Alastair's Blog

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If only ministers were as wise as these three young people: a little investment can lead to savings down the track.

Posted on 27 October 2015 | 10:10am

While the government was busy trying to cut tax credits for some of our poorest families, and while millions were watching Panorama’s documentary on the calamitous impact of cuts to mental health services, I was at an inspiring event which showed how a little investment in mental health can lead to savings as well as […]

Cameron, Osborne, Hunt should watch tonight’s Panorama to see the gap between their words and their country

Posted on 24 October 2015 | 3:10pm

I had my run-ins with Panorama when working for Tony Blair, usually because they tended to take a grain of truth from somewhere and flam it up into something worthier of a right-wing tabloid than the BBC. But tonight’s version is all the stronger for being somewhat understated, telling the story rather than shouting it […]

Good luck to the pro-UK-in-EU campaign. Even having this damned referendum is bad for Britain

Posted on 12 October 2015 | 10:10am

So the pro-Britain in Europe campaign moves into a different phase today, with M and S former boss Stuart Rose fronting up a collection of business people and politicians who have the considerable task of challenging the tons of anti-European propaganda that has been thrown our way for years. I wish them luck. Unless David Cameron completely […]

Charles Kennedy would have loved both the debate and the outcome of last night’s Europe vote

Posted on 26 September 2015 | 1:09pm

Charles Kennedy would have enjoyed last night’s debate on Europe at the Glasgow University Union where he honed his own great debating skills. The debate, set to become an annual event, was in his memory, and the result – overwhelming support for continuing membership of the EU – would no doubt have pleased him. The place […]

VW could become a far bigger crisis for Merkel than Pig-Gate or Coke-Gate are for Cameron

Posted on 23 September 2015 | 2:09pm

I am not really a car person but I drive a Volkswagen. It is a strong brand. It says reliable. It says German. Which emphasises reliable. And, translated, it means People’s Car, which is kind of nice. That brand has taken many years to build, the reputation decades to cement. Now all of that is […]

An ancient city of hatred with romance at its heart

Posted on 22 September 2015 | 8:09am

A guest blog from my son Calum, fellow football fanatic and fellow football romantic. Anyone who has ever driven into Marseille from the North side of town should have an inkling of what the city is all about. Its high rise estates, such as Le Castellane (the biggest council estate in Europe) dominate the Northern […]

Fifteen observations, sporting and political, from the opening game of the Rugby World Cup

Posted on 19 September 2015 | 9:09am

Fifteen (see what I did there – not eleven, not thirteen, but fifteen – because this is rugby union we’re talking now) 1. It confirmed the genius of Danny Boyle. The RWC opening ceremony was fine set against the standards of most sporting opening ceremonies. But in scope, scale and creativity – and cost of […]

Nice guy, good MP, making the weather: but it has to be ABC – Anyone But Corbyn. Labour could be finished if he wins

Posted on 10 August 2015 | 11:08am

I have thought long and hard, having said two months ago I didn’t intend to get involved in the Labour leadership debate, about whether to publish this piece. I am also aware that there is a risk that it will have precisely the opposite of the effect I hope it has – namely to make […]

Guest blog from a father who lost his daughter and wants to help others avoid the same fate

Posted on 2 July 2015 | 6:07am

“In business, you have politics and profit. In charity, you have politics.” Or so the saying goes. I have been in business and understand that sentiment, but charity is still pretty new to me, in the sense that our family just set up a charity earlier this year. Of course, it’s not party politics that’s […]

When politics becomes blood sport – welcome to The Killing Season, power Aussie Rules style

Posted on 23 June 2015 | 8:06am

One of my favourite foreign politicians when starting out with Tony Blair was then Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating. Clever, funny, tough, with a desire to batter the Tories that was closer to my own approach to politics than that of my more big-tented boss. With Keating, though he was cute enough at internal politics […]