Alastair's Blog

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On inequality, special advisers, Ireland, and TB/Iraq

Posted on 28 January 2010 | 1:01pm

Three observations. 1. Yesterday’s report suggesting some failings in the government’s record on inequality attracted widespread broadcast and print media coverage. Today, so far as I can tell from a quick skim around the place, only The Guardian does much with a report showing a fifty per cent rise since the mid-90s in the likelihood of […]

Message machine Mandelson on form today

Posted on 27 January 2010 | 12:01pm

Say what you like about Peter Mandelson – some of you will doubtless take up the invitation – but he knows how to pack a few messages into a newspaper interview. I particularly like the way, in his Mirror interview today, that he paid tribute to the British people in their role in getting Britain […]

Only one place to be tonight

Posted on 26 January 2010 | 9:01am

Forgive me if I have only one thing on my mind today – no not that, nor even plugging Maya (out soon by the way and may I say the man from the Mirror, who gave my first novel a great write up, says he likes this one even more) so what with Time Out’s […]

Cameron and tweeting ought to be natural fit

Posted on 25 January 2010 | 11:01am

So if he did tweet, how might David Cameron have summed up his press conference this morning? ‘nice easy questioning, avoided getting pinned down on tax rises/public spending, backtracked quite well on Edlington.’ That was my immediate offering. A quick ‘Cameron’ search on twitter suggests many alternatives. He explained that one of the reasons he is resistant […]

Big bucks campaigning not what it’s cracked out to be

Posted on 24 January 2010 | 10:01am

There was a moment during Barack Obama’s multi-squillion-dollar presidential campaign when his team realised they had so much money in the war chest that they bought a mass of advertising they probably didn’t need. That is one ‘problem’ unlikely to affect the Labour Party this year. Whereas American campaigns always seem to do it bigger, […]

A life in unemployment statistics

Posted on 22 January 2010 | 9:01am

I was sent this link yesterday to a handy little map the Labour Party has created to show relative levels of unemployment in 1992 ­ ie the last comparable recession ­ and now. Pretty much everywhere in the country, the picture is the same. There are fewer people unemployed now than there were then. And […]

Learning the wrong Iraq lessons for Afghan war

Posted on 21 January 2010 | 10:01am

This is the full version of an article of which an edited version appears in today’s Financial Times Britain is at war. It does not feel like it for a population which, the young included, has its  concept of war defined largely by World War 2, with its millions of deaths, wailing sirens, bombs falling […]

Denis MacShane MP on the rewriting of history re Iraq war

Posted on 20 January 2010 | 10:01am

I have been thinking for a while about writing something on the way so many people in politics, diplomacy and the media are rewriting history to suit their own agenda or to evade their own responsibilities. Then this morning, reading online the coverage of Geoff Hoon’s evidence yesterday, I came across this piece in The Independent by Labour […]

Darling v Gove, Osborne and help the rich squad is No Contest

Posted on 19 January 2010 | 10:01am

After shadow education secretary Michael Gove’s barely comprehensible (especially after he ‘explained’ it) ‘toffs for teachers’ elitist schooling plan, the Tories have now turned their attention to child poverty. According to the FT’s Nick Timmins, one of the most reliable public policy journos around (sorry, I know how that will damage him but it is […]

Dacre’s Downfall

Posted on 18 January 2010 | 3:01am

Now come on folks, let’s calm down a bit before this gay Paul Dacre thing gets out of hand. I mean the guy’s got family, and even though the boys went to Eton, where they’re taught to be tough out there on the playing fields, we don’t know for sure how they will cope with […]