A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

Category: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries.

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

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


‘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’.
‘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.

Exclusive Preview (Part 2): The Alastair Campbell Diaries – Extract: Iraq – The Eve Of War.

Part two of our exclusive preview, drawn from Alastair Campbell’s recently disclosed journals.  

 What was the atmosphere like within the halls of power on the eve of the invasion? Alastair Campbell’s personal diaries provide a fresh insight into these disturbing events; ones which allow the reader to gain an understanding of the period like no other.  

The following extract is based exclusively upon the most credible 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].

19th March 2003


‘You rotten bastard!’ Cherie shrieked as she burst through my office door, waving a sheaf of grimy papers at me. ‘How could you do this to me? How? How?’
‘Do what?’ I asked.
‘You know bloody well what! This always happens whenever Tony’s with you!’
‘Well, in all fairness now, it was only the once’ I replied; not entirely truthfully.

There was his wedding night, for instance.
And the engagement party the year before.
Actually, there was the christening of his niece as well.

‘He knows very well he shouldn’t go to war. He knows it’.
‘Oh. The war – right, well, yes’.   
‘I told him to stay away from that George Bush. Him and his gang.  But you – I expect better from you, Alastair. You’re a grown up’.
‘I’m a man’ I replied. A man; here with this agitated woman.
‘Yes; well…’ Cherie quipped, looking away.
‘You know, I did try to dissuade Tony from going to war, Cherie. Really, I did. Honest. He was just so set on it – he was just so decisive and assured. It seemed like there was nothing I could do to convince him of his folly’.

Wrong word; and didn’t Cherie make me feel it.

‘Folly? His folly? He told me what happened, Alastair!
How you helped him make his case!’
‘Did he tell you anything else?’ I enquired tentatively.
‘He told me everything, Alastair. Everything’.      

I held my breath. Cherie has an awful temper; and an excellent aim with blunt objects.
Hell hath no fury like a Prime Minister’s wife scorned; less still one whose husband literally sexed-up a dossier.

‘All about the UN, and the half-assed journalists; and Charles Kennedy’s crapulence’.
‘Now come on – we never even mentioned his irritable bowel…’
‘His drinking habits, Alastair. You know what I’m talking about’.

The dossier fell from Cherie’s hand. She stood still a moment, looking tired, and worn. The slight lines around her mouth seemed somewhat darker. It made me realise I hadn’t seen her smile – her beguiling, terrifying smile – for several days now.

‘I tell you…’ she began; ‘it comes to something when the drunkest member of parliament is the one speaking the most sense’.
‘But he’s Scottish’ I replied. ‘He could perform surgery drunk’.
Cherie looked askance.
‘That’s not the point and you know it. What will it mean for Tony? When he was elected Prime Minister, we never thought he would actually have to do anything’.
‘Well don’t worry – nothing’s changed’.
‘How can you say that? We’re going to war’.
‘It’s only soldiers who’ll be sent overseas; and if it all goes wrong for them, we’ll blame the Americans’.
‘I blame them already’.
‘So do I. So do I, Cherie. They misled your husband; and now he’s got himself into a right mess. It’s up to us to get him out of it’.
‘But how? We’re on the eve of war!’
‘It could be worse’ I demurred.
‘How? How could it possibly be worse?’
‘It’s only Iraq’
‘Well, I mean, at least its nowhere important’.
‘That’s not what I was talking about! I meant how could it be worse for me? How often does Rupert Murdoch usually call Prime Ministers’ wives, asking them to pose topless with an American flag?’

I didn’t mention the fact that Murdoch had propositioned me in like manner. I had declined, of course; out of necessity. But a thought occurred.

‘I know,’ I began. ‘It certainly is a tragedy. And it could have terrible consequences for Tony’s career. Or at least his parliamentary standing. I did tell him that. I really did’.
‘Then why didn’t he listen? Why didn’t he listen Alastair? Why?’.

