Photo: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty.
Alastair Campbell has a new job: he's joining Portland, the public relations agency, on a permanent, part-time basis. His new boss is Tim Allan, the founder of the agency, and Campbell's deputy at Number 10 (and before that for the Labour Party in opposition).
This isn't the biggest or most important story of the week, and nor is it surprising - the route from politics to PR is well-travelled - but it's interesting, because it marks an important stage in the decontamination of the Alastair Campbell brand.
When Campbell left Downing St, in 2003, I suspect that he wouldn't have been by employable by Portland or any other public relations agency, despite his obvious expertise and experience. His name had been poisoned by association with an unpopular and highly controversial war; by his fight with the BBC over Kelly (though he was of course exonerated of any wrong-doing); and more generally because he seemed to embody "spin", which has become a byword for shallow and shabby dishonesty. Quite simply, no company would have wanted it to be known that they were being advised by Alastair Campbell. His very name had become bad PR.
Fast-forward nine years, and we can assume that plenty of businesses will be willing to pay Portland a lot of money for Campbell's advice. Although he still has plenty of critics and enemies, Campbell has become a relatively uncontroversial, respected and even popular figure in business and media circles, and in the country at large. This is partly just a function of the passage of time, as we all become more distant from the controversies of the Blair years. But it's also because Campbell has shown remarkable skill in navigating his way to calmer waters from the storms of his political years, while keeping himself in the public eye.
After a difficult period post-government when he struggled to work out what he wanted to do, Campbell eventually decided he wanted to do everything. He threw himself into the editing and marketing of his diaries, into charitable campaigning, into broadcasting, journalism, punditry and novel-writing. Across these disparate activities he has been resolutely himself: forceful, shamelessly self-promoting, candid about his own problems, aggressively unrepentant about his time in government, and always blunt, sometimes to the point of charmlessness, in argument. He has also revelled in the freedoms of social media, which allowed him to communicate directly with the public.
As a result, Campbell has become a far more three-dimensional figure than he was during the first stage of his fame, without compromising his authenticity. Even those who still don't like him have learnt a wary respect for his loyalty to the causes and people he cares about, for the astuteness of his analyses, and for his apparent lack of fear.
He will have plenty of stories from his Downing St years to share with Portland's clients. But Campbell's best case study may be himself.