Alastair's Blog

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Stronger together – whether Scotland or expenses

Posted on 22 May 2009 | 10:05am

I was speaking at a dinner in Edinburgh last night, stayed over, and breakfast was accompanied by a complimentary copy of The Scotsman. Front page lead a story about a ‘respected businessman’ being appointed to police the activities of Royal Bank of Scotland, whose branding continues to hit you, with a somewhat queasier effect that it used […]

Back to Number 10, familiar faces, familiar arguments

Posted on 21 May 2009 | 10:05am

I had to be in two places at once last night, just about managed it, but missed the speeches at one event because I was making a speech at the other one. Both involved very different, but wonderful, women I have known for a long time. The event where I missed the speeches, at the […]

Speaking up for Parliament

Posted on 20 May 2009 | 11:05am

Sitting in our kitchen at the moment is an impressive looking tome, its front cover a picture of an empty House of Commons chamber, its five hundred pages a collection of some of the best speeches ever made there. Even before the expenses row, took off I was dipping in and out of this ‘Centenary Volume’ which celebrates one hundred […]

Peace in the Middle East – yes he can

Posted on 19 May 2009 | 9:05am

Nice to see George Mitchell hovering in the background as Barack Obama met Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu yesterday. He was looking a bit older than the last time I saw him, but hopefully has the same infinite patience which was so helpful during the Northern Ireland peace talks. Bringing peace to the Midddle East is […]

Breaking news – one frenzy at a time

Posted on 18 May 2009 | 10:05am

Sorry to harp on about an old familiar theme – oh ok, I’m not sorry at all – but is it not strange how, with more media space than ever, the press and broadcasters appear unable to manage more than one frenzy at a time? It seems just days ago – indeed it was just days […]

Getting a good look at Vince Cable

Posted on 17 May 2009 | 9:05am

To the Charleston book festival yesterday so that Fiona could indulge her Bloomsbury thing, which I have never quite got, and I could take a good look at Vince Cable, to try to work out why he appears able to buck the trend in the dominant ‘all politicians are terrible’ culture. I met him a […]

How do you solve a problem like Silvio?

Posted on 16 May 2009 | 9:05am

As politicians here await the next blow from a newspaper driving the agenda over their expenses, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is involved in his own media scrap. The Continental press tends to be much less intrusive than ours, but when his wife announced she was leaving him, and cited his relationship with a young […]

It was the internet wot won it

Posted on 15 May 2009 | 10:05am

Many thanks for all the kind messages last night after Mind announced (on Twitter) that I was the mental health charity’s Champion of the Year.  Judging by the sheer volume of messages on Facebook, I think Jane Appleton’s FB group supporting me had an effect. Also I was told last night that when previous Champion […]

There now follows … a good whack at Cameron

Posted on 14 May 2009 | 5:05pm

It will be very hard for the parties to get much attention for their election broadcasts amid the ongoing expenses fiasco. Which is a pity, because I have had a sneak preview of Labour’s tonight, and it is very nice finally to see a decent -sized boot going into David Cameron. Well, not a boot actually, […]

They got their kit off – so you get your cash out

Posted on 14 May 2009 | 7:05am

(… and if you read to the end, you might win something) So come on, be honest, how many of you have changed your charitable giving habits since the recession began? Judging by the waves of people rushing past the tin-rattlers I saw at Euston yesterday, plenty of you. We hear lots of business people […]