Alastair's Blog

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Obama, colds and being woken by Korean missiles

Posted on 6 April 2009 | 11:04am

There are not that many circumstances in which I feel sympathy for that collection of individuals, mainly male, described as ‘world leaders.’ They have reached the top in their chosen path; they have support systems which make their lives, whatever the scale of pressure on them and their time, run fairly smoothly; above all they have […]

When a call matters more than protocol

Posted on 5 April 2009 | 11:04am

More than once, I had a mobile phone suddenly tossed my way as Tony Blair realised the car was about to arrive. Usually it was obvious when the journey was coming to an end and he could sign off in traditional polite fashion. But sometimes, we would just arrive, the car would stop suddenly, and a door […]

Green Cities Champions League

Posted on 4 April 2009 | 10:04am

I had no idea, until I saw a tiny item in a French newspaper  on the Eurostar back to London yesterday, that there had been a European Commission competition to honour the first ‘green capitals of Europe.’ Congratulations to Bristol on being shortlisted. Commiserations on missing out. And congratulations to Hamburg and Stockholm for having […]

Could Cameron have delivered the G20 deal?

Posted on 3 April 2009 | 10:04am

I promise that my tweet of last night – wondering whether David Cameron as Prime Minister could have delivered the G20 deal – was not merely rhetorical.  If the polls are right, and don’t change some time soon, then Cameron may be the next PM, suddenly dealing with global economic issues, war and a planet […]

Of Benn and Bono

Posted on 2 April 2009 | 8:04am

Tony Benn said yesterday  that almost all progress starts on the streets, and that the people at the top are usually the last to get the message. Tony and I disagree about a few things, not least on the neccessity of changes that had to be made to the Labour Party, to escape the futility […]

Memo to Sarko – allez vite a Londres

Posted on 1 April 2009 | 8:04am

First the good news from London – it looks like All In The Mind might be made into a film. So if you didn’t get the hardback, get out and buy the newly released paperback now to see why Hollywood (oh ok, a very good UK film company) is interested.  But now the bad news […]

Happy April Fool’s Day

Posted on 1 April 2009 | 1:04am

Paul Fletcher scored the greatest goal I ever saw, several decades ago, for Burnley against Don Revie’s ‘dirty Leeds.’ A picture of the moment hangs in our hallway.  Now Burnley’s chief executive, Fletcher has shown in the last few weeks he still has flair and creativity – with that rare thing, an April Fool that […]

Eurostar, Le Monde and a thought for the G20 sherpas

Posted on 31 March 2009 | 9:03am

On to the early Eurostar and, to get my head into French as I prepare for a mass of interviews to promote my novel, ‘Tout est dans la Tete,’ I picked up Le Monde.  First stop a G20 twelve-page pull out, a reminder of the scale and the challenge of the London Summit. Dotted around […]

Why Kevin Rudd made an impact

Posted on 30 March 2009 | 10:03am

To a party last night, to celebrate a friend’s continuing defeat of cancer, at which no fewer than four people – two political, two not – spontaneously mentioned Australian Prime Mininster Kevin Rudd’s interview on yesterday’s Andrew Marr programme. As I had mentioned it myself on yesterday’s blog, commenting on his excellent tone and his […]

Pre-G20 hype matters less than post-G20 process

Posted on 29 March 2009 | 1:03pm

Lots of talk of expectation setting pre the G20 Summit. It is hard enough if you have near total control over an event – as with a single speech by a single politician, when other people’s hopes and expectations for it can impact for good or bad. It is even harder when it is a […]