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Alastair Campbell on madness and power: ‘I don’t mind that I’m psychologically flawed’

Oct 2nd, 2017 by

In the latest of his political diaries, Labour’s former spin doctor reveals how the drama of the Blair-Brown years almost cost him his sanity – and his marriage

Alastair Campbell’s latest volume of diaries brings to mind the sign that used to be a ubiquitous feature of the 1980s workplace: “You don’t have to be mad to work here … But it helps!” To my knowledge, no Westminster wag has ever hung one in No 10. From Campbell’s account of government during the transition from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown, however, it would not have been out of place.

As a mental health campaigner, Campbell has always been open about his ongoing episodes of depression. But the mental health issues his new diaries reveal go well beyond the occasional black dog, reaching a torrid climax in 2006 during a walk with his partner, Fiona Millar, across Hampstead Heath. The couple were in total crisis, constantly rowing, confronting what looked like the end of their 27-year-relationship. When another argument erupted as they walked, Campbell lost it and began punching himself in the face.

Related: ‘What do we do now?’: the New Labour landslide, 20 years on

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