Alastair's Blog

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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 […]

Thanks to friend and foe alike for helping yesterday go by

Posted on 13 January 2010 | 8:01am

First of all thanks to the friends and also total strangers who offered support in various ways yesterday, not least across the web. Fair to say there was loads of the usual abuse that comes whenever anyone goes out and defends British policy on Iraq, but there was also a big expression of the counter […]

So far so good in campaign to remove discriminatory law

Posted on 11 January 2010 | 9:01am

As Gordon Brown explains to Labour MPs how he believes they can still fight and win the next election, can I report the outcome of another less high profile – but ultimately successful – campaign. It was the campaign to get the Speaker’s Conference on access to politics and Parliament to recommend removing a discriminatory […]

Thanks to Will Hutton for talking sense on ‘class war’

Posted on 10 January 2010 | 12:01pm

Thank heavens for a voice of sense and reason in the debate about so-called ‘class war.’ The shame is it is not a Cabinet minister’s voice, but that of journalist Will Hutton in The Observer. It is welcome nonetheless. Let us track back a bit. At a time Labour were drawing blood on inheritance tax, […]

In defence of airbrushed posters

Posted on 9 January 2010 | 4:01pm

What on earth is the fuss about? So David Cameron’s picture has been airbrushed so that the forehead looks baby-bottom smooth as drivers look away from the snowy roads to see DC looking down from poster sites around Britain. As I have explained in a little video just uploaded on Youtube, there is a tradition […]

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 […]