Briefly, on Monday night, it seemed like it was happening again. A government source had said something controversial to an Independent journalist. Downing Street denied the conversation had ever happened. Then, they said that had it happened, the quotation was not correct. Then, they said that were it correct, that it was not government policy. Then the gushing. Cut it quick and clean – the first rule in communicating bad news. Tom Kelly’s statement said I did it, I’m a prat, I’m sorry, let’s get on with things.
Spin left, spin right, spin right around, and begin again. The pirouettes of the Blair government on Iraq and its aftermath have beggared belief. This is a government that has created a relationship with the media that has well trodden paths from Fleet Street to Downing Street, the arteries upon which this government has thrived. Blair should know however that these arteries run both ways, and now he finds himself in trouble, his journalist friends are deserting him. It may turn out to be a very long holiday indeed.