Alastair's Blog

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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 […]

Guide ro Marathon running part 2

Posted on 25 April 2009 | 11:04am

I know there is a little books section on the website where I can remind those of you who bizarrely have yet to buy The Blair Years or All In The Mind how to do so. And I know too that every now and then I mention one or both of those products, though I hope with […]

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 […]

Tips for the London Marathon

Posted on 23 April 2009 | 5:04pm

A Facebook friend sent me a message this morning ‘any advice for a first time London marathon runner?’ So I whacked off a few thoughts. ‘You should do that as a blog,’ she replied back. ‘Fab tips.’ I love it when other people give me ideas for the blog, especially when I’ve already done the work. […]

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 […]

The Great Wall gets greater

Posted on 21 April 2009 | 9:04am

‘Gee, what a great wall.’ You had to hand it to Ronald Reagan. He had a way with words. But now it seems the Great Wall is even greater than the Great Communicator realised when he came out with his reaction on seeing it for the first time. There we were, thinking the Chinese had […]