The Daily Mail is probably the best-resourced newspaper in the UK. Its legendarily foul mouthed editor is used to securing the big stories, and by paying top whack if that is what it takes. So it is no surprise that the Mail has secured the rights to serialise Power Trip, the account of his years in the service of Pa Broon, by former Labour spinner Damian McBride.
What's f***ing wrong with slagging off slebs, c***?!?
This has caused instant blowback from former supporters of Tone: spinmeister Alastair Campbell has been especially critical of selling to the paper he used to call “The Dacre Lie Machine”, although publisher Iain Dale has deployed a straight bat in response. For him, it is a purely financial matter. And for the Mail, it is an ideal device for laying into the Labour Party.
So the first taster of the book is headlined “A very brazen assassin: Blair's attack dog was Alastair Campbell - but few knew Gordon Brown had an equally amoral spin doctor. His sensational memoirs reveal the dark heart of politics”. Yes, the Vagina Monologue and his obedient hackery are talking morals. The Taylor sisters, Colin Stagg and Winston Silcott will be suitably impressed.
And, alongside the extract from McBride’s memoir, there has to be punditry from Daily Mail Comment, the authentic voice of the editor. “How Labour's lies and spin poisoned politics” thunders the headline, continuing “During Tony Blair's tenure as Prime Minister, spin, deceit and downright lying became everyday facts of political life. Under the control of the malevolent Alastair Campbell, a fearsome Downing Street propaganda machine engaged in character assassination”.
Big Al will be touched at the high regard in which he is clearly still held by the Vagina Monologue, and that Dacre is still prepared to give Andrew “Transcription Error” Gilligan a free pass. So readers are told Campbell “hounded the government scientist Dr David Kelly to his grave” while Gilligan remains out of view.
But, all the while, those blessed with a long memory will see the Mail accusing others of character assassination and wonder just how much brass neck Dacre can deploy while still remaining credible. Their number may include, oh I dunno, Alan Sugar, Liz Hurley, Nicole Kidman, Diana Rigg, Rowan Atkinson, Michael Caine, Sharon Stone, Elton John, and Noel Edmonds, for starters.
All of these people have had to take the Mail to the cleaners for libel. So has Hugh Grant. So has one of the paper’s own hacks. So has a producer from BBC Newsnight. So has the former companion of lawyer George Carman. Paul Dacre and his retinue of attack doggies care not one jot about the hate mail and career destruction their copy has precipitated. They have no room to call out anyone.
But Dacre’s hatred of Tone and Big Al trumps mere facts. No change there, then.