Alastair Campbell on why he’s in such a rage with this government

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As the former Head of Communications in Downing Street, Alastair Campbell knows better than most what it takes to run a country – and he's not afraid to say what he thinks of the job being done by the current prime minister.

Appearing on Yahoo's White Wine Question Time podcast alongside is daughter, Grace, the writer and broadcaster says he loathes what he describes as a "hideous" Conservative government.

“I have these days where I'm in such a rage at this government, I can't even begin to tell you,” he says.

“I'm in such a rage! I loathe them so much that they sort of managed to combine venality and incompetence, which is a horrible mix!”

Listen: Grace Campbell talks about why Tony Blair is a regular feature in her therapy sessions

Campbell cites a mixture of reasons, from announcing more money for buses — which he says is purely for show ahead of the local elections in May — to Priti Patel’s recent policing bill.

He says: “It's the fact that is the utter, nauseating hypocrisy of Priti Patel on the one hand, standing up in the House of Commons to say we must do more to protect women at protests, and protect women on the streets, and then immediately afterwards, you bring in a policing bill, which is going to take away even more rights to peaceful protest.”

The Home Secretary has put forward a bill that could make peaceful protests and marches a thing of the past. Recent riots in Bristol came as a response to the motion, in which 21 police officers got injured.

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For Campbell’s daughter — with whom he co-hosts the Football, Feminism and Everything In Between podcast — her father's rants are little more than wasted energy.

“I don't disagree with anything he's saying,” she states. “I just think either just go into politics, because then you can do something about it; or you can't get so irate about it — because unfortunately, when you're on the outside, there is virtually nothing you can do.

"I get why you get so angry, because you were once in it, but just to expel that much energy about something that you have no control over, I think is quite unhealthy.”

Alastair Campbell and his partner Fiona Millar leave Downing Street in 2003 after resigning. Campbell announced his resignation stating his family have suffered because of his job.  (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)
Alastair Campbell and his partner Fiona Millar leave Downing Street in 2003 after resigning. Campbell announced his resignation stating his family have suffered because of his job. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

While Campbell disagrees with this daughter’s statement, he admits he still wonders if things would be different if he had stayed in politics.

“I don't agree that just because you don't go a certain route means you suddenly have to just sort of pipe down,” he says. "And also, maybe if Grace's mother had not been so insistent about me leaving politics in the first place, that you know, life could have been different. Who knows?”

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While Grace admits she is very similar to her father in many ways, she says she doesn't let her anger at the Johnson administration derail her.

“I don't get this obsessive about things,” says the 26-year-old. “I think what Priti Patel is trying to do today is awful — obviously, it's awful — but you know, I've signed the petition, I've shouted out about it online. I'm not going to let it ruin my day!”

For Campbell, he just hopes the public will eventually come to his way of thinking - until then, he’s going to carry on getting angry.

“I think the country is just not woken up yet to the reality of what is a truly hideous government,” he says.

"I'll just keep on raging and eventually this thing has to go somewhere. You can't have a situation where you've got so many people are so wound up and yet they're still ahead in the polls. Yet they're still doing whatever they want to do! They've locked us up for a year and they're 12 points ahead in the polls.”

Campbell has just released the 8th volume of his diaries, covering the years 2010 to 2015, which takes a look at how we went from Olympic glory to Brexit.

Hear Alastair and Grace Campbell talk about Tony Blair and the affect he had on his life. Listen now on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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