Tony Blair in his autobiography A Journey published today praises Alastair Campbell and Rupert Murdoch for the same attribute. He says Murdoch "had balls" and Campbell had "clanking great balls." Although he also goes on to describe Campbell as reacting "like a mad axeman." Blair also writes that the row over the 2003 BBC report by Andrew Gilligan, claiming that the Iraq dossier had been "sexed up", caused his relationship with Campbell to deteriorate. "I had, insensitively and foolishly, not quite appreciated the strain Alastair had been under," Blair writes. "He is, as I have said, a highly strung character." According to the Guardian report on the book today, Blair tried to ensure that neither Greg Dyke, the BBC director general, nor Gavyn Davies, the chair of the BBC governors, would be pressured to resign in the aftermath of the Hutton Report. The Guardian says: "To that end, Blair made sure Campbell, who by then had left Downing Street, deleted a call in his own post-Hutton statement, that "heads would roll." In the event, Campbell reinstated the call when he faced the media and the BBC bosses quit, doing lasting damage to Downing Street's relations with the corporation."
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
You can contact me with stories, ideas and comments by email at firstname.lastname@example.org You can also follow me on Twitter @jonslattery