Tag Archives: alastair campbell

Your essential weekend reader — my personal pick of the week’s must-reads

Papers - Some rights reserved by NS MewsflashIt’s Sunday morning, so here are a dozen of thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices, culled from all those I’ve linked to this past fortnight. You can follow me on Delicious here.

Immigration and the knowledge economy – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg makes the business case for immigration reform in the US, but the lesson is universal: “In a knowledge economy, the most important resources are the talented people we educate and attract to our country.”

Mum did to Maggie what she’d done

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Where is the British Borgen?

Alastair Campbell asked an interesting (if not altogether original) question on Twitter this morning:

As a massive fan of The West Wing, and an avid viewer of Borgen, it is a question I have also thought about. Britain is the world leader in political satire, yet we must be close to bottom of the league when it comes to political drama.

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Your essential weekend reader — 12 must-read articles you may have missed

It’s Saturday morning, so here are twelve thought-provoking articles to stimulate your thinking juices…

The lottery of life: Where to be born in 2013The Economist‘s annual list of the top quality-of-life countries: ‘Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter too.’ Britain comes 27th. (The Telegraph has a picture-only version here.)

The burdens that Israel should not have to bearBrendan

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Nick Clegg’s mental health initiative provides treatment for half a million people

One of Nick Clegg’s first major speeches as leader of the Liberal Democrats, as Lib Dem Voice reported way back in February 2008, was on the subject of mental health, of ensuring much faster access to therapy for those affected.

In Government, he is able to put his ideas into practice, last year allocating £400 million to talking therapies. I wrote then about why I was so pleased to see that much needed investment.

Today’s Telegraph reports that half a million people have entered treatment under the Coalition’s mental health strategy.

Last night, Nick Clegg held a reception in London …

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A personal view: ending the stigma and waste of mental illness

Less than two months after he was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg made a widely-reported speech at the Guardian Public Services Summit in St. Albans, on the subject of mental health. Nick pointed out that “One in four Britons suffers from a mental illness at some point in their lives. One in six is suffering at any given time. Mental health issues directly affect most of Britain’s families today.”

It was laudable and maybe surprising for Nick to use a keynote speech so early in his leadership to highlight such an unfashionable subject. For there is no doubt that mental health issues are seen by some as not really an illness, but some spiritual or character weakness on behalf of the sufferer. And yet most of us have either suffered with mental illness, or have a close family member who has done so.

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PMQS: Cameron promised faster wheels amidst squeaky bums

What a relief! For a change, Prime Minister’s Questions gave more cause for Tories to be uneasy than it did for LibDems. Don’t get me wrong, LibDems care passionately about frontline policing. Of course they do. But the Tories tend to see it as more of a cojones (or should I invent the adjective “cojonal” here?) measurement issue – it’s closer to the nerve with them. So I think there must have been a lot of uncomfortable shifting around on the benches behind David Cameron today. “Squeaky bum time”, as Sir Alex might put it.

For once there was a good …

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Guardian verdict on voting reform: “Mr Clegg spoke for progress; Mr Straw for reaction.”

The Guardian has not always been kind to the Coalition since its formation; still less to the Lib Dems. But its stinging rebuke to Labour’s “opposition for opposition’s sake” — with its attempt last night cynically to torpedo the Lib/Con government’s electoral reform measures — might perhaps give the new party leader pause for thought.

In the topsy-turvy world of Coalition politics, two parties which do not support the alternative vote last night voted to endorse a referendum on it; while the party which pledged to introduce it in its manifesto decided to jettison that promise.

It was an irony …

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Why suddenly telling the truth is damaging politics

It’s better that Labour figures are starting to tell the truth in public about the Brown-Blair infighting years than if they were continuing to claim they’d always got along fine, government had never been hindered and Blair loved the idea of Brown becoming Prime Minister.

However, telling the truth is, I fear, coming at a considerable cost to the reputation of politics. Because we’ve now got a succession of people saying, in effect, ‘Don’t bother with what I told the public at the time. Of course that was nonsense. The truth actually was the opposite’. That fits right with the very …

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So, what does a Special Adviser do?

