Former spin doctor David Whitton offers Craig Oliver some advice

David Whitton MSP is a man with a past. He is a former press advisor to Scotland's First Minister, and a former executive at Scottish Television, where he worked with Craig Oliver. Back then David Cameron's new spin doctor was a humble trainee.

Of the three brought in during the early 90s, I do remember Craig Oliver was always smartly turned out in suit shirt and tie, a bit old before his time. Unlike many young television types, he always looked smart, while some of the others looked like they had slept in their clothes. Indeed, many frequently had.

I always had the suspicion Craig would have preferred to be an on-screen presence rather than behind the scenes, although when you consider his career to date, working behind the scenes has been his success. His early attempts can be seen now on You Tube and probably have a bigger audience thanks to his overnight fame from getting a job with Prime Minister David Cameron.

I don’t remember him expressing any political leanings although he is a graduate of St Andrews University, well known as a hot bed of right wing persuasion, with alumni such as Michael Forsyth and Alex Salmond and I read he is a big pal of the BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson, who I believe was a Young Tory in his student days.

My advice to Craig would be to be careful to know who your real friends are. It is incredibly different to be in front of the media answering questions rather than being part of the media. His family and social life will no doubt suffer. There is no downtime. Being spokesman for the First Minister of Scotland would, on a scale of one to ten, may be eight in terms of stress levels. Being spokesman the Prime Minister has to be off the scale, ask Alistair Campbell or better still read his diaries.

But as one former spin doctor to a new one I would say “Good luck, you’re going to need it.”

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