Alastair's Blog

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When the power of black eyes fades

Posted on 30 June 2009 | 9:06am

What with meetings, family stuff, a funeral and then a train journey north, I missed all the political excitement yesterday. I saw a couple of headlines suggesting Peter Mandelson was suggesting the economy is on the mend, then a couple more in which Dave was having a pop at GB, but beyond that, it sort […]

Farewell to Henry Hodge

Posted on 29 June 2009 | 8:06pm

It must be so much easier to plan a funeral if you do God. Getting the tone of a ‘celebration of the life of’ is not easy. The Hodge family got it just right as hundreds gathered to bid farewell to Henry Hodge. Five tributes – all making different points about his life – child, […]

Honouring the power of sport to do good

Posted on 29 June 2009 | 2:06pm

  Off to a celebration of Henry Hodge’s life later today, so I may have a few words to say about that later – like if you haven’t already, please make a donation to; and please accept my apologies that the justgiving site has been a nightmare since we set up the page the […]

Andy Murray is a winner. Is that why some Brits don’t like him?

Posted on 28 June 2009 | 9:06am

For a few humid, air-cracking minutes, I was sure I was going to witness another moment in history yesterday – namely the first competitive tennis played under the new roof at Wimbledon. Somehow, with giant hailstones and mini-flash floods hitting the other side of London, it stayed dry in SW19. Instead the history we witnessed […]

New Parliament will look very different. The younger the better

Posted on 27 June 2009 | 5:06pm

Funny old world … I was just arriving at Wimbledon, trying to find a telly that would be showing the Lions match, saying to my son that when we came here last year we were with Alan Milburn … when in pings a text from Alan saying he has told his local party he won’t […]

Two nice surprises, sad end to day

Posted on 26 June 2009 | 9:06am

Two nice surprises yesterday, three if you include the speed with which The Spectator backed down and apologised, as per yesterday’s blog. First, speaking at a conference I fully expected to be a bit of a drag, but really enjoying it. Second, bumping into someone on the train back – most of you will know (of) […]

Apology from the Spectator on Iraq boosts Henry Hodge fund

Posted on 25 June 2009 | 7:06pm

I have never been a fan of the libel laws, and contrary to the claims of some in the media, I rarely bother to complain about things written about me. Life is too short and in any event if people in our street believed the bile and the bilge in papers like the Mail, I […]

Thanks to Mr Harper on mental health, rebuttal of Mr Hague on Iraq

Posted on 24 June 2009 | 11:06pm

Given I left Downing Street in 2003, it’s rare these days I get mentioned in Parliament. Then … it’s like waiting for a bus. Two mentions one after the other, first in Prime Minister’s Questions, then in the main debate of the day. First mention came from a Tory MP, Mark Harper, and was surprising […]

Glad to find Eric Cantona in a quiet cinema …

Posted on 24 June 2009 | 12:06am

Finally got to see ‘Looking for Eric’, the Ken Loach film starring football legend Eric Cantona as a fantasy life coach helping a struggling Manchester postman.  My son and I saw it in a near empty cinema, which was sad for the film’s takings but great for me, as noisy neighbours in cinemas is one […]

By Dave’s friends shall we know him?

Posted on 23 June 2009 | 11:06am

No doubt what the Westminster bubble, politicians and media alike, saw as the main political event yesterday, with hour after hour of live coverage on the election for the new Speaker, and reams about John Bercow in the papers today. Well done to him, and good luck. Move fast, I say. But if his (nominally so) Party […]