Alastair's Blog

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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 […]

Extracts from speech to Royal Television Society dinner last night – as requested by a few of you

Posted on 13 September 2013 | 12:09pm

RTS cambridge sept 12 2013 Hope you’re enjoying the conference. Hope you’re enjoying the latest round in the longest running soap opera of our lifetime, BBC leadership … Is it really ten years since Greg Dyke left to spend more time with his anger? No, truth be told we have both moved on. Saw him […]

More rebuttal on book interview headlines – and reminder to Labour re ‘mess we inherited’ rebuttal on economy

Posted on 9 September 2013 | 7:09am

Another day, another perfectly fair, accurately quoted interview, this time in the Daily Telegraph, with Celia Walden. There are various reasons why I said ‘yes’ when she asked to do the piece. First, because I always liked her and I always liked her Dad, former Tory MP George Walden. Second, and most importantly because after […]

Blog as rebuttal and media monitoring

Posted on 7 September 2013 | 9:09am

I was probably being a little churlish last night, on seeing the Guardian headline on my interview with Decca Aitkenhead – ‘you have to have at least the threat of military action’ – and tweeting that it had probably been written before the interview was filed. As some of you quickly took to twitter to […]

Have we got the balance right between the ‘war on drugs’ and dealing with alcohol abuse?

Posted on 4 September 2013 | 8:09am

I am about to do some interviews about my new novel, My Name Is …, out next week, which tells the story of a young girl’s descent into alcoholism. It is a novel, a story, but I hope one that makes people think a little about their and the country’s relationship with alcohol. Now making […]

Burnley getting on the map for all the right reasons

Posted on 27 August 2013 | 2:08pm

I really hope Burnley’s award as ‘The Most Enterprising Area in the UK’ gets a bit of national attention. It has been a long hard struggle for the town, its businesses, its politicians and people to fight against an image founded largely on cloth caps, derelict mills, tiny terraced houses, race riots and the BNP. […]