Alastair's Blog

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A brief history of the many ‘last chance saloons’ in which our press have drunk to excess

Posted on 26 November 2012 | 5:11pm

It is not often that I give over this space to a Tory MP, let alone one who was closely involved in David Cameron’s failed efforts to secure a Parliamentary majority. However, as the bulk of the press seeks to shape the pre-Leveson debate in a way that suits their own political and commercial interests, […]

A couple of good signs amid fast-changing economic scene

Posted on 22 November 2012 | 3:11pm

One of my main themes out on the speaking circuit is that Europe is not adapting quickly enough or well enough to perhaps the single most important geostrategic change happening today – the shift of power and wealth from West to East. There was a hint of the western world being in denial in recent […]

No matter how good or bad Crosby may be, Cameron remains the problem

Posted on 21 November 2012 | 9:11am

Quite a few journalists at last night’s Portland Communications pub quiz, and one or two of them asking me what I thought of the Tories’ planned hiring of Australian consultant Lynton Crosby. The general feeling seemed to be that it was a good move and would benefit the Tories as they seek their first general […]

Guest blog from a young writer who has captured UK drink problem, alongside real desire for community

Posted on 19 November 2012 | 1:11pm

There are a few statements regularly made by members of the public that are guaranteed to get my blood raging. … no point voting … politicians all the same … nothing ever changes … no point giving to charity all goes on admin … These are among the regulars. Wrong on all counts. Another, similarly […]

Easy to blame politicians and media for apathy, but public need to take a look at themselves too

Posted on 17 November 2012 | 7:11am

The government has rightly been criticised for the lacklustre nature of their campaign to promote the need for their ‘flagship’ policy of Police Crime Commissioners. Likewise the media has been criticised – including by me – for making apathy and ignorance the story all the way through the campaign, rather than seeing their role as […]

Practical lessons for Labour from Obama’s re-election – guest blog

Posted on 15 November 2012 | 6:11am

This blog comes courtesy of a friend of mine, Greg Nugent, who until recently was part of the London 2012 team under Seb Coe which helped deliver the best Olympic and Paralympic Games ever. It must be hard to know what to do next after an extraordinary experience like that, but Greg decided to get […]

Guest blog from Rethink chief executive Paul Jenkins on Schizophrenia Commission Report

Posted on 14 November 2012 | 8:11am

Slowly, progress is being made on the mental health front. The government has committed to parity of treatment between mental and physical illnesses. Ed Miliband made an important speech recently making clear the need for government and society to change its attitudes to mental illness, not least because of the social and economic costs of […]

As Entwistle falls on his sword, I wonder what Chris Patten’s next big Establishment job will be

Posted on 11 November 2012 | 9:11am

Chris Patten, the son of a jazzman, and a Catholic, is not a traditional Establishment figure. But one of the powers of our Establishment is its ability to allow in certain outsiders, provided they then follow the rules of the game. Baron Patten of Barnes, CH PC, former Tory MP and Cabinet minister, former Governor […]

Obama learns from Abraham Lincoln, as they all do. But there are lessons from Lyndon Johnson too

Posted on 7 November 2012 | 9:11am

By an accident of timing, I was reading the latest of Robert Caro’s vast books on Lyndon Johnson on a flight yesterday, and reached the point where President Kennedy was assassinated, and Johnson had to step up. It is one of those books that makes you want a flight to go on and on, because […]

On France’s non economy, German efficiency, and Helmut Schmidt’s view of the world

Posted on 4 November 2012 | 5:11pm

I know there are few things more irritating than powerful or well-known names (I was allegedly the former once, and in so allegedly being became the latter in some parts of the world) hitting the blogosphere or twitterland to bemoan bad service, a late train, a delivery that hasn’t arrived. Indeed, I suspect the most […]