Alastair's Blog

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Northern Ireland showed TB at his best

Posted on 25 October 2013 | 2:10pm

If you read The Guardian, you may already have seen the piece I am posting below. It is an extract from the introduction Tony Blair has written for the book I am publishing next week, The Irish Diaries. For both TB and Bertie Ahern, though they get whacked plenty over other stuff, Northern Ireland must […]

Another day, another TV programme showing the dreadful damage alcohol does to Britain

Posted on 14 October 2013 | 6:10am

Make sure you watch Channel 4 at 9pm tonight, and see how the wonderful people who work for our ambulance services are drowning in a sea of alcohol. Like Tommy Lemon, who lays to rest the myth that ‘booze Britain’ is a weekend thing, saying the effects of alcohol dominate his and his colleagues’ work […]

On women and booze, and why more and more women are getting more and more worried

Posted on 13 October 2013 | 10:10am

When I made a documentary on alcoholism for the BBC a couple of years ago, one of the first people to get in touch was Lucy Rocca who, together with a friend, had set up an online self-help group for women worried about their drinking. Www.soberistas.com is one of the growing number of groups reflecting […]

Time to Change gathering momentum – big new names signing up on World Mental Health Day

Posted on 10 October 2013 | 7:10am

Every day seems to be something or other day, but when my ‘top tweet’ is from the United Nations no less, telling me today is ‘World Mental Health Day,’ I reckon it matters more than most. As an ambassador for the Time To Change campaign, I will be joining staff and supporters of Mind and […]

Asda, Tesco, Amazon show we are still in the dark ages re mental illness stereotyping

Posted on 26 September 2013 | 8:09am

With apologies to Angela Merkel – I had intended to keep my praise of her as lead blog over the weekend – I feel I have to say something about the current furore raging about the ‘mental patient Halloween costumes’ being sold by Asda, Tesco and on Amazon. Thanks in large part to social media, […]

Merkel unique and her campaign uniquely German, but still lessons in there

Posted on 25 September 2013 | 9:09pm

Below is a short piece I did for Der Spiegel on the German election campaign, first in English and then, a part translated (not by me) German version. I do so wish I had not lost my German. Used to be virtually fluent, now get by. I blame French and France. Favourite language, spend too […]

One terrific speech does not change the weather overnight – the whole Party must now raise its game to beat these oh-so-beatable Tories

Posted on 25 September 2013 | 7:09am

Barack Obama’s strategist David Axelrod once said that political conventional wisdom is almost always wrong and we have had a good example of that in Britain recently. Over the summer the conventional wisdom was that Ed Miliband had had it and David Cameron, on the back of a (paltry) economic recovery, was on track to […]

My anger at McBride is not his gift to the Tories now, but the one he and other GB people gave in helping Labour lose power

Posted on 22 September 2013 | 7:09am

I really like Iain Dale, and believe the Tories missed a trick when he tried and failed to become an MP for them. He would have been a good MP, and perhaps a good minister. But he has fulfilled an important political function outside Parliament in building up a successful publishing and media company which […]

Memo to Labour – energy, fight, future policy, stand up for Labour record, Britain, NHS, immigration too, and demolish worst govt in memory

Posted on 21 September 2013 | 9:09am

Having been in hospital from Monday to Thursday I watched more TV news than usual this week, and spotted a trend, one which is useful to Labour as the party conference begins. It is that the Tory Government strategy, such as it exists, is essentially founded on the approach in that silly book ‘is it […]

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband should listen to police and doctors re costs of booze

Posted on 15 September 2013 | 4:09pm

I was going to spend part of today’s sickbed sojourn writing a blog about the Lib Dem conference, but Chief Constable Adrian Lee’s remarks that Britain needs to take a long hard look at its drinking culture, not least because fifty per cent of violent crime is now booze-fuelled, and ACPO’s clear effort to get […]