Thursday, September 08, 2005
Nice But Dim
Well, not particularly nice, according to John Humphrys, but the saga of Tim Allan, former Number 10 spindoctor, and the "Humphrysgate" tape is a fascinating little snapshot of the links between New Labour (the Labour party you CAN eat between meals) and Mr Murdoch's multi-national empire. But before we come on to that, perhaps we should discuss the sheer incompetence of Mr Allan's behaviour. The first rule of spinning is DON'T GET CAUGHT, and the first thing that Tim managed was to get caught. He was the only person in Britain who had a tape of Humphrys' speech. So who leaked it to the Times? It doesn't take Columbo to work that out, Tim. So there we have Alastair Campbell's former right-hand man, former spin-chief for Sky and then "independent" PR consultant (main client - Sky. Tax dodge, anyone?) committing a PR sin worthy of the most junior wannabe with a 2:2 in public relations from the University of Ilkley. So how did Tim reach the dizzy heights of PR hero-hood? Well, there is the Number 10 thing, of course, and when he left there he did an MBA and then worked for Sky. Strangely, Margaret McDonagh, when she left as general secretary of the Labour party, also ended up doing an MBA, which, last I heard, cost money. Thanks Rupert? Tim's wife, of course, works for the Sunday Times, where she heads up the cutting-edge Homes section, and Tom Baldwin, the reporter who received the tape, lives in north London and up Alastair Campbell's a*se. Campbell's a*se is well-set on a chair at the Times where he writes a sports column probably written by more people than read it. Oh that the levers of influence should be in such hands!