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Burnley getting on the map for all the right reasons

Posted on 27 August 2013 | 2:08pm

I really hope Burnley’s award as ‘The Most Enterprising Area in the UK’ gets a bit of national attention. It has been a long hard struggle for the town, its businesses, its politicians and people to fight against an image founded largely on cloth caps, derelict mills, tiny terraced houses, race riots and the BNP. […]

‘The mess we inherited’ – some facts with which to fight the Tory Big Lies

Posted on 19 August 2013 | 9:08am

​​ I am indebted to Professor Vernon Bogdanor, who among other things was David Cameron’s tutor at Oxford, for drawing my attention to a recent report by the LSE Growth Commission. Anyone who looks at the mix of academics, business leaders, economists and banking experts on the Commission will be unable to dismiss them as […]

Labour must rebut ‘the mess we inherited’ to expose the mess the Tories are making

Posted on 13 August 2013 | 11:08am

Just before the summer break, I did a fundraiser for Labour Welsh Assembly member Leighton Andrews, and during the q and a was asked if it was too late for Labour to fight back against the coalition mantra about ‘the mess we inherited.’ My reply, which seemed to meet with broad approval, was a very […]

Great idea from a French town; would it work in UK?

Posted on 12 August 2013 | 11:08am

When the Daily Telegraph asked me a while back to do a piece for their travel pages on my favourite town, I chose Vaison-la-Romaine in France. Having been back there for the Tour de France a couple of weeks ago, I found yet another reason to like it. Now it may be that this is […]

New social website for those suffering mental disorder

Posted on 26 June 2013 | 1:06am

Greetings from Australia, where anyone following my tweets, pix and links to interviews will know I am, as ever when here, loving the place. I keep having little nagging thoughts that I should write a blog – about my meeting with the PM, about the kamikaze politics of the ruling Labor Party’s leadership struggles, about […]

A New Statesman chat with Alex Ferguson from 2009

Posted on 8 May 2013 | 9:05am

With thanks to those who have posted it on twitter, allowing me to do a quick cut and paste, here is the interview I did with football’s greatest ever manager for The New Statesman a few years back. ‘Alex Ferguson and Alastair Campbell have been friends for many years. One is the greatest manager in […]

Time for a rethink on standing at football

Posted on 1 April 2013 | 11:04am

Posting this piece, which was published on The Guardian’s Comment Is Free this morning, as I watch both home and away ends at Stamford Bridge standing, without apparent risk or inconvenience. — To any football fan who fancies an interesting, neutral weekend away, take a look at the Bundesliga fixtures, and take a trip to […]

Why I chose my ten favourite twitterers

Posted on 21 March 2013 | 9:03am

I was asked by twitter to give them a message for their seventh ‘birthday’ and select my ten favourite twitterers. My message for twitter is ‘I like twitter because it enables people to create their own media landscape. I hope it does not become too commercial.’ And here are my top ten, as just tweeted, […]

Next generation of young women needs to get the feminist fight going again

Posted on 10 March 2013 | 11:03am

At 55, I am lucky enough still to have three generations of women in my family life; an elderly but fit mother, in her 80s; a partner of the same age as me with whom, I worked out the other day, I have now spent around one fifth of my life asleep; and a daughter […]

If mental disorder accounts for almost a quarter of our health burden, why so far down pecking order?

Posted on 18 February 2013 | 11:02am

With thanks to South London and Maudsley psychiatrist Jonathan Campion, here is a summary of the report I referred to in my debate with Oliver James in yesterday’s Observer. This statistic that 23percent of our health burden comes from mental disorder, compared with 16percent for cancer and cardiovascular, needs to become as well known and […]