Alastair's Blog

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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. […]

Women and alcohol – when ‘normal’ drinking slips into problem territory

Posted on 22 August 2013 | 6:08am

A while back I posted a guest blog by the founders of Soberistas.com an online group set up to help women worried about their drinking. Now Lucy Rocca, one of the Soberistas, has co- written a book with Sarah Turner, The Sober Revolution, – Women Calling Time On Wine O’Clock, and the response suggests there […]

‘The mess we inherited’ – some facts with which to fight the Tory Big Lies

Posted on 19 August 2013 | 9:08am

​​ I am indebted to Professor Vernon Bogdanor, who among other things was David Cameron’s tutor at Oxford, for drawing my attention to a recent report by the LSE Growth Commission. Anyone who looks at the mix of academics, business leaders, economists and banking experts on the Commission will be unable to dismiss them as […]

Labour must rebut ‘the mess we inherited’ to expose the mess the Tories are making

Posted on 13 August 2013 | 11:08am

Just before the summer break, I did a fundraiser for Labour Welsh Assembly member Leighton Andrews, and during the q and a was asked if it was too late for Labour to fight back against the coalition mantra about ‘the mess we inherited.’ My reply, which seemed to meet with broad approval, was a very […]

Great idea from a French town; would it work in UK?

Posted on 12 August 2013 | 11:08am

When the Daily Telegraph asked me a while back to do a piece for their travel pages on my favourite town, I chose Vaison-la-Romaine in France. Having been back there for the Tour de France a couple of weeks ago, I found yet another reason to like it. Now it may be that this is […]

Just for my Mum, a blog about non-blogging, non-news following, Harriet and cycling

Posted on 27 July 2013 | 1:07pm

This one is for my Mum. She is not the only one to say ‘you haven’t been blogging much lately,’ but she is the only one who is my Mum. This is a new maternal criticism. She normally criticises me when she sees me on the telly without a tie (usually Andrew Neil’s fault because […]

Guest blog from a suicide survivor who says we should talk about it more

Posted on 5 July 2013 | 6:07am

I am still getting responses on social media to the tweet I did when Stephen Fry talked about a suicide attempt, and I asked those who were asking what he had to be depressed about whether they would pose the same question to someone with cancer, diabetes or asthma. The latest was from suicide survivor […]

Speech on modern media, modern comms, modern strategy and why the Queen is a great communicator

Posted on 27 June 2013 | 9:06am

Here is the speech I am about to make – grandly titled an Oration Address by the organisers, to the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs, Thursday June 27, Melbourne.​ Forgive the references to slides, lovingly prepared by my daughter, which the audience will see but I don’t have a clue how to put on here. […]