Category: “Politics

Explaining the 50p top tax rate

Posted on 28 April 2009 | 9:04am

I’m out at an event with Eddie Izzard later, one of a series the Labour-supporting entertainer is doing to help the Party. And I’ve been thinking – how best to deal with questions about the 50p tax rate. The first thing to say is that we, even more than the Tories, are the ones who […]

George Best and Martin McGuinness

Posted on 27 April 2009 | 9:04am

Terrific play on BBC2 last night about George Best’s family. His mother was the main character, her descent into alcoholism a parallel to his rise to fame. Mrs Best did not taste alcohol till the age of 44, and was dead ten years later. In an understated kind of way, the film captured the slow […]

Cameron confused over indepdendence and impartiality

Posted on 26 April 2009 | 12:04pm

David Cameron says today he will restore the ‘independence’ of the civil service. I passionately hope he does not become Prime Minister, but if he did, I would advise him to learn the difference between ‘independence’ and ‘impartiality.’ The Civil Service has a duty to be impartial. That is not the same as independent. An […]

Good signals on coal and the Olympics

Posted on 24 April 2009 | 10:04am

As the credit crunch bit, there was a danger of a very bad ‘either-or’ situation developing – either we sort the global economic crisis, or we save the planet, but we can’t do both. To be fair both to Barack Obama and Gordon Brown, they have not lost sight of the importance of the green agenda […]

Missed the Budget, saw why it mattered

Posted on 22 April 2009 | 11:04pm

As Alistair Darling was delivering the Budget, this Alastair was speaking at the opening of a new MIND resource centre in Hertford. Fair to say I had the easier job. The date for the MIND event was set before the date of the Budget, and I was trying to think of the last time I […]

Football good, politics bad. Allegedly

Posted on 22 April 2009 | 12:04am

I didn’t manage to the end of the opening Newsnight report on MPs’ expenses before deciding that bed was a better place to be (via this quick blog), but I couldn’t help but be struck by a formidable contrast tonight … between the basic pro-football stance of Sky Sports coverage of football – admittedly easier […]

Two sides to police story

Posted on 20 April 2009 | 11:04am

I’ve talked before about how sometimes a prism forms over a story, so that after a while only one side gets heard. It happens most often to politicians, usually those in power, most intensely when a situation develops with all the ingredients to show them in a bad light. But enough of Damian McBride. It […]

Budgets, Balls, billionaires and Susan Boyle

Posted on 19 April 2009 | 12:04pm

It is the normal fate of Chancellors, on the Sunday before a Budget, to see the newspapers plastered with predictions of its contents. Today, you have to work well into the inside pages before finding out what Alistair Darling may or, more likely given how tightly the Budget is held, may not, be thinking. Instead […]

Do muscles have memories?

Posted on 18 April 2009 | 9:04am

With a long journey home ahead of us, a quick blog to pose the above question. It has come to me many times as I have cycled around the Highlands. Some of you may remember that a few weeks ago I took delivery of a wattbike, a tweet on which prompted a rash of ‘what’s […]

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 […]