Alastair's Blog

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My views, as a Cambridge professor no less, on politics and the press; not as clear or straight-forward as I expected

Posted on 12 November 2013 | 12:11pm

Never did I imagine, as I drank, fought and very occasionally studied my way through four years as a Cambridge University student, that one day I would be a ‘visiting professor’ no less. Also, given that at the time I had no idea that I would go into the media, let alone politics, even less […]

My night in a ‘brothel’, and a warning for my friends at Twitter

Posted on 8 November 2013 | 9:11am

Out last night to one of the most extraordinary venues I have ever spoken at. A club in Soho which – not that I have ever knowingly been in a Paris brothel – felt like, well, a Paris brothel. It was all dark and moody, with lots of stairways and rooms of different shapes and […]

A chance to have a great laugh with Jo Brand AND stop people dying

Posted on 31 October 2013 | 3:10pm

If you like Jo Brand, if you like a good night out, if you have an empty diary on the evening of Sunday November 24, and if you have a passing interest in making a small contribution to curing cancer and saving lives, then please click on here. I’ve been involved in An Audience With… […]

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 […]