Alastair's Blog

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Rebranding a country is about a lot more than ‘spin’

Posted on 16 April 2014 | 6:04am

Below is a piece I have done for PR Week about a project to use international help to try to improve the image and standing of Albania. Say the name of any country in the world and immediately people have a sense of that country. America still comes top of most nation branding surveys. Britain, […]

Wonderful send off for Mark Bennett RIP

Posted on 21 March 2014 | 2:03pm

What a beautiful day and what a wonderful send off for Mark Bennett, the Mayor of Lambeth and my former right-hand man Mark Bennett, who died of a heart attack aged 44. St Leonard’s Church was packed out as hundreds gathered to pay respects, from a former Prime Minister and a Bishop to messengers and […]

Dacre, ‘Lord’ Black, Murdoch on wrong side of argument and history – fight for new regulator close to tipping point

Posted on 19 March 2014 | 6:03am

To Millbank Tower last night – from where we ran the 1997 and 2001 election landslides – to a staging post of another important winning campaign, namely the one to get proper independent regulation of the press. A year on from all parties agreeing to support the Leveson plan for an independent self-regulator underpinned by […]

It should not be a shock that the Education Secretary’s kids go to State schools

Posted on 8 March 2014 | 4:03pm

I am pleased that Michael Gove and his fellow journalist wife Sarah Vine have chosen to send their daughter to a State school. Less pleasing is the idea generated by the coverage that this is some great act of educational and political courage. It should be exceptional for politicians NOT to use the state sector, […]

Galloway wasting police time with his little movie stunt

Posted on 28 February 2014 | 10:02am

George Galloway announced to the world this morning he was on his way to an East London police station to demand the release of the director making his crowd-sourced film, The Killing of Tony Blair. Woodward and Bernstein eat your hearts out. George has become a journalist. Galloway and his acolytes have been using twitter […]

Stand up for the standing up: my Observer debate with Danny Kelly on safe standing

Posted on 16 February 2014 | 3:02pm

Many thanks to The Observer for asking me to debate my pro-safe standing at football stance with Danny Kelly, who says he is opposed, but as you will see, he is actually pretty close to me, and will be a safe stander before too long. If you want to post comments, go to the Observer […]

Cameron’s crisis management skills exposing his usual strategic weakness

Posted on 15 February 2014 | 8:02pm

This is the piece I had in Saturday’s Financial Times… Despite the media addiction to the word “crisis”, real crises for government are exceptionally rare. In the decade I spent alongside Tony Blair, I believe we had five: war in Kosovo; the September 11 attacks, Iraq; and, on the domestic front, foot-and-mouth and fuel protests. […]

Both business and politics struggling to adapt to changed reputations

Posted on 12 February 2014 | 12:02pm

Overcoming my slight fear of heights, I took the lift to the top of The Gherkin today to take part in the launch of Portland’s new document on trust and reputation, Bringing Business Home. Whether me from a left-leaning perspective, City AM editor Allister Heath from the right, FT journalist Elizabeth Rigby or COMRES pollster […]

A tribute to Mark Bennett, staff member who became a friend

Posted on 4 February 2014 | 9:02pm

I would like to add my voice to the tributes which have been paid to Mark Bennett, who died today. Just writing those words – ‘who died today’ – adds to the horrible sense of shock I felt on receiving a phone call from our mutual friend Margaret McDonagh to be told the dreadful news. […]

My blog for World Cancer Day

Posted on 3 February 2014 | 10:02pm

Today is World Cancer Day, where those fighting cancer across the world come together to raise awareness of the disease, and what needs to be done so that the work can go on to beat it. As Theodore Roosevelt said ‘believe you can, and you’re half way there.’ Well I don’t know if we are […]