IT is typical of the Campbell regime at No 10 Downing Street that his intention to leave his job in the fairly near future has been cloaked in denials and protestations about the way in which the media get these things wrong. But the unanimity of media comment about the certainty of Mr Campbell's departure shows that enough has been said - not necesarily by the man himself - to convince editors that his reign is almost over. There will be time in the future to assess whether, overall, Mr Campbell's contribution to the Blair government has been positive or otherwise. The findings of the Hutton Inquiry, and of any other more wide-ranging inquiry that may eventually be set up, on his role in the preparation of the two intelligence dossiers and in the events leading to the death of David Kelly will necessarily be part of that assessment. Of more general concern is what effect his departure will have on Mr Blair who is rapidly running out of the close and trusted ministerial and other colleagues who assembled in Downing Street in 1979. It is increasingly obvious that the New Labour “project” is close to stalling in terms of public services and that the “Third Way” is somewhat devalued in its international impact. Where will Mr Blair now find the helpers he needs to breath new life into these concepts and to turn them into reality? I have commented here before that the Prime Minister is dangerously isolated in his Cabinet and in the Labour Party; this isolation is now likely to increase, as will its inherent danger to him and his government.


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