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Alastair Campbell: Live webchat Monday 14 October, 1.45 - 2.45pm

(210 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 12-Oct-13 23:14:17

Alastair Campbell will be joining us at MNTowers on MONDAY 14th OCTOBER between 1.45 and 2.45pm, where he'll be answering questions and telling us about his latest novel My Name Is...

Alastair is a writer, communicator and strategist best known for his role as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's spokesman, press secretary and director of communications and strategy. Still active in Labour politics, he now splits his time between writing, speaking, charitable fundraising, politics and campaigns.

My Name Is..., tells the story of a young girl's descent into alcoholism and the impact it has on those around her. The voices of Hannah's family, friends and professionals shed a sometimes shocking, sometimes tender light on a life veering terrifyingly off course.

Come and chat to Alastair TODAY at 1.45pm or post a question in advance on this thread.

noddyholder Sat 12-Oct-13 23:52:27

Hi you absolutely have my dream job. But my question is unrelated ( I think!) What made you go to the Britney concert?

Rowlers Sun 13-Oct-13 00:15:10

Hello Alistair.
I always enjoy listening to you and find myself nodding in agreement to almost everything you say.
I am a Labour supporter and always will be. However, I am worried about the abilities of the current Labour mob. I don't see any natural and convincing heavyweight intellectuals needed for strong and effective government.
Do you think David Milliband would have filled this gap and will he ever be persuaded to try again?

TensionSquealsGhoulsHeels Sun 13-Oct-13 00:15:58

I have no question yet, just marking my place...

Rowlers Sun 13-Oct-13 00:22:18

Soz Alastair not Alistair!
(By the way MN think it's descent and not decent.)

PetiteRaleuse Sun 13-Oct-13 01:34:17

I have heaps of questions. But the main one is why do you think you are so well placed to criticise the press when, honestly, you spent part of your career trying to get them to say what you wanted? I'm sure you have a great answer to that.

Love your blog, your books and love watching you speak on TV and practically salivate at the idea of a Campbell vs Dacre debate.

Another one. Watched you on Le Grand Journal in France where you answered the questions in French. Was that scary? You did so well smile

timidviper Sun 13-Oct-13 01:47:26

Alastair. Do you despair of modern politicians generally? I just have no confidence in any of them.
When I watch tv shows about the 70s and 80s I am struck by the passion in them on all sides and think many people are becoming apathetic about politics. Do you think people are less involved than they should be and is there is a solution to this?

At the risk of gushing can I just say, as somebody who has mental health issues and alcoholism in their family, I really admire you for your openness and support on this. There are very few successful men who are so honest.

moondog Sun 13-Oct-13 03:05:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

RippingYarns Sun 13-Oct-13 07:52:36

Hi Alastair

Did you watch The Thick of It, and if so, was it as popular with MPs as Yes, Minister was?

tethersend Sun 13-Oct-13 08:48:50

Hi Alastair

Just so you know, I would. Repeatedly.

PetiteRaleuse Sun 13-Oct-13 10:56:44

Sorry, another question, do you feel McBride's remorse re his actions as a spindoctor is genuine?

ButThereAgain Sun 13-Oct-13 12:05:11

Are you here to look for Dacre? I know you've looked everywhere else, and mumsnet is a good place to hide.

More seriously, what can be done about the lack of committment to truth and analysis in major parts of the press? Regulation isn't the answer to a newspaper that is prepared to call price control in a highly regulated market 'Marxist' at the same time as denouncing the Marxism of an honorable and loyal asylum seeker as pure evil treachery. How can an even moderately left-of-centre party withstand that without capitulating in the manner of Blair?

ironman Sun 13-Oct-13 12:28:43

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Sun 13-Oct-13 12:29:00

Were you taught piping as a child and do you still play the pipes?
Which is your favourite pipe tune and why?

BIWI Cote D'Ivoire Sun 13-Oct-13 14:45:06

Welcome to Mumsnet! I'm interested that you chose to use a female character for your book. Why did you do that, rather than a male? Did you find it hard to write from a female perspective?

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Sun 13-Oct-13 15:01:48

Hi there,
I know you are here to talk about you book, but can I just ask a question about mental health?

I have recently started volunteering for the Time to Change group.
with all your experience of getting messages out there and heard what advice would you give groups like this about breaking down the stigma and discrimination related to mental health issues?

Thanks from a MN'er with PTSD and depression

Merguez Sun 13-Oct-13 15:02:27

What can we do about the Daily Mail?

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:04:39

* flicks hair*
You can spin me any time Alistair.

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:05:09

and anywhere.

