Editor’s comment: ‘Red card offence from Alastair Campbell? Not in my book’

Alastair Campbell has denied assault allegations. Picture: PA/Rebecca Naden

Alastair Campbell has denied assault allegations. Picture: PA/Rebecca Naden - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Whether or not you believe he was once the most powerful man in the country, Alastair Campbell is still a very public figure and knows that his actions will always be under scrutiny.

In his heart of hearts he must regret not turning a blind eye and deaf ear to the man who verbally abused him in Perrin’s Lane, though given the degree of provocation, and the CCTV evidence, it appears he behaved with a degree of restraint.

Nevertheless, for a man of his standing it was undoubtedly a yellow card offence.

Had he ever realised his boyhood dream of playing football for his beloved Burnley FC, many pundits would surely be arguing that if he had raised a retaliatory arm on the field of play, the referee would have been within his rights to brandish a straight red...though not in my book.

To put all this in perspective it was a pretty minor offence when compared to John Prescott’s infamous left hook, or anything the Gallagher brothers might have hurled in the direction of probing reporters or snapping paparazzi during their heyday.

Celebrity or not, everyone, including Alastair Campbell, has a right to walk the streets without being abused, and this particularly nauseous attack was so vile that the actual words cannot be printed in a family newspaper.

The instigator might count himself lucky that he was not on the receiving end of anything more damaging.

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Mr Campbell is not and never has been an elected politician but the person who comes out of this whole unsavoury episode with the least credit certainly is.

Old adversary George Galloway displayed all the gloating relish of the cat who licked the cream when he took to social media to say that he was ‘investigating’ after the incident, for whatever dubious reason, was reported to him.

If anything truly untoward had happened, it was a matter for the police, not for a politician whose involvement could never be regarded as impartial or objective.

This had nothing to do with George Galloway but it was by no means the first time he has poked his whiskers where they don’t belong, though seldom with such little cause.