Cherie was obviously frantic; and I could think of only one way to relieve the tension.
I slapped her, hard, across the face. Once, twice – that’s all it takes to make a hysterical woman see sense; and succumb to my charms.
Cherie recoiled, and looked coyly at the floor – at the same rug Tony and I had laid the dossier upon before…well, anyway, I noticed Cherie had begun to pull her earlobes gently. It was a nervous habit of old; and it aroused me no end.

‘But what am I supposed to do?’ she asked imploringly.
‘You need to relax, mon Cherie. You just need to calm down’.             
‘You’re going to have to be strong for me, Alastair. For me and Tony’.
‘I’ll be anything you want me to be, baby. Everything’s going to be alright. Everything’s going to be just fine’.
‘But how can you be so sure?’
‘Because I’m Alastair Campbell, baby. And I’m just that good’.
‘Prove it. Prove it to us, Alastair – to me’.

And so I proved it, reader. 

Cherie was now wearing only brief white knickers. She had signalled her desire by removing her shirt and skirt, and by leaning back on the couch. She closed her eyes, concentrating on nothing but my tongue and lips. I gently teased her by licking the areas around her most sensitive erogenous zone. Then I slipped her knickers down her legs and – within seconds – my tongue was inside her, moving rapidly”.

And that is where the extract ends. The following day, Britain and America invaded Iraq; and the rest is recent history.  

[1] Dialogue is pure conjecture.

Exclusive Preview (Part 1): The Alastair Campbell Diaries – Extract: The Invasion Of Iraq And The ‘Sexed-Up’ Dossier.

The Decision To Invade Iraq.

The decision to invade Iraq has left the British public nonplussed for several years now. Why did the American government invade Iraq; and why did Britain collaborate? Why have none of the principal individuals responsible been brought to justice; or even merely made to explain their actions?  

Well, we are currently blessed to have one of the key figures involved in presenting the case to the British public release his personal memoirs via a mainstream publishing house. Alastair Campbell’s journals covering the epoch of the invasion have shed new light on the decision-making process which led to Britain and America’s incursion into Iraq in 2003. 

The following depiction is drawn exclusively from authoritative 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]. The reader may draw their own conclusions about the true nature of this troubling incident.  

“18th March 2003

It was eleven o’clock at night. My office was replete with its customary odour of lilac and Crisco. I was sitting on top of my desk, gazing out of my window at a young lady tending to a little lap-dog by her ankles. She leaned over, beneath the streetlight – her bosom gleaming in its sallow brightness. ‘Just the ticket’ I mused aloud, nursing my aching temples. 

Suddenly Tony burst through the door in tears – his face drawn; his limbs weary. He flaked out on the carpet before me, face down; and a dossier fell from his hand. 

‘What is it dear?’ I asked.‘It’s nothing’ Tony gasped – rolling over onto his back, and staring up at the broken ceiling fan. He began to sob quietly. ‘It’s not important’. 
‘No, really – tell me; it is important if it’s got you upset’.
‘Well…no, no. It doesn’t matter. Really, it doesn’t’, he wept; gesturing towards the sheaf of papers with his hand.
‘What is that?’ I asked. 
‘My dossier on the need to invade Iraq. It explains in precise detail why we need to align ourselves with the Americans in their crusade against evildoers’.
‘But why are you so upset?’ I asked.
‘A journalist was mean to me. She said that most of what I had written was exaggerated or untrue[2]; and I really don’t see how else I’m supposed to impress President Bush unless I go to war with him; and how else can he impress his father without emulating the first campaign against Saddam?’. It was a lot for me to take in. I didn’t know what to say at first; but then an idea struck me.  ‘Well, why don’t you read what you’ve got so far?’ I said.

Tony rose to his knees. He cleared his throat, and assumed a mien of passionate honesty. His clenched fist held proudly against his breast. A consummate conviction politician. He began to read to me; his voice – compassionate, and candid – resounded convincingly throughout my small office.

