Alistair Darling reveals all

Bitterness is so very unseemly.

This weekend Alistair Darling has managed to personify this most unpleasant characteristic.

Extracts from his memoirs on his time as Gordon Brown’s chancellor which are being serialised in the Sunday Times reveal just how much opprobrium he has been harbouring against the former Labour prime minister since he left office.

And, just in case anybody failed to get the message Brutus, sorry, Mr Darling ensured the blade penetrated as deep as possible by articulating how “hurt” he was to Andrew Marr this morning.

If his intention was to humiliate Mr Brown and provide the Tories with ammunition they can dine out on for a while, then he has succeeded.

Plurality call over the NotW fallout

No doubt buoyed by the latest developments which have seen Rupert Murdoch fly to the UK and apologise in person to the Dowler family and Rebekah Brooks arrested, Ed Miliband is now calling for plurality in the media.

Interestingly, he has the firm backing of Nick Clegg who outlined the need for it, along with “diversity” and “accountability” in the media, on Andrew Marr this morning.

Hang on a minute!

Anybody would think the close relationship between the press and politicians is something that has recently occurred in this country.

Neither is it unusual for one man to own a substantial amount of the press.

William Maxwell Aitken (1879-1964) the first Lord Beaverbrook, made his mark in newspapers, politics and finance.

Apart from having a successful parliamentary career – he was one of only three men to serve in the cabinet – he acquired the majority shareholding in the Daily Express and the Evening Standard.

Lord Beaverbrook also courted his fair share of controversy.

The point I am trying to make, if you had not already realised, is that I doubt that there has ever been a time when parliamentarians did not rub shoulders with journalists and their editors.

After all, at least half of them would have attended the same schools and universities – Oxford and Cambridge.

I am all for more transparency but we must be realistic about what is actually possible without going to extremes to make a point, especially a political one.