Alastair's Blog

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Why ‘Villagate’ is about more than football: it goes to the heart of Cameron character and how he does politics

Posted on 26 April 2015 | 6:04am

Alex Ferguson once said ‘there are two things you can never change – the way you walk. And your football team.’ Now as it happens I think some people do change the way they walk. But football, bloody hell, no, you just cannot change the club you love. So Fergie, despite all those years with […]

Cameron with another panic move, Miliband on foreign policy, this is not the crossover Crosby predicted!

Posted on 24 April 2015 | 5:04am

So as to what utter calamity Ed Miliband would unleash upon us if he became Prime Minister, you can take your pick from the increasingly desperate right wing papers and the increasingly desperate right wing ‘campaign’ of David Cameron and Lynton Crosby. Cameron himself is in the Mail (forgetting how he has broken his ‘kick […]

Cameron is behaving like a man who thinks he’s lost, Miliband like the man who can beat him

Posted on 19 April 2015 | 11:04am

Greetings from Tirana, a quick day trip respite from the UK election campaign, to see how one of my favourite progressive leaders, Edi Rama, is getting on. I have worked with Rama for several years, first in opposition and now in government, a landslide win for his Socialist Party having seen him installed as Prime Minister. […]

The lethargy of the Cameron campaign – is he too posh to push?

Posted on 11 April 2015 | 6:04am

David Cameron popped up on the news again last night, as he has done most evenings for the past few years. He was with a small group of carefully chosen people willing to play along with his daily media opportunity, as he has been every day of the election campaign so far. He used the word […]

Cameron-Crosby panic stations as their ‘strategy’ fails to click. Old campaign for new times

Posted on 9 April 2015 | 9:04am

When Michael Howard led the Conservatives – happy days – his campaign strategist was a man named Lynton Crosby. You may have heard of him. He is the highly paid Australian consultant who has told all at Tory HQ, and has been telling them for months, that if they just keep banging on about how great the […]

Telegraph spinning, but truth is SNP and Tories share pro-SNP agenda

Posted on 4 April 2015 | 8:04am

There are so many different agendas at play in the Daily Telegraph’s coverage of a brief meeting between SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon and France’s Ambassador, that I need to bring my spin deconstruction skills to the benefit of those trying to make sense of it. Forgive me for the length of this one, but I […]

Why Australia won their fifth World Cup, and why they deserved to

Posted on 29 March 2015 | 6:03pm

As Australia celebrates yet another sporting success, time to remember the #PUTOUTYOURBATS campaign, which started with this simple quote. “I picked up my cricket bat and I swung it around a few times and padded it down on the ground.” The kind of thing Steven Smith might have said about walking to the crease before making […]

The loser in the debates was the public – and not for the reasons you think

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:03pm

So after all the hype, the ads, the contorted build-up, the dozens of days of negotiations, the thousands of headlines, the millions of words of pre-match and post-match analysis, just over three million people bothered to tune in for the first ‘big debate’ agreed between the parties and the broadcasters. That is a shamingly low figure for […]

Our national debate risks reducing us to a national joke

Posted on 25 March 2015 | 8:03am

To the Canadian High Commission yesterday to chair a very enjoyable Portland seminar on digital diplomacy. One of the panellists was former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer, who is now High Commissioner to London. Amid the social media enthusiasts he brought a few words of warning, not least his view that twitter in particular risked […]

As Osborne proclaims an economic miracle, please read this shaming letter from a sick young person’s mother

Posted on 18 March 2015 | 10:03am

I still don’t do God, but I know there are many good people who do, and I met one such recently, namely the Bishop of Birmingham, David Urquhart. We got talking about mental health services, and since our meeting the Bishop has written to me about a family friend and former parishioner of his in Hessle, […]