‘Passive Aggressiveness – a personality trait or disorder marked by a pervasive pattern of negative attitudes and passive, usually disavowed, resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations.’ Theory aside, Lord Ashcroft’s letter to the Tory’s returning adviser Lynton Crosby, published by his site ConservativeHome this morning, is a near perfect example. It’s dressed up as friendly advice, of course:

‘Finally, I know you understand as much as anyone that it’s never a good thing when the adviser is the story. That being the case, I’m sure you’ll get on with the job and stay out of the limelight. Meanwhile, I’ll be following progress closely and will no doubt have more to say as things unfold.’

Mr Steerpike will have more on the return of Crosby in this week’s Spectator; but, having campaigned to block the move, it seems that Lord Ashcroft will not be going to the party’s sidelines quietly.

Doubtless there will be more wise words about not becoming the story from one who would know. Who could possibly forget those precious headline memories like ‘Lord Ashcroft ‘avoided £3.4m in tax’ ahead of rule change’, ‘William Hague hid Lord Ashcroft’s tax status for months’, ‘Lord Ashcroft admits ‘non-dom’ tax status’, ‘David Cameron ducks Lord Ashcroft tax questions’ and, of course, the more recent ‘Lord Ashcroft faces new queries over link to collapsed Caribbean firm’. Takes one to know one, my Lord.

Tags: Conservatives, Lord Ashcroft, Lynton Crosby, William Hague