Alastair's Blog

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‘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, […]

Why Tories and media cannot stomach GCSE success story

Posted on 27 August 2009 | 4:08pm

Lots of happy young people around today as the GCSE success story unfolds around the country. Cue lots of middle-aged, middle-class, media-driven moaning about dumbing down. There is something peculiarly and unpleasantly British about the refusal to take at face value the idea that in part because of extra investment, in part because of sustained […]

Exposing the absurdity of Chris Grayling

Posted on 26 August 2009 | 1:08pm

Much to my family’s annoyance, I am not a ‘box set’ kind of guy. I know it is the thing, all to sit down and get hooked together on some American TV show. Maybe it is a way of avoiding temptation to my addictive gene, but I have never seen a single episode of The […]

Joy and beauty and a night of magic

Posted on 20 August 2009 | 10:08am

Many thanks for all the tweets and Facebook messages during and after Burnley’s fabulous win over Manchester United.  I know the non sports fans among regulars here prefer me to go on about politics not football and that whilst on holiday I have done neither very much. But if you love football, and you love […]

Twitter NHS backlash good for Obama

Posted on 14 August 2009 | 3:08pm

When I occasionally rage at the culture of negativity in the UK media, it is often the coverage of the NHS I have in mind. Every hour of every day, wonderful things happen in the NHS, thanks to the terrific people who work in it and above all because of the basic idea at its […]

A lifetime’s ambition fulfilled

Posted on 8 August 2009 | 4:08pm

Forgive the utter self-indulgence of this being my first blog in quite a while, and possibly the last for another little while as I rediscover proper holidays. There are all sorts of things I could have written about – Vladimir Putin’s latest strip-show, Silvio Berlusconi’s observation that he loves women – I think we kind […]

Breaking the blog-a-day spell as warm up to holiday

Posted on 20 July 2009 | 5:07pm

Concerned regulars text, email and comment, to ask whether the blog-free last couple of days signifies some woe that may have befallen me. One of my bouts of depression, for example. Something even worse, suggested others hopefully. Mais non .. am ok, on a scale of one to ten, around about seven in the ok up […]

No hiding place from Twitter, me on the bike, JP in DC

Posted on 17 July 2009 | 6:07pm

I always, always, always wear a helmet when cycling. Always. Except yesterday. And guess which day it was that someone tweeted that they’d seen me out on the bike. Yesterday. Followed by someone who said they once saw me and Boris Johnson out cycling on the same day, though not together. Boris never wears a […]