Tuesday, February 24, 2004
A tale of Alastair Campbell's father
posted by Jonathan Calder |
The vet was called to a remote farm to castrate a herd of twelve bull calves. This simple business, though momentous as far as the bull calves were concerned, was a routine matter for Donald Campbell. He would go along the line of animals, injecting them with anaesthetic, then wait a few minutes for the drug to take effect before walking back down the line and cutting off the testicles.
On this occasion he was forced into a small variation of routine. After castrating the first bull calf, he threw the testicles on the ground in the corner of the cow-shed, where they nestled amid the mud and sawdust.
At this point the old farmer intervened. "Eh, don't throw them away, veterinary. I'll 'ave them for me tea." So Campbell put the testicles in a bucket, carried on with the other eleven animals, and thought nothing more of it.
Later that evening he received an alarmed telephone call from the farmer, who huskily enquired why his mouth had gone numb and he was finding it hard to talk and eat.
The vet replied that it would have been wiser to have allowed the anaesthetic to wear off before cooking.
Peter Oborne Alastair Campbell: New Labour and the rise of the media class (1999)