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:05:28

* oh fuckit *

and anyhow

noddyholder Sun 13-Oct-13 15:12:51

grin I had to stop myself tbh not quite sure but he does seem to light fires

oh, I would too.

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:18:47

Right
lets change this webchat to

WHEN

WHERE

and HOW grin

<fans self>
<pops top button>

I can't imagine this happening with any of the Tories. Michael Gove anyone?

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:30:40

stop it right there - although i had a freaky dream he was in bed with me. at the back of a lecture theatre. Eric and Ernie style.
I have not slept since for fear of Part II

Dear God. I'd be popping the Pro Plus like there was no tomorrow.

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:34:48

obv i hate Gove , but i never thought I obsessed about him. strange.

back to Al

Pinupgirl Sun 13-Oct-13 15:35:21

Thanks for joining us on mn.

My question is-

How did your long term partner feel when you spoke in nauseating detail about your crush on Princess Diana?

PervCat Sun 13-Oct-13 15:35:34

i have a question

Alistair - what do you NOT care about? what do you think "meh - don't give a toss".. There must be something

mignonette Sun 13-Oct-13 15:59:08

Hi Alistair

Am sure I have some heavyweight Political questions somewhere in my brain and as a RMN I also appreciate any person in the public eye who speaks of their own MH issues and I could (and should) ask you something to do with that.

However I will go for the low and ask you if you wear a Kilt, what do you wear under it?

mignonette Sun 13-Oct-13 16:00:02

PS Michael Gove looks like a Tiny Tears Doll that has been left too close to a fire. I so would not.

mignonette grin

Alastair
Do you have any regrets regarding your political career? Do you ever look back and think 'I could have handled that better / done it differently?'

Meglet England Sun 13-Oct-13 18:19:23

Hi Alistair.

Are you still running regularly? I will be reading this web chat while eating biscuits after my feeble 30 min run.

And thank you for speaking out about mental health issues smile.

LordElpuz Sun 13-Oct-13 18:50:48

Do you regret autographing a copy of the Hutton report into the death of Dr David Kelly and auctioning it? Do you and Cherie Blair still think it was a hoot?

domesticslattern Sun 13-Oct-13 19:31:18

I enjoyed the piece you recorded for the British Library exhibition on propaganda recently, it was fascinating.
I wanted to ask what you thought of the current Conservative party PR machine, especially the phrase hard-working people. Is their propaganda working, in your view? Is it stronger than current Labour party efforts?

ButThereAgain Sun 13-Oct-13 19:59:58

That is a good question, slattern. The tories seem to have framed the narratives of politics again and again since the banking collapse, leaving Labour running behind trying to say "Yes, we think that too, but with caveats ..."

There are so many complex, contestable claims expressed by the govt as simple homilies, which the public seems to accept as truistic. Things like "The deficit is due to too much spending on welfare," "A recession is the time for govt to spend less not more," etc. etc. To make any progress with public opinion Labour has to unpick those claims, get people to listen to detailed rebuttal, and of course there is so little space in our dysfunctional media for detailed nuanced political points to be heard.

Why is it that Labour is always, always on the defensive in this way? It never works. What would it take for them to be able to go on the offensive and try to forge new, leftist, truisms, a new default point for public opinion, instead of working with the right's narratives?

mawbroon Sun 13-Oct-13 20:13:46

Hi Alastair, I was going to ask which is your favourite pipe tune, but I see ArtisanLentilWeaver has beat me to it!

ArtisanLentilWeaver Sun 13-Oct-13 20:26:18

Great minds think alike, mawbroon grin

JustBecauseICan Sun 13-Oct-13 20:39:02

I am going to ask the question I asked Ed Miliband. He didn't answer me....(even though am a card carrier wink)

There are loads and loads of wonderful, local, grassroots activists still in the Labour movement. My home town, ex mining town in Notts, has a tradition of entire generations of dyed in the wool Labour families sitting on the town council and Doing Good Stuff. Why aren't these people encouraged by the Labour executives to go into national politics.. (where they might come across as far more genuine and therefore votable-for than the booted and suited career politicians that we've had since, well, since Neil Kinnock left the house really)......is it because it's feared they wouldn't be spinny enough grin and seem a bit straw in their ears compared to the Etonians on the other side of the fence? What do the suits in London really think about the provinces?

PS I really enjoyed your diaries. <now you'll have to answer me>

OddSockMonster Sun 13-Oct-13 20:57:18

If you were to jack in politics and writing and all that and take up a trade (e.g. plumbing, roofing, etc.) what would it be?