‘Saddam Hussein is actively trying to acquire nuclear weapons capability; and while America has been content to sell nerve-toxins to him in the past, it is now time to draw a line in the sand. 
Radioactive knives have been smuggled into Iraq across its border with Afghanistan. Taliban operatives have secreted plutonium rods inside the colons of their camels, and have entered Baghdad via Tehran.
The invincible warlord Saddam Hussein is somewhere between six months to half-a-year from developing weapons of mass destruction; and he hasn’t even had the decency to purchase his ingredients from British or American manufacturers this time. Not only has he previously used such weapons against Iraqi civilians; but now he threatens people who really matter, like Israeli politicians, and the reputations of their American counterparts’.

Tony stopped, and looked up at me. I gave him a nod of encouragement; and bade him continue.

‘This programme is detailed, active and growing. The blueprints are disguised as colouring books; while the Ba’athist regime has several nuclear reactors operating from a fish-monger’s kiosk in down-town Kirkuk. Only the three-eyed mackerel betray the presence of fissile material; whilst Danish Blue – imported from Norway – is being used to mask the odour of radioactive decay.  
The chemical weapons are disguised as vanilla essence – not extract; whilst Saddam Hussein’s biological weapons comprise not only swine-flu, but also e-coli. These can be delivered within 45 days by Royal Mail; or within three weeks by Federal Express, though it costs more. We know this is so, because the Hermit of the Euphrates overheard a friend of his neighbour mentioning something or another about it. In short, the weapons of mass destruction programme is literally up and running.
It has developed legs – and it is learning to use them. The program is in its infancy. Most infants learn to crawl within six months; and can walk inside a year.
But that is not all. Saddam Hussein’s most intimate advisors have also begun to import high-strength aluminium soda canisters as part of long-range ballistics programme. These stealth cans have been cleaned and polished; and are therefore primed to attack Britain. Moreover, the chief scientist behind these weapons of mass destruction has also employed a master chef to bake a lovely sponge cake with yellow icing. It takes no more than 45 minutes to prepare one; and it can deliver a payload of 17 grammes of napalm per three kilogramme’s of flour’.

Tony fell silent; and looked beseechingly at me. I could see he needed encouragement; but I must concede I was dissatisfied. ‘That’s very moving’ I said; ‘but it needs some work’. It was not convincing, despite Tony’s earnest performance; and despite my best efforts to seem frank, my doubt was evidently etched gravely upon my face. ‘It needs improvement, I know’ Tony pleaded; ‘I just don’t know how to give the recital substance’.

I thought for a moment, then took the dossier from him calmly. ‘Let’s make some very minor adjustments’ I said. ‘That’s all you need. Instead of ‘vanilla essence’, we’ll say ‘uranium enrichment programme’. And we won’t mention the Hermit of the Euphrates – we’ll cite British intelligence. Nobody will know the difference. And here in the endnotes – where you’ve said “information gained from the esteemed internet” – we’ll say “inside information from high-level Iraqi defectors”’.

Tony’s countenance brightened perceptibly; and yet his brows furrowed almost immediately.
‘What if the Conservatives oppose us?’
‘They won’t’.
‘What if the Liberal Democrats do?’
‘Nobody will mind. Charles Kennedy drinks a crate of whisky twice a day. He’s no longer allowed near exposed flames. And who would trust a bluff alcoholic in a time of war or national crisis? It would never have happened in Churchill’s day’.
‘But it might alienate members of our own party, Alastair’.
‘Only the leftists, Tony – the ones who pretend to believe in international law. At least you’re honest about it. Just threaten to resign if your motion is defeated’
‘But what if I’m beholden to that?’
‘Don’t worry – your majority is far too large to be defeated’.
‘What about the public? You know they’re not keen on President Bush’.
‘Well nobody’s keen on them. They don’t matter’.
Tony mulled this over, before starting suddenly.
‘Yes, but there may be journalists who cause difficulties? What will the papers say? Surely they won’t accept dishonest sound-bites at face value? They’re not that slavish. What if some of them ask questions about the true intentions of U.S. policy? What if they mention the folly of imperialist dreams, or ask about oil concerns? Or mention the wider issues of weapons control and the justification for war?’.
‘Don’t worry about it’ I said.
‘But I do worry’ Tony rejoined. ‘What if they question the American’s supposed moral objection to Hussein’s brutalities, but their supposedly moral support of Israel’s violence?’

