Alastair's Blog

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Here’s hoping Cardiff is metaphor for Cameron

Posted on 4 May 2009 | 9:05am

It is hard not to feel some sympathy for Cardiff. In the space of one afternoon, both their football and rugby teams crashed out in the closest, cruellest manner possible. A few weeks ago, Cardiff City were thinking automatic promotion to the Premiership was on, let alone the play-offs. The turning point was a 6-0 […]

More Mr Benn and Co please

Posted on 3 May 2009 | 10:05am

Some very good responses on Facebook to my obseration that Hilary Benn is a good speaker - pointing out he did a decent defence of the government on Question Time, others that he handled tricky questions on student finance well when he did one of the Eddie Izzard q and a sessions, plus people just saying […]

Going Fourth with JP

Posted on 2 May 2009 | 6:05pm

Greetings from Keighley, my home town, where John Prescott and I have been out with Labour MP Ann Cryer, canidate to succeed her Jayne Thomas, and candidates for the European elections on June 4 (or July 4 as John kept saying on his battlebus megaphone). He may get his dates muddled, but he can still show politicians […]

Journalism – print first, think later

Posted on 2 May 2009 | 9:05am

Following on from yesterday’s rebuttal of the TB/AC anti-gay smear re the new poet laureate, I have another good example of ‘print now, think later’ for you. I mentioned I was at the Sport Industry Awards on Thursday night. I mentioned too that I intended to do some high-quality name-dropping as a result. If I […]

In praise of two poets

Posted on 1 May 2009 | 10:05am

There was me, post Damian McBride, thinking that the media might rely a little less on anonymous briefings (sometimes so anonymous as to exist only in the imagination of the journalist), but I got into a cab in the early hours, my phone having been on mute for the duration of the Sport Industry Awards, to find a […]

JP hits the road again

Posted on 29 April 2009 | 6:04pm

You can take the man out of the leadership, but you can’t take the leadership out of the man. Oh, he will love that one will John Prescott. He always had a soft spot for my soundbite-crafting. He just didn’t like people to know. How many times did he tell me that he couldn’t be […]

My night with Eddie Izzard

Posted on 29 April 2009 | 10:04am

A prediction – Eddie Izzard will be an elected Labour politician within a decade. First, because he wants to be (probably the European Parliament, and he has given himself 15 years rather than ten). Second, because he starts with an advantage over most people going into politics – he is well-known and popular with loads of […]

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 […]