of the Pentagon's imagination. BBC TV’s “Spooks” would never have fallen for it. Of course the intelligence was “sexed up” for public consumption, just as Andrew Gilligan said it had been. Why deny it? The world has made up its mind long since. The more Campbell avoids the truth, the more he identifies his own personality with Britain’s worst foreign policy disaster of modern times.
The Sultan of spin hasn’t entirely lost his touch. Last, week he astutely foregrounded Tony Blair’s pre-emption of cabinet government by revealing how the PM had written to President Bush privately promising to back him in any invasion long before parliament knew. Then he dumped Gordon Brown right in the middle of the Iraq scandal by insisting that the then chancellor was fully involved in all the critical decisions. We were all fooled into thinking that Brown’s lack of public endorsement of the Iraq war indicated reluctance. Not a bit of it.
But again, what’s the point? Why rake over the coals again? Well, for the oldest reason in the book: lest we forget. Campbell’s blokish obfuscations and word games led to the deaths of a couple of hundred British soldiers, tens or even hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, and of course of David Kelly, the weapons inspector who committed suicide because he couldn’t reconcile his conscience with the spin machine
Campbell is undoubtedly a piece of work. In The Thick Of It doesn’t nearly do him justice. He has become a modern personification of evil, a downmarket Machiavelli, a by-word for political cynicism and deviousness. That’s his reward. And you have to say: he’s worth it.