Special advisers (or “spads” for short) tend to have a bad press. Alastair Campbell was a spad, as was Jo (“good day to bury bad news”) Moore; Andrew Blick’s book on the topic was called People Who Live in the Dark; and a contributor to a recent Lib Dem Voice exchange observed that “We made so many breaks with New Labour, why did we have to adopt their spad culture?”

Actually special advisers have a much longer history than that. One can trace their origins right back to Lloyd …

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Daily View 2×2: 18 January 2010

Happy Monday morning, everyone.

On this day, in 1788, Britain established a penal settlement at Botany Bay in Australia; while, in 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt sent the first transatlantic radio transmission originating in the United States to King Edward VII. Even more excitingly, it’s the birthday of AA Milne (b. 1882), Oliver ‘Laurel &’ Hardy (b. 1892), Cary Grant (b. 1904) and Peter Beardsley (b. 1961).

But without further tarrying …

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here’s are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Holyrood: The Budget Battleground (Caron Lindsay)

    The first act of the budget drama plays out this week. Let’s hope that the process is more serious production and less pantomime farce.

  • A couple of classy links (Alix Mortimer)

    I once saw a blogger, a smart, impassioned, left-wing blogger, comment to the effect that his £40,000-odd salary was not that high.

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Indy bigs up Mark Pack but exposes Twitter’s weakness

The Independent today asksCould the next election finally provide a reason for the microblogging service?

There are many reasons for Twitter, some better than others, but if today’s Independent article is anything to go by, the General Election won’t be one of them.

“It’s Twitter that will make this election unique.”, the Indy proclaims, before going on to show why that claim is almost certainly not true.

The paper lists the political twitterati, a mixture – it turns out – of established figures doing a bit of tweeting and political bloggers.

Most excitingly for us at Lib Dem Voice, our …

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Daily View 2×2: 5 November 2009

Good morning and welcome to the Voice’s early morning roundup of news and views. It’s 5th November, an anniversary we can all remember, when Guy Fawkes didn’t quite manage to get his suggestions for MPs’ expense reform through Parliament. It’s also Art Garfunkel’s birthday – he’s 68 today.

2 Big Stories

Bloody betrayal raises fresh doubts about Britain’s campaign in Afghanistan

The Times carries the story most papers are leading with this morning.

The killing of five British soldiers by an Afghan policeman raised fresh doubts yesterday about Britain’s mission in Helmand.

Senior political, diplomatic and military figures warned that public support for the British presence was in danger of collapse without a clear and freshly defined strategy.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has one of the more startling headlines I’ve read recently:

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What does the future hold for British political blogging?

Predictions that the next general election will be the one in which the internet will make a huge impact have regularly come and gone. Post-Obama ready yourself for another such clutch of predictions, but underneath this punditry froth the internet has got on with quietly shifting the way politics works. It’s been more at the unglamorous organisational end (imagine trying to organise a campaign without email) than at the eye-catching systems-shattering dramatic end beloved of pundits, but it’s been a major change nonetheless.

Following in the footsteps of email, blogging has also established a firm place in the logistics of politics, even if its impact on the overall style and conduct of politics is less clear and less dramatic. Blogs have become a key news medium for people involved in or significantly interested in politics, they have become a key part of the flow of news to and from journalists and for some MPs and candidates they reach local audiences large enough to be a significant factor in their election efforts.

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‘Smeargate’: That Was The Easter Weekend That Was

I know it’s the Westminster Village story de jour, but I’m finding it very hard to work up motivation to blog on what is being portentously dubbed ‘Smeargate’, Labour’s cretinous attempts to stick the boot into the Tories.

Damian McBride, the author of the emails slurring his opponents, has deservedly lost his job (hard to believe, by the way, he’s 34 – if ever there were a walking advertisement for not becoming Gordon Brown’s media-bitch, it’s Damian). Derek Draper limps on as the public face of LabourList.org, reduced to empty exhortations for “the whole blogosphere, right and left, to …

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