This was growing rapidly tiresome; but I didn’t say so to Tony’s face. It pained me to see him in such a state; just as it pains me to relay the scenario to you – the reader – of my ever personal and private journal. I could see Tony was worried about his reputation for passionate honesty and plain dealing; and so I sought to calm him.     

‘Don’t worry’, I replied; ‘many journalists will simply repeat anything government spokesmen tell them. We’ll play on their weakness and their laziness[3]. And if any of them insist on being even-handed, we’ll accuse them of being biased. If they criticise us, then I’ll threaten them directly over the phone[4]. Or we can accuse them of being sympathetic towards Iraq. By the time the truth begins to grow fashionable, they’ll have been long discredited’.
‘We could say that they don’t respect President Bush’s intelligence’ Tony interjected.
‘Well, neither do I in all fairness’ I thought; but I didn’t say so. Instead, I reassured Tony manfully, placing my hand under his chin, and raising his gaze to meet mine.
‘Look, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here’ I said.
Tony blushed. ‘You’ll have to be strong, Alastair; for both of us’ he murmured.
‘You know I am, baby’ I replied, removing my watch. 
‘Just tell me what to do, Alistair. Just let me know’.
‘I want you to relax, Tony. You need to calm down’.
‘But I can’t. I just can’t. What if the UN doesn’t pass a second resolution?’
‘The UN? That talking shop? If they disagree with us, we’ll call them anti-Semites. 
And if they don’t immediately acquiesce, then they’ll lose all credibility among the American public anyway’.
Tony still looked pessimistic.
‘Hey, look at me’ I said. ‘You’re the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and don’t you forget it. Now try to picture yourself as President of America’.
‘But the French…’ Tony stammered. ‘You know what they’re like – they’re capable of anything’.

I thought back to my own time as an exchange student in the back streets of Paris; and Tony was quite correct. The French are capable of anything; and are more than willing to try. I thought of my education in the ways of the world there, while I stalked up and down the cheap rug the civil service had foisted off on me. And then it struck me. ‘We’ll rename French Dressing ‘British Dressing’ I said. A wave of relief swept through Tony’s body. He was ecstatic. As he exhaled, I heard the weight of the world leave his shoulders.

But Tony’s hands were still trembling; and his body remained a-quiver – primed to bolt from the room, straight back to his wife. I took the dossier from his grasp, and placed it on my desk, taking hold of Tony’s forearm in the process.
‘You worry too much’, I said; ‘I’ll take care of you – the only way I know how’.
Tony looked into my eyes. He knew his days of innocence were over.
‘Hold me Alastair. I’m…I’m…’
‘Scared? You needn’t be’.
And so the case for war would be made; but not just yet. First, I had a more pressing matter to attend to.   

Tony was now wearing only brief white 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”[5].

And that is where the extract ends. Of course, the case for invasion involved more than just listing ingredients, cooking books, and bad sex writing. It involved misleading Parliament and ignoring the widespread opposition to the war amongst the British public. It also resulted in lucrative post-war careers for Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell. Yet, the extract provided above is indicative enough; and while I can’t prove that these events and Alastair Campbell’s tongue contributed directly to the decision to invade Iraq, the insurgency – or the carnage that followed – I certainly can’t prove that they did not.     

[1] Dialogue is pure conjecture, however.

[2] Simpson; The Wars Against Saddam: p. 397. 

[3] Simpson; The Wars Against Saddam: pp. 289-99.

[4] Simpson; The Wars Against Saddam:  pp. 405-6.

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