This morning’s Observer column.
When a fellow MP once observed to Ernest Bevin, foreign secretary in the postwar Labour government, that his cabinet colleague Herbert Morrison was “his own worst enemy”, Bevin – who loathed Morrison – famously replied: “Not while I’m alive, he ain’t.” I keep thinking of this every time Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, appears in the news. The man does indeed appear to be his own worst enemy – alienating all but the most sycophantic supporters, repudiating his “authorised” biography, and so on. The impression one gets from conversations with people who have worked with him is that, as a colleague, he makes the late Steve Jobs look like St Francis of Assisi. But the truth is that Assange has far more formidable enemies than himself. And many of them work for what we might now call “old media”.