At Downing Street, the Alastair Campbell dynasty

RASHMEE ROSHAN LALL February 13, 2013
Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair, Downing Street

Alastair Campbell, the First: ‘Honestly, I promise I’m not back at Downing Street’

Hello, reads the email. It’s Alastair from Downing Street press office – please note it’s not the same Alastair Campbell who worked with Tony Blair – it’s just a strange co-incidence! Is Downing Street condemned to a dynasty of Alastair Campbells?

The email came to me courtesy an old friend and former colleague on the London beat. I laughed out loud and have barely just stopped. The new Downing Street bod is the “BME media officer”, which is just hideous British political correctness for black and minority ethnic.

Poor Mr Campbell, the Second. He has his work cut out explaining, emphasizing, correcting, and then doing it all over again. Again and again.

There’s so little he can do about this remarkable astral arrangement that has him working in a place where once strode one of the most famously infamous spin doctors ever.

Perhaps Alastair Cambell II could change his name by deed poll for the time he works at the Downing Street Press Office. Or he could elect to be known as Al though that probably sounds a little too informal and American for the Brits.

Either way, Alastair Campbell the Second has a problem.

His eponymous predecessor, Alastair John Campbell, was not noted for his patience, good temper and parliamentary language. The choleric and foul-mouthed Malcolm Tucker from the BBC satire The Thick of It is supposed to be loosely based on Campbell I, who has admitted that he has a rather colourful vocabulary.

One can only hope that Alastair Campbell II has abundant quantities of charm and good humour to see him through the testing times that surely lie ahead.