Alastair's Blog

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The loser in the debates was the public – and not for the reasons you think

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:03pm

So after all the hype, the ads, the contorted build-up, the dozens of days of negotiations, the thousands of headlines, the millions of words of pre-match and post-match analysis, just over three million people bothered to tune in for the first ‘big debate’ agreed between the parties and the broadcasters. That is a shamingly low figure for […]

Our national debate risks reducing us to a national joke

Posted on 25 March 2015 | 8:03am

To the Canadian High Commission yesterday to chair a very enjoyable Portland seminar on digital diplomacy. One of the panellists was former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, who is now High Commissioner to London. Amid the social media enthusiasts he brought a few words of warning, not least his view that twitter in particular risked […]

As Osborne proclaims an economic miracle, please read this shaming letter from a sick young person’s mother

Posted on 18 March 2015 | 10:03am

I still don’t do God, but I know there are many good people who do, and I met one such recently, namely the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart. We got talking about mental health services, and since our meeting the Bishop has written to me about a family friend and former parishioner of his in Hessle, […]

Venus and Mars, and whether men and women win differently

Posted on 15 March 2015 | 6:03pm

(This blog first appeared on CNN.com)   Having been Tony Blair’s spokesman and strategist for a decade and more, having been at his side through election campaigns, wars and peace processes, political and personal crises, scandals galore, having spent thousands of hours facing down possibly the most questioning media on the planet, and having done […]

Cameron’s ducking of the TV debates – morally cowardly and democratically wrong

Posted on 5 March 2015 | 6:03am

How well I remember David Cameron proclaiming how marvellous the TV leaders’ debates were and, more importantly, how vital they were to the democratic process in the modern media age. And how pathetic it is, five years on, to watch his wriggling and weaselling to avoid them. There is a section in my new book, […]

Australia is a winning country, but it looks to me like Tony Abbott is a losing PM

Posted on 1 March 2015 | 12:03pm

If Australians awake tomorrow to see a bleary-eyed me talking to them down a line from late evening London, apologies. In addition to trying to stick to a long-planned media and events book launch schedule, I have had to factor in Burnley FC and, less expectedly, hospital visits to a relative taken ill. So, barely a week […]

Ten more things Chelsea can do on Saturday to show we are serious about Kicking Out racism

Posted on 19 February 2015 | 9:02am

Chelsea host Burnley on Saturday, and I sincerely hope there is some kind of action taken by the home club in relation to the hideous incident on the Paris Metro this week. A few ideas to build on what the club has already – commendably – said and done (for example the placing on its […]

A visit to Serbia

Posted on 16 February 2015 | 3:02pm

I have had a sudden rash of inquiries from Serbian media about a trip I made last month  to Belgrade, so rather than deal with them all individually, I thought I would put a short statement on here. Apologies to the journalist who asked first a couple of weeks ago. ‘At the government’s request I was […]

Politics is high stress psychological work – politicians would benefit from psychological support

Posted on 15 February 2015 | 9:02am

When you write a 450 page book on winners, with a stack of interviews with some of the greatest winners of our time, you can never be quite sure what the papers will go for. When I sat down to do the first interview with the Sunday Times, I suspected their dream headline would contain […]

PinkVanGate, FinkGate, BaldwinGate – why Labour should take heart from Tory press desperation

Posted on 14 February 2015 | 6:02am

From PinkVanGate to FinkGate to BaldwinRobinsonGate, the election is getting nasty and silly at the same time, and there are two common factors running through them all – Tory desperation and the Tory press. Let’s take them one by one. Is it sensible for the Labour Party to have a specific campaign aimed at women […]