Alastair's Blog

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A blog on why I’ve not been blogging plus random observations

Posted on 4 July 2010 | 5:07am

I’m speaking at a conference on ICT and education tomorrow, and was invited because the organisers saw me as ‘a leader’ no less in the embracing of all the new techology stuff.

Truth be told, I am still pretty ice age compared with a lot of people, but I do give it a go.

However, I thought it would be a bit embarrassing to stand up there and pose as an expert, and someone who is into the whole blogging/tweeting/facebookery thing, at a time my blog has been in a state of limbo for some days.

So this is very much a Phil Space kind of situtation, just to remind you I’m here, to apologise for the recent suspension in usual service, and to thank those people who have been bothered enough to ask why I haven’t been blogging.

The answer is that I have finally decided to respond to all the complaints from people who said they could not read my blog on iphones and blackberries. But then, as often happens, in looking into one issue, others came up, and so I decided to go for a whole new revamp of the website.

I had been hoping to go blogfree until the new site was up and active, but as is the way of these things, the guy in charge of the revamp has gone on holiday, I’ve been all over the place in the last few days what with Prelude to Power and a few other things going on, so it may be a few weeks before everything is hunkydory and ready to go. And by then I may be on holiday.

So I will stick up the occasional blog here in the meantime and let you know when my new site is ready.

Meanwhile a few random observations from recent days …

– seems pretty extraordinary that George Osborne went through all that work on the figures to come up with the need for 25 per cent cuts, and now finds that actually it ought to be nearer 40.

– nice to see the coalition implementing Labour’s manifesto pledge on voting reform. Well done Nick.

– I thoroughly enjoyed the Swift Festival in Trim, County Meath. My event consisted of being interviewed at the end of a dinner during which no fewer than 15 mini-speeches were made. Sounds dreadful, but because the Irish have so got the gift of the gab, it wasn’t. What’s more, all the main parties were represented, and made a lot of very witty points at each other’s expense. Again, something very Irish about it. Even in these coalition days, I cannot see a similar event working in Britain, other than in the Commons itself, but it would be interesting to try.

– The book sold out, as it did at a communications event in Brussels. I still don’t quite get why someone would buy a book because you’re there, and because you sign it, but they wouldn’t buy it otherwise. The organiser was suggesting I do a tour of Ireland, which does sound like a lot of fun, I have to say. I don’t have a drop of Irish or Australian blood in me, but I have always felt an affinity with both.

– Am enjoying reminding my sons, who claim vastly superior football knowledge, of my early predictions that Germany and Uruguay would do well in the World Cup and that Schweinsteiger and Forlan would be among the players of the tournament. I was hoping Argentina or Brazil would win, not least because I would be able to add to my ludicrous claims the one that I had played with the man who managed the winning 2010 World Cup team. But Germany were brilliant yesterday. They also showed the benefits in risking youth ahead of experience every now and then.

– Amazed at how big the Top Gear thing is. Have had quite a few people asking me about it as I go around the place. Most commonly asked questions ‘who is the Stig?’ ‘what was your laptime?’, ‘do you get on with Clarkson?’ Answers – 1, don’t know, but it is not Michael Schumacher. He is English, well-spoken, married, a few inches smaller than I am, around twelve stone I would guess, size seven or eight feet, with sandy-browny hair peeking out of the back of his helmet,  … 2, not allowed to say but I hope Nick Robinson is watching .. 3, Clarkson has many obnoxious views but he wears them well. We had a very nice chat off camera, some of which I allude to in the interview. Anyway, I won’t be able to relive my lap tonight as we’re out, but I confess I will take a peep on iplayer to watch myself driving faster than I thought I would. Sorry Nick.

– Must get on now and write my speech for tomorrow. Thank goodness for Fiona, who knows about education, and my kids, who know about ICT. By the time I stand up there in Gateshead tomorrow, I will almost know what I’m talking about.

*** Buy Prelude to Power here at Amazon.

  • Gabrielle Laine-Peters

    Glad to see your keeping busy. I did know that you were having a website revamp, but did think you were having it done whilst on holiday. ( But that’s just my logistical mind at work ) Looking forward to seeing you ” at speed ” tonight on TG. Like the idea of intermittent blogs, guess that will stop both of us getting withdrawal symptoms! ( meaning you as writer us as readers )

  • Carla Hills

    I am a teacher in a Birmingham primnary and ICT is under threat from the new government. They dom’t seem to understand that it is not an addirional tool but central to modern education. It is all very well to say wind the clock back and focis on basics but for today’s children this IS the basics. I hope you come out fighting for us at your conference tomorrow

  • Pauline McInally

    I guess it might be a pain for iphone bores that they cannot read your blog but I feel it is best read on a big screen anyway. I love it and have missed you while you have been away. Looking forward to Top Gear

  • Pat Marsh

    Heard you on Irish radio this morning. Excellent chat. You and youyr old boss will always be welcome here because of what you all did for the North. It was an incredible thing to do and as you said in the Times yesterday Blair and Bertie do not get anything like the credit they deserve

  • Elaine Mills

    Well Done on Top Gear tonight Alastair,cool calm and collected as always, you handled Jeremy & the audience with your normal unwavering confidence. Very enjoyable watching.

  • julie wilkinson

    clarkson was intimidated – well done you.don’t lose any weight look pretty fit to me ! Admire your courage by admitting to your mental illness and are not intimidated by it to let it rule your life or succumb to stereotype of being a push over. Courageous doesnt quite cover it!