Alastair's Blog

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A lesson in campaign mindset from young Labour students

Posted on 31 January 2010 | 1:01pm

I stayed up in Burnley after our latest heroic defeat last night to do a fundraiser for the town’s new Labour candidate Julie Cooper. It was the perfect venue for a speaking event – looking out over the hallowed turf of Turf Moor. But may I assure those political obsessives who complain when I do […]

Media tweets show the real agenda

Posted on 29 January 2010 | 9:01pm

By Peter Kyle, Progress Online I was at university on the 11 September 2001, in an open plan office with other postgraduate students. It’s not a day I or anyone else will forget. So many people said at the time that ‘the world will never be the same again’. It was an obvious point but […]

TB made a judgement, and is defending it well

Posted on 29 January 2010 | 2:01pm

I watched most of this morning’s TB session on the Iraq inquiry website. I don’t know who put the site together but I wished we’d had more of them around when I was doing government communications. It is clear, simple and very well designed. It also means it is possible to watch a screen freed from the […]

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 […]