I spent a couple of years as Tony Blair’s rep at the Party of European Socialists (PES).  It was led then, as now, by former Danish PM Poul-Nyrup Rasmussen.  There’s been some kind of law passed in Denmark requiring every Danish PM to be called Rasmussen (they’re on their third one on the trot, and.. read more →

I wrote this article for the Scottish Mail on Sunday and thought I’d whack it up for those who don’t:  a. Read the paper, and b.  Live in Scotland. Comments appreciated. Mail on Sunday click here once then a second time when the next link comes up to read my article. It’s a little slow, as there’s.. read more →

12 Nov 2009
November 12, 2009

By-election STATS

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Just driven back from Springburn, in Glasgow, where I was alerted to Dave Maddox of the Scotman’s point that the Falkirk West by-election of Christmas 2000, where I was the beneficiary of a quite brilliant Labour campaign, was the highest ever turnout in a by-election.  It made me think of two things. The SNP actually recorded more.. read more →

12 Nov 2009
November 12, 2009

By-election STATS

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Just driven back from Springburn, in Glasgow, where I was alerted to Dave Maddox of the Scotman’s point that the Falkirk West by-election of Christmas 2000, where I was the beneficiary of a quite brilliant Labour campaign, was the highest ever turnout in a by-election.  It made me think of two things. The SNP actually recorded more.. read more →

12 Nov 2009
November 12, 2009

Labour in the Sun

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The Sun’s treatment of Gordon Brown over his letter to Jacqui Janes and his subsequent ‘phone call, sought to tread a fine line between attacking the PM for alleged neglect of our troops and mocking him for physical imperfection. I’m not sure they succeeded. Moreover, many folk I’ve spoken with think that this newspaper seems to relish systematically.. read more →

09 Nov 2009
November 9, 2009

Gordon Brown’s hand written letter

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There’s something unusually unsavoury about the pursuit of Gordon Brown over his letter  to Guardsman Jamie Janes’ Mum, Jacqui.  A man of great moral strengths and some human weaknesses he’s the first to accept, he spends what must be an enormous amount of time over service casualties.  He feels the personal responsibility as deeply as any leader.. read more →

07 Nov 2009
November 7, 2009

Remembrance in Falkirk and Denny

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I’m privileged to be laying wreaths at remembrance day ceremonies in my constituency tomorrow – in Falkirk and Denny.  All politicians of all parties will be doing the same thing. It’s the only profound thing we do.  I’m looking at the wreaths now and just thinking about how this week serves as a reminder of how decent people are.   As the.. read more →

There’s an odd paradox at the centre of our present stance on the Taliban.  On the one hand, every minister, soldier, spokesman tells us that if the Taliban were once again involved in the governance of Afghanistan this would inevitably lead to the return of AQ there.  On the other hand, we are told that.. read more →

Two thoughts about Afghanistan.  Firstly (the media seemed to miss this) Kim Howell’s intervention in Westminster recently,was significant, and not just because he’s an ex-FCO minister but because he’s the present Chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee in Parliament.  By the way that’s the committee appointed not by parliament but by the prime minister.. read more →

Kim Howells told me about this Guardian piece while we were waiting in the division lobby. The key question for us all to consider now, is whether, what we are doing in Afghanistan is the best way of serving our UK interests.  Kim suggests not: he says we need to put more effort into what we.. read more →