Alastair's Blog

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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 […]

Rebutting the good and the bad, and support from football fans

Posted on 17 January 2010 | 12:01pm

We only get The Observer on a Sunday, and I fear that Gaby Hinsliff and Nick Cohen will be going into hiding after their articles today. Sorry, but you just can’t say these things!! Ms Hinsliff has written what even my other half (who is used to reading unpleasant things about me) has described as […]

Mandela is a great man, Invictus a great film

Posted on 16 January 2010 | 8:01am

A friend of ours is a member of Bafta and so gets all the films up for awards. We have been lucky enough to see about a dozen in recent weeks, from Up In The Air (I liked it, Fiona loved it) to Funny People (Adam Sandler is a very funny person), Brothers (strong) to […]

Is Paul Dacre hiding a guilty secret that explains his deranged paper?

Posted on 15 January 2010 | 9:01am

As those of you who follow me on Twitter and Facebook will know, on Wednesday I had a call from a behavioural psychologist, to tell me he had come to the conclusion that Obergruppenfuehrer Paul Dacre is secretly in love with me. My tweet on this led to a few complaints about the Nazi terminology,  one […]

What’s the real fight to be had?

Posted on 14 January 2010 | 10:01am

Now that things have calmed a bit after the frenzy of Tuesday, normal political service resumed here, with a reminder that there are only two parties in this country capable of forming a government, so that the big choice on the agenda is whether we want Labour or the Tories in power, Gordon Brown or […]

On Owen Coyle and Brian Laws

Posted on 13 January 2010 | 6:01pm

Welcome back to Brian Laws as Burnley’s new manager. I say welcome back because Brian is a former player. Fair to say Owen Coyle’s departure to Bolton was like a kick in the guts of a lot of Burnley fans but chairman Barry Kilby and fellow board member Brendan Flood have moved quickly to fill […]