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Norway still refusing to play the blame game. The benefits of a Daily Mail free land

Posted on 20 October 2011 | 5:10am

Just back from a run round still dark but very clean and pretty Oslo. My hotel is opposite the government buildings where on July 22 a bomb ripped through the heart of the city, in part as a decoy for the even bigger massacre to come at the Labour Party summer camp in Utoya. You […]

Fox is the new Coulson

Posted on 14 October 2011 | 9:10am

Greetings from Tirana where this morning I met the Opposition leader before doing a seminar for companies on strategic communications, and this afternoon will see the Prime Minister after doing a session on crisis management. Nobody was talking about Liam Fox, it has to be said. But as I burbled away to my Balkan audience, […]

Spouting from the bully pulpit is the easy bit. It is when Dacre is questioned we may get to truth about him

Posted on 13 October 2011 | 6:10am

At the risk of offending my extremely hospitable hosts in Skopje (capital of Republic on Macedonia or The Former Yuglosav Republic of Macedonia, depending which side of the long and bitter name dispute you’re on)’ I wish I had been in London last night. Because Newsnight asked me to go on to discuss Paul Dacre’s […]

Labour a lot more relevant than news-comment fused media think

Posted on 12 October 2011 | 7:10am

In addition to phone-hacking and all the other dubious practices employed by newspapers, one of the worst developments in our media over recent years has been the near total fusion of news and comment. I pointed out recently Polly Toynbee’s description of the media herd in the press room after Ed Miliband’s conference speech, all […]

On the Tories’ lack of a clear message, and the unlikelihood of me playing bagpipes with Bob Dylan

Posted on 2 October 2011 | 1:10pm

I have never felt I have that much in common with David Cameron, but today we share a modest traducement by The Sunday Times. The Prime Minister’s comes in the form of a headline saying ‘Cameron says sorry to women’. What? All of them? What on earth has he done? It turned out to be […]

Banker warns of economic meltdown

Posted on 15 September 2011 | 7:09am

Someone very kindly sent me an advance copy of ‘A Life Too Short,’ which tells the story of German goalkeeper Robert Enke, who ended his own life after years of struggling with depression. It is not out until the end of the month, so I won’t say too much, other than the fact that having […]

Remembering September 11

Posted on 11 September 2011 | 7:09am

September 11 2001 was without doubt one of the most extraordinary of the many remarkable days I spent with Tony Blair. I’ve printed below my diary entry for that day. Within it, I make the point that in the face of terrorist attacks, world leaders like to say these events will not make them change […]

Using the real Big Society to undo the damage of Cameron’s Big Society

Posted on 8 September 2011 | 6:09am

I’ve been back from holiday for a few days, but am still not back in the swing of things, so apologies to anyone who has missed my political and other musings. Thought I would ease myself back in with a guest blog from Labour councillor Sarah Hayward. It is worth a read. It is how […]

Il parait que les Francais acceptent que l’anglais est la langue mondiale

Posted on 31 August 2011 | 9:08am

It will be no surprise to regulars to hear that I am a Francophone. My year spent in Nice as an ‘assistant d’anglais’ was one of the happiest of my life. I love the French language, much of French culture, and am most definitely not one of those Brits who holds the view that the […]

MPs must do more than unite in anger tomorrow. They have to say what they really think

Posted on 10 August 2011 | 9:08am

One of the complaints often heard about politicians is that they don’t really say what they think. Yet there is also a rush to condemn when MPs do say what they think, unless it fits the current conventional wisdom. So anyone suggesting the riots present anything other than a law and order issue, and that […]