There’s an anecdote in the Guardian (but not online) about a meeting between writer Samuel Beckett and Labour spinner Alastair Campbell. The story may not be true – but God, I hope it is:
Even stranger is the possibility of a Beckettian effect on politics, with Nick Clegg naming him in Review as ‘my hero’ and an anecdote implying Beckett may have been an unlikely role model for the young Alastair Campbell. Peter Oborne’s biography of Campbell recounts that, as a Cambridge student, he travelled with a friend to Paris in the 70s and found Beckett in the cafe where he regularly breakfasted. It was the shadowy friend, he later claimed, who ventured to offer the writer a lengthy theory of the meaning of his ouvre, only to receive a reply – ‘What you’ve just said is rubbish! Fuck off! – that might be seen as defining both the approach and the style of Campbell’s future career as a spin doctor.