Of all the animals of prey, man is the only sociable one.
Every one of us preys upon his neighbour, and yet we herd together.
The Beggar's Opera: John Gay

Tuesday 12 March 2013

It's an ill wind...

What a week it's been for Jonathan Aitken!

The prospect of Chris Huhne's imminent incarceration has sent Fleet Street scrambling for first-hand accounts of what it's like to exchange the palatial surroundings of Westminster for accommodation at her Majesty's pleasure.

The expenses scandal has not left them exactly short of suitably qualified pundits, but Aitken has clearly learnt a thing or two about PR since his fall from grace - either that or he has a damn' good agent - and has secured virtually every gig in town.

From the tabloids to the Today programme, he has been popping up on all sides to offer the hapless Huhne avuncular advice along with accounts of what to expect, delivered in varying degrees of lurid detail depending on the nature of the publication.

There's nothing like a spot of ubiquity to send suspicious souls looking for the real cause - decades of 'chat show' guests touting their wares or carefully contrived news stories that 'just happen' to coincide with a book launch or film have left the viewing public decidedly cynical, and with good reason.
Jonathan Aitken will be the star turn at Annabel’s nightclub next week when he hosts an “interlude by the Belmarsh Trio” at the launch of Banham Concierge, an advisory service started by the security firm. 
The former Cabinet minister will interview two of his chums from prison in south-east London, Noel “Razor” Smith, author and assistant editor of Inside Time, the newspaper for prisoners, and Leroy Skeete, who has been mentored by Aitken since he came out of jail.
Aitken's agent must be doubtless rubbing his hands with glee at the whole Huhne-Pryce affair, watching happily as the PR opportunity of a lifetime falls into his hands with impeccable timing.

And if we wished for proof that Aitken has now reached the point at which a celebrity's most trivial doings and tenuous connections supposedly become a matter for public interest, the Telegraph today supplies it in this report on the discovery of a body in a London flat:
Jonathan Aitken shocked by a murder in Mayfair
Jonathan Aitken, the former Cabinet minister, has spoken of his shock at the murder of Roberto Troyan, the boyfriend of his former interior designer.
You know you've finally made it in media circles when there's been a murder and you manage to upstage the corpse.


  1. Yet I'm sure nobody but Jonathan Aitken cares what Jonathan Aitken thinks about anything.

    It's the journalistic equivalent of filler for Tesco beefburgers - surely there's a more reputable source.

  2. A good - if slightly queasy - analogy, AKH.

    Somehow, the startlingly callous Telegraph headline reminded me of the bit in 'The Hitchhiker's Guide' where Slartibartfast says of the destruction of the Earth, "It was quite a shocking cock-up. The mice were furious."

  3. There aren't many people I actively detest but Aitken might be one of them.

    I clearly remember a picture of him, taken as he was being "asked to accompany the officer" on account of his perjury or whatever it was.

    Even through the newspaper photograph, his facial expression so clearly said "These sorts of things only happen to little people, not to the likes of me" that I have, to be blunt, hated his guts ever since.

    A plague on him and all like him.


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