Alastair's Blog

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Two very different stories of depression

Posted on 17 November 2009 | 5:11pm

Back to the depression front today, with two very different stories to report from different parts of the world. First from Australia, where senior politician Kevin Foley has held an emotional press conference to ‘confess’ that for several years he has been treated for depression. South Australia’s Labour deputy Prime Minister and finance minister, Foley ‘came out’ after Opposition […]

Congrats to Ellie on PPB campaign, and Willy Hague on getting van Rompuy

Posted on 17 November 2009 | 11:11am

Congratulations to young (I know it sounds patronising, but it is kind of relevant) Ellie Gellard who is today enjoying the sweet taste of campaign success. To people with political blood flowing through their veins, there are few better feelings. Ellie started the online campaign to persuade the Labour powers-that-be to choose, as their next party […]

Private schools worse than State schools – unless it’s drugs you’re after. Discuss

Posted on 16 November 2009 | 12:11pm

Well, we got a good little debate going yesterday on the back of my blog on Fiona’s exchanges with Toby Young on Sky News over his plans to set up a new school. Amid the differences of opinion btween them was a shared disdain for the angst of middle-class parents who support State education in […]

Fiona Millar 5 Toby Young 0

Posted on 15 November 2009 | 1:11pm

Well done to Fiona Millar – I shall declare an interest shortly – in her just televised debate with Toby Young, who wants to set up his own school in West London. Ah yes, it was that Fiona, the one I have lived with for 30 years? As readers of The Blair Years will know, those […]

Where we fight we win

Posted on 13 November 2009 | 11:11am

Congratulations to Willie Bain on being elected as the Labour MP for Glasgow North East. The by-election result shows that where we fight we win. I’ve been away in Austria for the past few days, and on my return I was struck by the number of people on Facebook and Twitter who have contacted me to ask me […]

Good luck to Number 10 on ‘lobby’ review. And a big NO to the other PR

Posted on 12 November 2009 | 2:11pm

Just had a couple of very nice days in Vienna. Beautiful city, really clean. Spotted one piece of litter in an early morning run round the first district, which is the government and business area. I was there to speak to spokesmen and women and political advisors from all the main government departments and the […]

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 […]