Alastair's Blog

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On France’s non economy, German efficiency, and Helmut Schmidt’s view of the world

Posted on 4 November 2012 | 5:11pm

I know there are few things more irritating than powerful or well-known names (I was allegedly the former once, and in so allegedly being became the latter in some parts of the world) hitting the blogosphere or twitterland to bemoan bad service, a late train, a delivery that hasn’t arrived. Indeed, I suspect the most […]

Guardian editorial on Leveson gives far too much credence to Dacre-Murdoch vested interests protection plan

Posted on 2 November 2012 | 9:11am

I would not normally concern myself too much with the sleeping patterns of the editor of The Guardian, but judging by his editorial on the upcoming Leveson Report, I sense a lot of tossing and turning has been going on. Apologies for not providing a link, but I am having a technologically challenged morning, so […]

Hezza shows the new boys what a growth plan looks like

Posted on 31 October 2012 | 8:10am

As I predicted on Sunday, Michael Heseltine’s response to the silly briefing against him by Osborne and Co has been to crank up rather than wind down his interventionist ideas to get growth going. Still able to command attention when he wants, his report ranges far and wide, covering transport, energy, planning, regional development, skills, […]

Good to see Ed Miliband focusing on economic as well as social gains of changed attitudes to mental health

Posted on 29 October 2012 | 11:10am

Ed Miliband’s speech on mental health today is a significant – and good – moment in the campaign to improve understanding and treatment of mental illness in Britain. It is perhaps particulalry significant that this is his first major policy speech since he launched the theme of One Nation Labour at the party conference a […]

Heseltine comes up with sensible interventionist ideas to boost growth – so Osborne briefs against him

Posted on 28 October 2012 | 8:10am

Michael Heseltine will be sitting with a cup of coffee at his country pile, thinking about when to take a tour of his fabulous gardens, whilst flicking through the Sunday papers, a ritual through the many decades of his business and political career. It is likely to please him that he is in them, still […]

Cameron’s alcohol strategy is missing the point – a guest blog from a recovering middle class alcoholic

Posted on 26 October 2012 | 1:10pm

Interesting morning in a series of meetings covering variously alcohol abuse, Page 3 girls (and the campaign to get The Sun to drop them and so catch up with the modern world), banks and their diversity policies and various specifications to do with a new bike. Forgive me if for now I focus on the […]

Despite the past, a little support for the BBC, victims of changed prism syndrome

Posted on 24 October 2012 | 3:10pm

I have refrained from saying too much about the Jimmy Savile saga, not least because any time I mention anything to do with a BBC ‘crisis,’ out from the woodwork come those who continue to defend the Beeb’s false reporting and grossly unprofessional handling of the WMD dossier issue a decade or so ago. It […]

Clegg has quietly resigned from the lightning conductor role – which is to his advantage, but another problem for Cameron

Posted on 21 October 2012 | 9:10am

The reason we ended up with a coalition government is that the public did not want Labour back for a fourth term but they did not want the old Tory Party back either. So they chucked in the Lib Dems and said ‘you lot sort it out.’ Analysed coldly, David Cameron should have won the […]

Tommy Sheridan did the Better Together camp a favour – by exposing faultline in Salmond’s Rainbow Coalition

Posted on 19 October 2012 | 11:10am

I wonder if Tommy Sheridan ever gets fed up of being called a ‘firebrand Scottish politician’? Probably not, any more than the far more loathsome George Galloway tires of presenting himself as the victim of conspiracy theories, the latest of which is so tiresome I could not get beyond the first eight sentences of The […]

Still I can’t get Chris Mullin on Twitter, but I will, even as @vegetablegrower

Posted on 18 October 2012 | 10:10am

For the third time, I failed to persuade Chris Mullin, who would be brilliant if he embraced it, to join Twitter last night. As fellow diarists of the New Labour era, we seem to have become a fairly regular double act and this time he was interviewing me at Chatham House about the influence of […]