"...The BBC’s Nick Jones pointed out the way Alastair Campbell and Mandelson worked as a pair — the baseball bat and the stiletto. ‘If they don’t like your story, Campbell screams down the phone at you while Mandelson quietly goes to the Director-General,’ he said. ......In a good mood, Alastair Campbell was fun; in a bad mood, he was Ivan the Terrible, Freddy Krueger and Chopper Harris all rolled into one. ......The New Labour crew fought with unmitigated ferocity for control of every single paragraph, printed and spoken, hand-to-hand, tooth-and-nail. And they were very good at it. The best example of spin I personally experienced was when Tony Blair flew to South Africa...The word spread round our section of the plane. Pretty soon, Campbell had ‘reluctantly’ given us the whole story: the Prime Minister, while conducting a Cabinet reshuffle via his mobile on a boat in the Seychelles, had saved a Danish man from drowning.
When we landed, Blair agreed to do a pooled interview. ‘Right,’ said my colleague Huw Edwards after a few questions about Africa, ‘I do need to ask you about the Danish businessman you saved from drowning.’ Blair asked for a pause. Turning to Campbell, he said, grimly: ‘Is this down to you?’ To the camera, Blair said: ‘Ah, anyone would have done the same, it was nothing.’ Campbell’s ruse worked brilliantly: the Cherie beach photos were never heard of again. About a week later, a bewildered Danish businessman finally surfaced. Claims that Blair had rescued him were ‘absurd and ridiculous,’ he said: he’d merely asked the Prime Minister for a lift on his boat."