Alastair's Blog

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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 […]

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 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 […]