The Post-Blair Pitch Project

With British Prime Minister Tony Blair leaving office in June, people are wondering "who will be the next famous Downing Street spinner, the new Alastair Campbell," writes columnist Andy McSmith. Under Blair and his "New Labour" party, the term "spin-doctor" became widely known in Britain, and "two in particular -- Alastair Campbell and Peter Mandelson -- became so well known that the comics could make jokes about them." Unless Blair's designated successor, Gordon Brown, "has a late change of mind, it seems he will run his media operation through people who have come up via the Treasury press office and kept out of the public eye. That will mean sticking with low-profile Damien McBride, a former civil servant whose style, while direct, is less slick." Reviewing "the rise of the spin-doctors" within the Labour Party and subsequent controversies, McSmith writes, "Spin-doctors are like poisoners: there are famous poisoners and successful poisoners -- but no famous, successful poisoners."