Saturday, 30 May 2009

Move over darling

I've just moved this blog over to a new Wordpress site. Far better features. Will redirect the link in time (in between nappy changers) but until then click here to go to the new blog


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

I'm a slave to Ava

Still getting over yesterday's events. (Hope you enjoyed the Twitter feed - the Indie picked up on it.)

Nothing really prepares you for the birth of your first child. For the last nine months, I'd heard the same thing from every parent - it's life changing, it's life affirming (and from the Dad's a line spoken with a wearily knowing - even sadistic - tone - "Mate, you're life will NEVER be the same again. Get your sleep in NOW!")

But when I held little Ave Grace in my arms, I got it.

I, like any other man, have put myself first for the vast majority of my life. This changed when I met Roz but there was still an element of me, me, me.

But as soon as I looked into those little blue eyes, that selfishness disappeared like sunlight heralding the end of a long dark night.

My two ladies come before everything now.

I am just a nappy-changing, bottom-wiping, cash-dispensing slave.

And I'm loving every minute of it.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Good, the Nad and the Ugly

I've just been tying up the loose ends before going on paternity leave. I did a handover with my partner Alex before popping off to meet my CLP's ward organisers on the European Elections.

Roz has been a saint. She's getting very tired now but has worked so hard to get everything ready for the baby - three days and counting.

But while I was looking online for one of those collapseable prams featured on the Apprentice - we were at that Baby Show when they were filming the episode but were too busy to pop over - I caught up on the latest developments on expenses.

Seems Nadine Dorries is getting a hell of a kicking for yesterday's comments. Now I'm not her biggest fan. I thought she over-egged her victim status over Smeargate and was pretty petty over Gordon's apology letter.

I also thought comparing Expensegate to McCarthyism is pretty spurious - McCarthyism persecuted people's political beliefs not their financial arrangements. Blaming the Fees Office is also nothing but buck passing too.

But I find it remarkable that her blog has been taken down just because it criticizes the Telegraph's owners, the Barclay Brothers. Dizzy has the scoop.

So it's fair to day I don't agree with anything Nadine says. But I absolutely defend her write to say it on the net.

Whether her theory is true or not, is not really relevant. It's an opinion.

What does matter, is that the owners of a paper that has paid £350,000 to a 'whistleblower,' should then silence someone who speaks out against them. That's hypocrisy.

Surely it would have been better just to have left a comment on, or email, Nad's blog. She could then have referred to it, admit she was wrong or carry a clarification.

Blogs might at times run round rings round the dead tree press, but two things are very clear today.

Firstly, papers like the Telegraph are more than happy to dish it out but not so keen to take it.

And secondly, the mainstream media will always have the deepest pockets.

By the way, I predict quite a few more exposes on John Wick and his company tomorrow.

By his own admission in today's Telegraph Wick says: "Several former commissioners of the Metropolitan Police have served on the boards of my companies."

In the light of this, there are legitimate questions to be asked as to why the Met Police decided not to prosecute those who leaked the expenses.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad MP expenses were going to be published. What get's my goat is that someone has earned a third of a million pounds after hawking these discs around Fleet Street for the last two months and then has the gall to spin themselves as a noble whistleblower.

I think once people realise these expense claims were all going to come out in July anyway, they might start to see this for what it really is.

Handling stolen goods.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Go Third!

I still can't believe that a week today I'm going to be a dad.

These last few months have flown post so quickly. If I'm honest, setting up my business and Go Fourth has taken up a lot more of my time than I'd originally expected.

Spending the last Bank Holiday weekend driving around the north in a Transit Van with Les Dawson didn't exactly win me brownie points with Roz. And running last week's Wage Concern campaign meant a lot of late nights at work too.

But I've been working from home for the last couple of days, finishing the 'nest' and getting last minute baby booty.

I can't help thinking that I'm coming to the end of the first part of my life, where for the vast majority of it, I came first.

But from next Tuesday, I will Go Third - behind a very understanding wife and our beautiful child.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

It's not written in stone after all

Shame that the Stone Roses aren't reforming after all. The Mirror had raised all our hopes but Ian Brown and John Squire have both denied it.

But I love the way the guitarist-turned-artist denied the story - he photoshopped his statement onto a piece of his own art (see above.)


I suppose he's right. It would ruin their timeless appeal. So we'll have to make do with the albums and this hilarious cock-up on the old Late Show that summed up their attitude.


