Alastair's Blog

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Good news on leukaemia, good news on student activism

Posted on 13 October 2009 | 8:10am

Late night, early morrning … both containing reasons to be cheerful. Late night because I was speaking to Oxford University Labour Club, where there was a mood and an energy to the gathering that confirmed my view that support and activism for Labour can grow the more people focus on the idea there may be […]

Musings from Bertie Ahern, and how I won the Nobel prize for literature

Posted on 12 October 2009 | 9:10am

By popular demand (well, a few Facebook friends and a few Irish journalists) here are some of Bertie Ahern’s reflections from my 80 minute chat with him at the Cheltenham Book Festival. As I tweeted yesterday, he thought Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize was premature; that these prizes should be for achievement not expectation, and […]

Continuing double standards in the media

Posted on 11 October 2009 | 11:10am

As I am interviewing Bertie Ahern at the Cheltenham Festival later today, I thought I’d catch him on the Marr programme to see whether he was in suit and tie or smart casual, and thereby get my dress code guidance. This is after all the man who when chairing an international summit wore the most […]

The best policies in Cameron’s speech were those of Labour Big Government

Posted on 8 October 2009 | 5:10pm

In the next few hours, someone will do us the service of telling us which words and phrases were most used in David Cameron’s speech. ‘Big Government’ will, I suspect, be top of the pops. Whilst professing to hate Gordon Brown’s ‘dividing lines’ approach to politics, this was an attempt to make Big State v Small State […]

Tongues slipping all over the place

Posted on 8 October 2009 | 9:10am

Did Nick Robinson really refer to David Cameron as the Prime Minister? And should any of us be terribly surprised? Now of course it is possible to excuse the BBC political editor’s mistake as a slip of the tongue. The Conference season has been going for some weeks. That is an awful lot of day […]

Cameron confuses strategy and tactics and puts Union at risk

Posted on 7 October 2009 | 10:10am

Off to Scotland today and, in what those who ever ate with him call ‘Robert Maxwell catering’, I will be at two dinners, one an awards ceremony, the second a Labour fundraiser. For Captain Bob, two dinners was in fact sometimes a conservative assessment of his eating capacity. I remember once attending a dinner he […]

Osborne inspires apathy at BBC Leeds

Posted on 6 October 2009 | 4:10pm

Call me a saddo, but I was determined to watch George Osborne’s speech live. In the media age,this ought to have been straightforward. I left Sheffield, where I was picking up a 50k cheque from Dransfield Properties for Leukamia Research’s Big 5-0 campaign, at eleven, with an hour to get to Leeds. I made it […]

Let’s see more of the Tory candidates please

Posted on 6 October 2009 | 9:10am

I didn’t see much of the Tory Conference yesterday. I was locked away in a radio studio for most of the morning, doing interviews in advance of World Mental Health Day later this week. Then lunch with a former colleague before hopping on a (strangely quiet) train to Leeds, where I was doing a speech, time for […]

Labour needs to fight on record to stop Tory vandalism

Posted on 5 October 2009 | 2:10pm

Even within the Labour Party, people sometimes ask why I keep banging on about the need to keep banging on about the government’s record. The last 24 hours have shown the reason. Imagine that when he was avoiding answers to serious policy questions in Manchester yesterday, David Cameron had suddenly piped up that he was […]

VacuDave goes all peevish at difficult questions. Bring on the debates

Posted on 4 October 2009 | 11:10pm

The BBC lead-in was bang on message for VacuDave tonight, leading its bulletins with talk of his ‘big, bold plans for welfare reform’ and the highly comical notion that the Tories are now the party of jobs. Well done Dave and his spin team then for getting this thought as a major news item rather […]