O'Brien nominated for Orwell award

Oh, wait, I meant Alastair Campbell! Yes, he is nominated - longlisted, that is - for the Orwell award. That's Orwell as in George Orwell, author of 1984. The Orwell award is for people who fulfill Orwell's ambition to "make political writing into an art". Note: art, not fiction.

For those of us who are just joining us, Alastair Campbell, former communications director for Tony Blair, is a man who - and this is a matter of public record - lied for a living. His lies helped lead his country into an unneccessary war in Iraq. He said one thing openly while doing another thing covertly. To put it another way, he would probably not qualify for the Orwell Award which is something else entirely than the Orwell Prize.

Somebody possibly winning an award for political writing which was obviously untrue, someone holding opposing thoughts in his head at the same time? A state which misleads its own citizen... There's an adjective for this: orwellian. Maybe the judges confused the term when they awarded the prize.

I'll leave you with this little snippet from Campbell's Wikipedia page, just to remind you of who we're dealing with.
A few months later he became embroiled in further controversy after the BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan broadcast claims that the government had included evidence it knew to be false (famously described as "sexed up" by another BBC journalist) in an earlier dossier (about Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction). In a later newspaper article Gilligan said that his source had specifically identified Campbell himself as responsible for the alleged exaggerations. Campbell demanded a retraction and apology from the BBC, but none was forthcoming.

The BBC's source, Dr David Kelly, identified himself to his employers at the Ministry of Defence. The government released this news and under questioning from newspapers desperate to identify the source gave sufficient hints for his identity to become public. Kelly committed suicide shortly afterward and the Hutton inquiry into the circumstances of his death pushed Campbell further into the limelight. The inquiry showed that Campbell had been working closely with the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), in which the different sections of the intelligence services meet, and made suggestions about the wording of the dossier. He had also been keen that Kelly's identity be made public writing in his diary, "It would fuck Gilligan if that were his source". However, Lord Hutton cleared Campbell of acting improperly, as JIC had taken all editorial decisions. Hutton also found that Kelly's name would have had to be made public to avoid allegations of a cover-up. The Hutton report was widely criticised in the media, however, and Campbell's "Presidential"-style press conference afterwards was perceived by some to be misjudged, with Campbell attacked for appearing to gloat over the BBC's misfortune. This criticism increased when Campbell sold a signed copy of the Hutton report at a charity auction. Comments in his recently published diaries are contradicted by some of the statements made during the Inquiry, leading some to call for a re-examination of the evidence, particularly telephone calls made to Dr. Kelly in the week before his suicide. Although this seems unlikely as the Hutton inquiry had access to Campbell's diaries for the period.

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