Tessa Jowell was backed by Tony Blair when her husband David Mills came under investigation by Italian authorities who suspected him of corruptly receiving £340,000 from Silvio Berlusconi. Her explanation that she had no knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing of her husband was accepted by the PM. The couple separated, but are now reconciled. Some newspapers have termed the accusations the ‘Jowellgate’ scandal.
But in an astonishing interview with the Labour supporting Guardian last week, Tessa Jowell went into meltdown during an interview meant to support her aspirations to replace Boris Johnson. Decca Aitkenhead described Jowell’s responses as a pitch for “I’m not dodgy.” Decca called her a “broken model” and suggested her tears over the split with husband David Mills were fake. The Mary Poppins image shattered for good as Tessa Jowell spewed a string of foul mouthed oaths that included four F….,s the word a….hole, s….. and also the word “penis”.
The Daily Mail reported: “‘Those a******es are so f****** rancid that I just hope every morning they wake up and think, ‘‘I’m ashamed of the job I do. To say that somehow I got up one morning and thought, ‘‘You know what I’m going to do today, I think I’m going to separate from my husband?’’ F*** off.
‘There was a toerag who slept in his little white van outside my house for six days… and for five days I was intimidated. And then I was coming out to go to the gym at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning, and there he was with his f******, you know, penis-like lens, waving out of the window. I banged on the roof of his minivan and I said, ‘‘You f*** off out of here in ten minutes or I’m calling the police.”’
The job of mayor involves handling a great deal of pressure, as well as a budget of billions. Boris Johnson has been the subject of several vicious and extended smear campaigns on twitter, involving completely false allegations. He has handled these with good natured equanimity and come up smelling of roses. During the deeply unpleasant Eddie Mair interview, Boris certainly looked uncomfortable at times – he was expecting questions on Mayoral policy – but aware of his innocence, he responded courteously throughout. Afterwards, polling proved his popularity was greater than before.
If Tessa cracks and falls apart every time she is under pressure, this certainly does not bode well for her Mayoral aspirations. Labour has yet to field a viable successor to replace the irreplaceable, hugely popular Mayor we already have.