Merguez Sun 13-Oct-13 21:05:08

Hmmmm...

Poor Alastair is here to plug his new novel.

But no-one seems interested in asking about that. Hope he isn't going to do a Gok on us .....

Loving some of the other questions though. Will be watching with interest to see how the consummate comms specialist makes this work for him.

Herhonesty Sun 13-Oct-13 21:15:33

Why aren't there more women in politics? Do you think your style (and that of the current generation) has served to put up further barriers to women entering and surviving the Westminster snake pit (spin,counter spin, spin over spin) ....

For whoever asked about The Slithy Gove here I was asked about Alastair, but couldn't find a funny enough picture of him so he didn't feature (bet he's gutted about that).

My question is how hard was it for you to write 'My Name Is...' as a recovering alcoholic yourself, especially if you spoke to family and friends about your/their experience?

And although I don't always agree with, or always like you very much (sorry!), your description of your breakdown as 'a pane of glass, shattering in every direction' has stayed with me, especially in light of my own experiences of depression and attempted suicide. So for that (and for the fab Newsnight interview), I do want to say a heartfelt thank you.

Oh, that's spot on sadeyedlady grin

Mrsdeen Sun 13-Oct-13 21:54:35

You once smiled at me and said hello when I passed you on the street. I was having a shitty day and you cheered me up so thank you smile

<smiles winningly at MissBeehiving>

<arf> AC is so not a feathery stroker though grin

PelvicFloorClenchReminder Sun 13-Oct-13 22:14:42

What I want to know is, do you really have five humps, or are you a horse?

I was very nice about him on some forum or other. So I was gutted not to find an appropriate photo.

Pelvic I really did have to think about that (dur). Now sniggering like a 13yo boy.

themottledcat Sun 13-Oct-13 22:37:27

I saw you at the Cheltenham Literary Festival with Anne Robinson on Fri eve, which was very entertaining and you didn't disappoint.....smile

When I got home I really wished I had been brave enough to ask a question but was too scared, so here goes......any likelihood of you putting yourself up to be an MP? Would you be interested in doing that?I think you would be fab

themottledcat Sun 13-Oct-13 22:41:42

Sorry, didn't realise this is about your novel...shouldn't have asked inappropriate question, but will be reading the book.

OddSockMonster Sun 13-Oct-13 22:55:16

PelvicFloorClenchReminder brilliant question. A friend's little DD sings that, it's great!

mignonette Sun 13-Oct-13 22:59:20

What objective research did you do for your book outside of your own experiences, that is.

Bearing in mind the appalling level of service provision for people w/ alcohol issues in the UK(that sadly predates the current acting, non elected Government, do you think the extension of opening hours for establishments selling alcohol was a mistake? Do you think that the British psyche is basically unsuited to 'Continental style' drinking?

Cut me in half and you'd find Labour stamped through like a stick of rock but services for alcoholics are scanty and poorly resourced. Disappointed w/ Labour's actions re alcohol.

drawsofdrawers Mon 14-Oct-13 00:06:57

Hi Alastair. Looking forward to reading the new book!

1. What issues do you think local labour activists should be talking about on the doorstep in the run up to the local and national elections?

2. Any advice for an aspiring senior pr/strategist? (My sister does this at a junior level and thinks you are fab)

3. You're not married. What surname do your kids have and how did you decide which one to go for?

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 00:14:06

Hi Alastair

Can you share a confidence tip for those of us who have lost out 'mojo'? Genuine question as I like your self assuredness. Tks smile

BumgrapesofWrath Mon 14-Oct-13 00:31:54

Hello Alastair

Can I say that I thoroughly enjoyed your run-in with Adam Boulton after the election? It really does make me smile...

My question is:-
Having read the synopsis of your book, I am concerned that it may be a bit downbeat and a little bit too "close to home" (my father has alcohol issues.) Can you tell me why I should read it?

(I really want to ask about whether you find the comparison to Malcolm Tucker flattering, but I'm sure you get asked that all the time!)

Butwilliseeyouagain Mon 14-Oct-13 03:45:26

Do you feel you were being a little transparent when you said you watched In the Loop and it was rubbish?

MrJudgeyPants Mon 14-Oct-13 07:44:30

With ever more politicians following the private school, Oxbridge PPE, career politician route, is politics in danger of losing relevance with the electorate?

LadyStark Argentina Mon 14-Oct-13 08:10:25

Given the work you do for alcohol concern as well as more general awareness raising on issues relating to alcohol, why do you work for a lobbying firm that represents alcohol companies? It really seems at odds.

