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When Facebook friends fall out

Posted on 16 April 2009 | 12:04pm

So I put up a  blog on global warming yesterday, headed off for a three hour bike ride, and came back to outbreaks of incivilities all over my Facebook page. As one commenter, Terry Evans, put it, there could have been all manner of comments and argument about climate change and the politics of the environment, […]

Guardian sightings and the email and bath plug agenda

Posted on 15 April 2009 | 11:04am

It says something about the kind of (left of centre) visitors we have up here in Scotland that on successive days we have had sightings of The Guardian.  Sighting one, on Monday, had a short extract from my blog on the Damian McBride affair, followed by a line from right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes which looked […]

The spin is all in the prism

Posted on 14 April 2009 | 9:04am

‘Gordon Brown’s attempts to soften his image with a family pet for his young sons backfired yesterday as a canine spin operation went horribly wrong.  Downing Street had been planning to give the story of the Browns’ new dog to The Guardian, who were angry that The Times had recently been favoured with an exclusive […]

A setback, not a crisis

Posted on 13 April 2009 | 12:04pm

The word crisis is the most overused in the media lexicon. In ten years with Tony Blair, I think I witnessed five full blown crises – Iraq, Kosovo, September 11, fuel protests and foot and mouth disease. There were hundreds of situations described as crises, but for me that means a set of circumstances which […]

The real lessons from Damian McBride

Posted on 12 April 2009 | 10:04am

These days I tend to find out news as much through interview bids as through listening to the radio or reading the papers. Sky or Radio Five Live are usually first, by email, with a phone call ten minutes later if I haven’t replied, then a rash of BBC producers, followed by a broadsheet asking […]

Will English always be the dominant language?

Posted on 11 April 2009 | 10:04am

In a Paris cab last week, an Algerian driver picked up on something I said and told me the French word ‘hasard’ (chance) came directly from Arabic. He had seen me on a TV programme the night before and said as an ‘ecrivain’, I ought to know that. First, I still feel odd when people […]

On the pipes and what makes a Scot

Posted on 10 April 2009 | 11:04am

Ok, ok, I give in (to my Twitter followers and Facebook friends) and will explain recent bagpipe tweets. Along the way I will muse (blog and vlog) on identity.  I’ve been up in Scotland making a film for Scottish Television about bagpipes. It is part of a series STV are doing later in the year […]

John Prescott lazy? NO WAY

Posted on 9 April 2009 | 9:04am

It’s obviously becoming stand-up-for-oldies week. Yesterday David Frost on his 70th birthday. Today another veteran into his eighth decade on the planet in the form of John Prescott. John is of course perfectly good at standing up for himself, as anyone who followed 2001 election visits to North Wales will remember. But in an era […]

David Frost is seventy

Posted on 8 April 2009 | 8:04am

The birthday dinner, which kept me from both the Champions League and The Speaker last night, was for broadcaster David Frost. Seventy.  Any suggestion the veteran broadcaster might be slowing down was dispelled when his son Wilfred announced to the gathering at one point that first thing this morning, his Dad was due to be […]

The Speaker, BBC2, tonight and tomorrow 8pm

Posted on 7 April 2009 | 2:04pm

I’m out at a birthday dinner tonight, so will be spared the difficult choice between Champions League football and BBC 2’s new reality TV/elimination-contest programme, The Speaker. Reality TV and elimination contest are two concepts usually enough on their own to make sure I don’t watch, but I hope I’m right in saying this one […]