The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

I think politicians have to ask themselves how far they're able to adjust. I think -- ask themselves how far the culture of the last 15 years has been terribly successful for the elected politicians concerned, and get back to -- ask themselves what's the balance between good governance of the country and good communications via the media with the general public. I don't envy you putting any recommendations of any action that in practice is going to affect that.

Politics usually ends in tears. I've seen -- most great men find in the end they skulk from office, rejected by the public that hailed them when they arrived. As Enoch Powell said, it always ends in tears. But actually the ones who have practised this extraordinary relationship with the media seem to come to be worst croppers than most.

Tony Blair spent a very great deal of time doing this, he had a good long run, partly helped by his opponents, which is how Margaret lasted so long; and Gordon Brown, who was utterly obsessed with relationships with the media, had a spectacularly unsuccessful time, didn't do him any good at all. If I'd been in Gordon Brown's entourage, I'd have tried to stop him reading any newspapers and get back to the business of what they were going to do.

My advice to some my colleagues of the past has been to stop reading them when I found colleagues were being upset by the newspapers, quite inordinately. I don't read them all myself, and I never understood why politicians do. Margaret Thatcher never read a newspaper from one week to the next.

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