Alastair's Blog

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Why manifestos matter, even if nobody reads them (and should we call them something different?)

Posted on 13 February 2013 | 12:02pm

Below is a piece published by Portland and Labour List yesterday. Among the responses I saw was one suggesting that the problem with manifestos is the word manifesto. It does seem remarkable that so few people are interested enough to read the programmes for government being put forward by parties who could form the government. […]

Don’t miss the Culture Show special on Abraham Lincoln tonight

Posted on 12 February 2013 | 7:02pm

I do not make a habit of apologising to the BBC but sorry, sorry, sorry, I forgot. Forgot what? I promised to do a blog today about the BBC2 Culture Show special on Abraham Lincoln. It is on at 1120pm and presented by Justin Webb. I made this promise when, several weeks ago, I was […]

If only Cameron was as bright and principled as Norman Fowler … Leveson burial chapter 324

Posted on 9 February 2013 | 1:02pm

You know how hard I find it to be overly nice about Tories, but I must salute the indefatigable Norman Fowler for his attempt to make sure the government does not wriggle out of doing the right thing on press regulation. While David Cameron has acted only when he has had no choice, and at […]

Musings on Borgen, strong women, the gap in the UK TV market, and Maradona

Posted on 2 February 2013 | 9:02am

The outpouring of jealousy at my meeting ‘Birgitte’ from Borgen was not quite on a par with that inspired by my ‘never talk about it’ football playing with Diego Maradona. It was there nonetheless, from the ‘jammy bastard’ tweets to the observation from Andrew Neil that he ‘never knew Danish could be so hypnotic.’ So […]

Time to think differently about mental health care

Posted on 31 January 2013 | 12:01pm

The King’s Fund has launched a debate about the future of health and social care, called ‘Time to think Differently.’ They asked me to write a piece on mental health. To find out more about the King’s Fund debate, visit here. Meanwhile here is the piece I have done for them… So it is time […]

Lance Armstrong liked to play the long game. David Walsh has played even longer, and won

Posted on 20 January 2013 | 12:01pm

I don’t recall exactly where and when it was that I met journalist David Walsh, not long after I had met Lance Armstrong for the first time, but I do recall his shock tinged with anger that I had ‘fallen for the Armstrong lies.’ I think it was at a football match. Indeed I had […]

Cameron’s speech timetabling shambles underlines his DNA problem – all tactics no strategy

Posted on 15 January 2013 | 5:01pm

Here is a piece I have done for The Guardian today. I sometimes wish we had patented “The Grid”, the scheduling tool New Labour developed in opposition and subsequently used in government to seek to bring order and strategy to a mass of often seemingly unrelated activities. These days, most major organisations and businesses have […]

What did the Romans ever do for us (EU section)?

Posted on 12 January 2013 | 10:01am

As David Cameron seemingly spends another weekend deciding whether, where and when to make his much vaunted speech on Europe … as the rest of us ponder the remarkable failure of leadership that has got him into a mess of his own making … as Ed Miliband rightly signals no truck with the idea of […]

Lincoln film, not to mention TB’s first 2.5 years compared with Cameron’s, reminds what a pygmological government we have

Posted on 10 January 2013 | 8:01am

I was lucky enough to go last night to a preview of Lincoln, the new film about America’s greatest President. Immediate thoughts – Daniel Day Lewis nailed on for an Oscar, great decision by Spielberg to focus on a relatively short period of his political life, climaxing with the vote to abolish slavery, pleased it […]

Slowly re-emerging from novel-writing hibernation to see a government that is there for the taking

Posted on 9 January 2013 | 9:01am

It’s flattering I suppose when people notice … that I have not been blogging much. It is becoming a new year tradition, like stomach upsets, broken resolutions, sacked football managers and tiny FA Cup crowds. A year ago it was because I was going through a bad bout of depression. This year it was because […]