Alastair's Blog

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Robert Enke RIP. May his death increase understanding of depression

Posted on 11 November 2009 | 5:11pm

I’m in Austria to make a speech and speak to government communications specialists.   The news is wall to wall coverage of the dreadful suicide of top footballer Robert Enke, who had fought depression for years. I have no idea what channel I am watching but there is a calm and dignity to the coverage […]

On the exploitation of grief to get Gordon

Posted on 11 November 2009 | 8:11am

In my newspaper reporting days on The Mirror, one of the worst calls to make was the one to the news desk saying ‘The Sun’s got the mum.’ The situation might be a court case, a serious crime, a have-a-go-hero rescue, or a human  interest story which suddenly flared up out of nowhere and captured […]

Why Tories are not home and dry, and wrong to call GB callous

Posted on 10 November 2009 | 1:11pm

Sorry – ok, no I’m not – to return to the day I got a call from the Telegraph asking for a quote on a poll showing Labour 37 points ahead. But let’s try to be inside the head of David Cameron. Let’s reflect on the fact that we are in recession, with unemployment up […]

Labour needs more of the winning mentality

Posted on 9 November 2009 | 10:11am

Out to another Labour fundraiser last night, this one for my local constituency, Holborn and St Pancras. And not for the first time I found myself extolling the virtues of sport as an inspiration for politics. Eg – ‘show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser’ (John McEnroe). I also drew attention to […]

The scandal of friendship and the shame of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

Posted on 7 November 2009 | 10:11am

Is there no end to the cruelty of the Daily Telegraph in its coverage of MPs’ expenses? My God, they have only gone and published a detailed account of my exit from a celebrity (sic) edition of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Just when Fiona and I were finally getting over it.  Why in […]

US clarity of strategy required for full explanation on Afghanistan

Posted on 6 November 2009 | 10:11am

Gordon Brown is right today to be setting out – and he should keep setting out – the basic case for Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan. As Paddy Ashdown said yesterday, this war will not be won or lost militarily, but in the bars, sitting rooms and workplaces of those countries – democracies – who are contributing […]

Just because he is French doesn’t mean he’s wrong

Posted on 5 November 2009 | 10:11am

David Cameron will be thinking he has just about got away with his Europe fandango. MEP Daniel Hannan resigns from a job few knew he had … this is a low damage count. Cameron may even be taking some comfort from the fact that the noisiest criticism of him appears to come from a Frenchman. Nothing like […]

Congratulations to David Cameron and Trevor Kavanagh

Posted on 4 November 2009 | 10:11am

Congratulations to David Cameron … now there’s something you never thought you’d see on here. But I mean it. I’m impressed. Turn to page 4 of The Guardian and you will see why. He is standing, in the middle of a London Underground carriage, clutching a sheaf of papers in one hand, and WRITING with […]

Is there a Sun blackout on Cameron’s dumping of ‘cast iron guarantee’ on Europe?

Posted on 3 November 2009 | 8:11pm

I just paid a visit to the Sun’s online service, to see what they were doing with David Cameron’s dumping of his ‘cast iron guarantee’ – made to the paper’s readers – to hold a referendum on Europe.  If you take the front page and the main news page together, I reckon you’re looking at going on for […]

Johnson seems to get it on immigration. Right on advisors advising too

Posted on 3 November 2009 | 11:11am

It’s a shame Alan Johnson became embroiled in the controversy over the sacking of a drugs policy advisor just as he was making an important speech on immigration. I hope nonetheless that the Home Secretary’s basic message gets through, because it suggests he ‘gets it.’ As I know from my time trying to explain government […]