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Vote Mitchell

Alastair Campbell gave advice to Peggy Mitchell in her bid to stand for Walford Council.

Now Peggy has delivered a priceless response. And she's trumped Alastair too - by making it a vlog!

She'll be editing the New Statesman next!

Monday, 16 March 2009

A Hull of a Year (sorry)

I'm off running again. I did 10k yesterday - the first part of the London Marathon as I live in Greenwich.

I've been working quite late with Go Fourth and not been eating healthily. As such I've picked up what my mates in Hull describe as love panelling.

As I was running and wheezing round Woolwich I looked at the date on my watch and I realised it was a year to the day my last run ended.

I really can't believe it's been a year. It was a great experience but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. It took a good few weeks to get over it. Although defeat is something I've tasted for many years as a city supporter, it was still hard not to think of myself as a loser. It took over my life for the best part of six months.Roz was a saint dealing with me.

But looking back on the year that followed, I set up Go Fourth, delivered some great campaigns for my old consultancy, became Chair of Governors of my local secondary, set up my new company and more importantly became a dad to be (baby due on Phil Brown's 50th!)

So in looking back, I wasn't the loser I thought I was after all.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Attack of the Lib Dem Bloggers!

Just written my first blog post over on LabourList about Lib Dems plans to create an 'army of bloggers.'

I wonder if they'd look like this?

Sunday, 8 March 2009

When polls get axed

I've commissioned quite a few surveys in my time. It is after all one of the main weapons in the PR practitioner's arsenal.

They're used to highlight that public opinion either supports or opposes a particular issue of interest to your client, who are, of course, providing the 'answer.'

But sometimes, the pesky public doesn't play ball. A perfect example of this was the recent YouGov survey commissioned by the Labour pressure group Compass.

Now Compass totally objects to private investment into Royal Mail and have been running an effective campaign against Peter Mandelson's proposals.

So YouGov polled 911 Labour Party members to find out their views. The survey, paid for by email appeals from Compass to its supporters, was then published in The Guardian with the topline that the party membership were against 'part-privatisation' by three to one.

But the Mail on Sunday has revealed that a few of the questions and answers were left out - notably that Peter Mandelson - the 'Prince of Darkness' was more popular than the supposedly left-wing favourite Harriet Harman.

However, there's an even more interesting question and answer which has not been reported, though if you go to YouGov's site you can see the results in full.

When you're constructing a survey for maximum media 'pick-up,' you look to pose a question with a striking comparison - for example Daleks are more familiar to children than real animals.

Compass tried to do this by asking party members how where they would place three politicians on a left-right political barometer. The three people were Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Peter Mandelson.

It appears they were looking for a classic 'shock' result to show that party members thought Mandelson was more right wing than the Tory leader and therefore his actions as Business Secretary were being perceived as that of a right wing Conservative.

Accept it didn't work out that way. Here's the full result:

In politics, people sometimes talk about parties and politicians as being on the left
or right. Using the scale below, where would you place each of the following on that

Where would you place yourself on this scale?
Very left-wing 11
Fairly left-wing 35
Slightly left-of-centre 32
Centre 14
Slightly right-of-centre 3
Fairly right-wing 1
Very right-wing 1
Don’t know 5

And where would you place Gordon Brown the Prime Minister?
Very left-wing 2
Fairly left-wing 14
Slightly left-of-centre 43
Centre 20
Slightly right-of-centre 9
Fairly right-wing 4
Very right-wing 1
Don’t know 5

Where would you place David Cameron, the Conservative leader?
Very left-wing 1
Fairly left-wing 1
Slightly left-of-centre 4
Centre 7
Slightly right-of-centre 19
Fairly right-wing 36
Very right-wing 26
Don’t know 8

Where would you place Lord (Peter) Mandelson, the Business Secretary?
Very left-wing 1
Fairly left-wing 6
Slightly left-of-centre 25
Centre 29
Slightly right-of-centre 19
Fairly right-wing 8
Very right-wing 3
Don’t know 10

The problem is, when you choose to be selective in the the survey results you publish, you're then open to accusations of censorship.

My advice would have been that Compass should have made all the results public, even if they were buried away in the Notes to Editors section of a press release or on their website.

That's the problem with the public - they have an annoying habit of thinking for themselves!