Alastair's Blog

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Fire is always best turned on the Tories

Posted on 7 January 2010 | 3:01pm

When the Tories were slowly imploding in the run up to our first landslide victory in 1997, former minister Alan Clark called me to bemoan his party’s fate. As my diaries show, this fellow diarist phoned me rather a lot, more than his party whips and apparatchiks appreciated. He loved ‘the game,’ as he called […]

On Hoon-Hewitt and John Prescott

Posted on 7 January 2010 | 12:01am

I’ve been really busy all day on various things and have only just caught up with the coverage of the Hoon-Hewitt ‘initiative’. Fair to say the news I caught was a bit of a disaster for the party, after what has been a better than expected start to the year in terms of getting stuck […]

Sad and baffled to see Coyle go

Posted on 5 January 2010 | 4:01pm

I have done a longish piece on Owen Coyle’s departure for AOL’s Football Fanhouse on http://www.football.fanhouse.co.uk Here are a few extracts for those who don’t really care as much as I and – judging from the phone-ins and message boards – many others do. ‘I cannot say I am surprised he has gone. As I […]

Cameron’s wobble the product of his team saying what their audiences want to hear

Posted on 5 January 2010 | 10:01am

The Tories put a lot of planning into the launch of their New Year campaigning. Big setpiece speeches by the leader, press ads, posters with what look like an airbrushed David Cameron. The slogan ‘things can’t go on like this’  reminded me of their not so successful ‘are you thinking what we’re thinking?’ from the […]

New Tory slogan – if you’ve got the cash, splash it on crap ads

Posted on 2 January 2010 | 12:01pm

That the Tories have money to burn is clear from the ads they plastered in several of the newspapers and on strategic ad sites yesterday. Ads are to some extent a matter of taste. They are also a matter of judgement.  If I thought they were good, I would say so. Or at least, given […]

And the musicians of the decade were … The Beatles and The King

Posted on 31 December 2009 | 6:12pm

Other than urging David Cameron to have as his New Year Resolution the promise to set out a detailed set of policies covering the major areas of national life – and meanwhile the Pig on Runway A is set for take off – and urging the British press to start scrutinising the Tories a tenth […]

Prepare for avalanche of Ashcroft posters for Tories

Posted on 30 December 2009 | 3:12pm

I will forgive Jack Straw his little jibe at the expense of Burnley FC in his piece on the Tories in today’s Independent. The Blackburn MP says he will donate two tickets to see Burnley reserves to anyone who can name a Tory councillor who has complained locally about the effect of the extra investment […]

Here’s Good Luck to you, Mrs Robinson

Posted on 29 December 2009 | 12:12pm

BBC Northern Ireland called this morning, asking me to do an interview about the decision of Democratic Unionist MP Iris Robinson to step down, citing her severe depression as the reason. Mrs Robinson is also a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly and wife of First Minister Peter Robinson, so she knows a thing or […]

One man’s White Christmas joy is another’s football disaster

Posted on 24 December 2009 | 1:12pm

Both partner and daughter have woken to utter ‘oh no’ as they have seen the mild rain failing, helping to melt the lying snow, and dent the chances of a White Christmas. He has a lot to answer for does Bing Crosby. All that dreaming of a White Christmas, infecting everyone else’s dreams and desires […]

My favourite fact of the day – a French decimal time system

Posted on 23 December 2009 | 4:12pm

Every now and then you read something that makes you go ‘wow, I never knew that,’ and then it sticks with you sufficient for you to memorise it, not least because you spend far too much time thinking about it. I came across one such something this morning, in an article about Russian President Dmitry […]