Exclusive Preview (Part 3): The Alastair Campbell Diaries – Extract: Iraq – The Aftermath Of The Invasion.

by richardhutton

Here is the final preview of Alastair Campbell’s personal diaries. This exclusive extract depicts the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq.

This passage is drawn strictly from imperious sources: Alastair Campbell’s personal diaries; the BBC journalist John Simpson’s The Wars Against Saddam; and the Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly’s Those Who Trespass[1].

 

20th March 2003

12:01am

‘Ah Gordon – my arch nemesis’ I thought, as the Chancellor of the Exchequer sashayed into my private chambers. 

It had just passed midnight. My carriage clock had barely finished chiming, in fact. I was at home in my study; wearing nothing but a mauve dressing gown, and padding around pensively, while the greatest hits of Britney Spears emanated delectably from my mother’s antique gramophone.

‘Poot a suck ennit, Allie’ Gordon huffed. He had never shared my taste in music; and I had never shared his taste in ties. He flapped the repeatedly-sexed dossier at me.
‘What’s that?’ I asked.
‘Ye know whut thees es. Ah wunt th’ truth – wi’hoot n’any th’ blither’ he demanded.
‘A blizzard? Are we expecting stormy weather?’ I replied.
‘Ach – can eet muttleh!’ Gordon bellowed.

He had arrived unannounced – and strode straight into my stationery cupboard, before realising his mistake. His blind eye – often so useful at critical junctures – could prove somewhat hindering at times.

‘Ah’ll nae turn a blind ah tae this, Allie. ‘S a bloodeh ootrage!’ he yelled.

A staple remained caught in his lapel. It glinted menacingly in the flickering fluorescent light.

‘Let me pour you some wine, Gordon’ I said gently; gesturing in the direction of the cabinet. But Gordon snapped. ‘Can eet, Campbell. Ah’ll nae be fallin’ for yae tricks’.
‘Well’ I said; ‘if you’re going to be like that, then you’ll not only be the first Scotsman to resist a drink in a decade, you’ll also be the first Member of Parliament to taste sobriety in a century’.
‘Aye – and ye’ll be the first Press Secretary in history tae tek a visit to the proctologist complaining of a bottle o’ Chianti jammed in yae soft decanter’ Gordon murmured. 

I thought it best not to mention Bernard Ingham; though it was widely known how he had earned his knighthood.

‘Mentull’ Gordon muttered to himself, collapsing on to my leopardskin couch, and disturbing my mental images in the process.
‘Menthol? You have a problem with your sinuses again?’
‘Mentull! Yae wee barm-pot!’ Gordon cried. He began to knead his temples. ‘Fust Tony, then Cherie, and noo me’.
‘Don’t count on it’ I thought. Still, I could do worse, reader. I have done previously, in truth. The reasons for Charles Kennedy’s sudden drink habit have never been publicly admitted. I shuddered briefly; and tightened the cord of my gown.

‘What is it troubling you, Gordon?’
‘War, confound eet. Uv all the bedam-ned things. Wih had eet goin’ swimmingly.  Jus’ peachih – ‘n noo thus. A flamin’ tits-up parade tae Baghdad, wi’ Georgie Boosh n’ ‘is faith-based prisons ‘n all’.

Gordon leaned forward – fixing his good eye upon me and glowering. ‘Ah tell ye, Allie – ye’ll rue th’ day. We all wull. Fahve year’n doon the lahne – we’ll be fer a reck’nin’. 

The tone was undermined, somewhat, by his glass eye looking straight at my porcelain clown collection.

‘That’s a shade gloomy, in my opinion Gordon’ I replied. ‘I detect pessimism’.
‘Pah – and phooey!’ he spat. ‘Ah shouldae seen et comin’. I shouldae gien tha lutt a yer a kelterin’.
‘Well why didn’t you then?’
‘Ye know why, Allie. Ye mebbee a nae-good two-bit huckster – but ye know well-enoogh’.

It was true. I did know why. His ambition for the premiership had long been an open secret; as had the colour of his underwear, given his long-standing habit of leaving his front zip open. Purple is an odd colour in many ways. In fact, there had long been an unspoken tension between us – and not just because of our shared taste for burgundy. A tension which I suspected would have dangerous consequences.

‘You need to relax, Gordon’ I said.
‘Hoo ken ah? Eh? Yer a Campbell – ye ken what it means ta me. Tae us. But tae keep quiet – tae be turnin’ a blahned ah…’
‘You’ve done it before, Gordon’.
‘No – ah’ll nae remain sahlent this tahm. This un’s nae wee cudger like Bernie Ecclestone shilling fer cigar pennies. This is war – it’ll finish us all’.         
‘Cherie thought it was a good idea’.
‘Aye – she would’a – because she knew I wouldnae’.
‘You’re tired Gordon. You need to take it easy’. 

He sat there motionless – his head in his hands; his knees parted. His glass eye staring straight through me. A moth flew through the window from the darkness outside; and fluttered towards the ceiling light, pattering softly against the bulb. 

‘Ah tell ye – a sturm’s a’brewin’. And we’ll all be sweatin’ it come summer’.
‘Some of us are more inclined to heat than others, Gordon. Some of us like it hot’
‘Ye’ll be belchin’ smurk from ye breaches, ye will, Allie. Mark ma wurds. Wih all will’.

I poured Gordon a glass of liquor. No member of parliament can resist an intoxicant indefinitely; even if they know it may kill them. In the light of the room, the liquid looked seamy, and red as blood. I knew Gordon’s thoughts had turned to the future. To number 10.  

‘Here – have a drink of this’ I ventured. ‘It will help you relax’.
‘Gie it here’n’ Gordon scowled. He drammed it in one gulp.
‘Ach – s’as bitter as gall’.
‘Gall?’
‘S like th’ strainings of Satan’s jock-strap!’
‘I’ve never been too fond of whiskey, myself’ I replied. I raised my wine glass:
‘A toast’.
‘Aye – a toast – tae oor damnation’ Gordon replied, finally relenting, and slackening his tie. Despite the cold breeze passing into the room from the outdoors, the night was humid.

‘Ye wi yer smart mush. Why don’t ye tell me whet tae do, eh?’ Gordon asked.
‘Better yet’ I answered, loosening my robe; ‘I’ll show you’

Gordon fixed his good eye on my torso.

‘Ah could’nae, ah would’nae, ah should’nae’ he stammered.
‘You can, you will, you shall’ I replied.

I turned the glimmering light off; plunging the room into darkness.

Gordon was now wearing only brief purple shorts. He had signalled his desire by removing his shirt and trousers, and by leaning back on the couch. He closed his eyes, concentrating on nothing but my tongue and lips. I gently teased him by licking the areas around his most sensitive erogenous zone. Then I slipped his shorts down his legs and – within seconds – my tongue was inside him, moving rapidly”[2].

 

And so that’s how it happened: the true story of how a Scotsman of vision and integrity – and arguably the one political figure who could have protested against the war with powerful consequences – betrayed himself for the sake of his Prime Ministerial ambitions. It is, of course, also the story of Alastair Campbell’s potent and far-reaching tongue – an integral part of the entire episode.


[1] Dialogue is pure conjecture.

[2] O’Reilly; Those Who Trespass: p. 153.

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