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On transforned cities, and tales of Princess Di and Laura Bush

Posted on 8 September 2009 | 9:09am

I’ve just been for a longish run along the Newcastle quayside, which confirmed me in the view I tweeted last night – that this area has seen a real transformation since the days of successive Tory governments. I know the people who responded on Facebook and Twitter, being ‘friends’ and all that, are likely to […]

Labour should put minister up against Griffin on Question Time

Posted on 6 September 2009 | 12:09pm

BBC Question Time is not alone among programmes in wanting to attract as much attention to itself as it can. In a noisy, crowded marketplace, where viewers have almost infinite choice of how to spend their TV and online time, if you’re not known, you unlikely to get watched. So they will not be unhappy to […]

School speech the latest source of right-wing frothing at Obama

Posted on 5 September 2009 | 8:09am

If you want a taste of what Barack Obama is up against in the ferocity and the bovinity, if such a word exists, of right-wing Americans, scour around the place for some of the reaction to the President’s plans to make a speech in a school in Houston, Texas, on Tuesday. Parents are threatening to […]

More horse’s mouth, less Beeb blah please

Posted on 4 September 2009 | 10:09pm

Keen to find out what Gordon Brown said in his speech about Afghanistan, I tuned into the BBC News Channel at 9pm. What bits I saw seemed good. Clear about why our troops are there. Clear about the link to life here. It cannot be stated often enough. And to be fair, in total there […]

Real respect for sport can be Olympic legacy

Posted on 4 September 2009 | 9:09am

In Paris for a TV programme, I wake up, get ready to go for a run, then take a look at the pouring rain and decide the hotel gym treadmill might be a better idea. (Cue my favourite treadmill story, about the woman in Texas who tried to recruit me to the George W Bush […]

First ladies watch out for Japanese bombshell

Posted on 3 September 2009 | 10:09am

Litttle did I know, blogging a few days ago on the potential significance of a change of government in Japan, that the new Prime Minister would be bringing with him a wife who was once abducted by aliens. Not only that, but it seems she knew Tom Cruise in a previous life (she says he was […]

TV debate – good idea in theory, but …

Posted on 2 September 2009 | 3:09pm

Into my inbox last night popped an email from someone at Sky suggesting that whatever else I might be doing, I really ought to drop it, and tune in to watch political editor Adam Boulton at 10pm. No details were available as to why I should make this radical change to my life, beyond a […]

‘No worries’ – the new response to thanks

Posted on 1 September 2009 | 12:09pm

Out for a longish run along Regent’s Park canal this morning, I found myself saying ‘thank you’ on four different occasions – twice when being waved forward by oncoming cyclists at those slow-down safety gate things, once when a couple walking side by side went into single file to allow me to pass, and once […]

Tremors of Japanese political earthquake will be felt far and wide

Posted on 30 August 2009 | 3:08pm

There are always lessons in other countries’ elections and, in an ever more interdependent world, there are consequences for all of us when one of the major powers changes government. We may not know it from the paucity of coverage and debate of the Japanese elections, but Japan is one such power. Were it not […]

Pressure on Ed Miliband can help get a climate change deal

Posted on 28 August 2009 | 1:08pm

Bono and Bob Geldof, whom God preserve, are much more than your average celebrity campaigner. They don’t just care about their chosen issues, they know about them too, real genuine knowledge, and they know how to use the influence that their status and knowledge brings. They have campaigned pretty tirelessly, and in many different ways, […]