LonelyGoatherd Mon 14-Oct-13 09:18:20

Who would win in a fight, you or Tucker?

Look forward to reading the book <simpers>

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 09:22:22

TALKING FIGHTS
lets settle the old Popbitch one - who would win - badger or baboon?

and why

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 10:50:25

Alastair, what did you think of Borgen, if you watched it that is.,?

tripethelightfantastic Mon 14-Oct-13 11:34:28

Hullo Alastair,

Did you have much say in the design of your book jacket? I only ask because I was quite surprised by it, as it reminds me of a Jodi Picoult cover, which seems quite unlike you. But of course I could be completely misunderstanding your writing wink

Thanks for coming to Mumsnet!

NotEnoughTime Mon 14-Oct-13 11:37:00

Hi Alastair

Welcome to Mumsnet!

In your personal experience do you think your depression caused the alcoholism or the other way around?

Do you live in fear that one will trigger the other?

Thank you.

Good luck with your book. I have just ordered it-it looks very good creepblush

Hello Alastair

Are there any qualities/virtues that you wish you saw more of in the influential circles in which you move? And do you think the lack of these qualities is attributable to poor parenting, or is it just tough to be 'good' at the top?

Good luck with the book and thank you for giving us time.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 14-Oct-13 13:38:58

so looking forward to this

JustineMumsnet Belgium (MNHQ) Mon 14-Oct-13 13:40:47

Alistair Campbell is in the building and be will get going soon.

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 14-Oct-13 13:41:16

eeek

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:42:08

Hello, I am at Mumsnet Towers. Loads of good questions already. More welcome. Will get through as many as possible. Btw just got stopped by someone at Leicester Sq tube who said 'please send a coded message to my wife saying she is on there too long and too often.' Hello

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:44:31

NotEnoughTime

Hi Alastair

Welcome to Mumsnet!

In your personal experience do you think your depression caused the alcoholism or the other way around?

Do you live in fear that one will trigger the other?

Thank you.

Good luck with your book. I have just ordered it-it looks very good creepblush

Alcohol is a depressive, so it gives a lift and then a fall. I thought I had dealt with my depression in 1986 when I stopped drinking but alas not. So I have concluded my depression just is, and my various addictions are a way of dealing with that. Thanks re the book. I really hope it makes a difference in getting a debate going about alcohol. we are living in denial. Ps watch C4 9pm tonight

I have a very good feeling about this.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:45:04

LonelyGoatherd

Who would win in a fight, you or Tucker?

Look forward to reading the book <simpers>

Me

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 13:45:22

No party has taxed mumsnet at least, yet! Good clean free fun here, Alastair. Well not necessarily clean grin

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:46:58

JustBecauseICan

I am going to ask the question I asked Ed Miliband. He didn't answer me....(even though am a card carrier wink)

There are loads and loads of wonderful, local, grassroots activists still in the Labour movement. My home town, ex mining town in Notts, has a tradition of entire generations of dyed in the wool Labour families sitting on the town council and Doing Good Stuff. Why aren't these people encouraged by the Labour executives to go into national politics.. (where they might come across as far more genuine and therefore votable-for than the booted and suited career politicians that we've had since, well, since Neil Kinnock left the house really)......is it because it's feared they wouldn't be spinny enough grin and seem a bit straw in their ears compared to the Etonians on the other side of the fence? What do the suits in London really think about the provinces?

PS I really enjoyed your diaries. <now you'll have to answer me>

i think all politicians could do a better job of engaging with their local parties, but equally I think the public should stop buying the relentless media negativity about MPs. The vast bulk are OK

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:48:03

pickofthepops

Alastair, what did you think of Borgen, if you watched it that is.,?

Loved it. I met the PM and the spin doctor Kesper in Denmark last year and at the weekend was with Kesper at the Cheltenham festival. He has really caught the political bug

Hey Alastair, thanks for coming on smile

Wanted to ask you, as a poacher turned gamekeeper, what you thought of the proposed royal charter on press regulation? Boris Johnson called it a "monstrous folly" today - do you agree?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:51:42

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood

Hi there,
I know you are here to talk about you book, but can I just ask a question about mental health?

I have recently started volunteering for the Time to Change group.
with all your experience of getting messages out there and heard what advice would you give groups like this about breaking down the stigma and discrimination related to mental health issues?

Thanks from a MN'er with PTSD and depression

I think people have to find their own way of campaigning on this, just as people have to find their own way of dealing with mental illness. Some people really do not want to go public with their issues, others actively want to and I think that will dictate what kind of campaigning you do. But I am sure the Time to Change campaign is having an impact. Look at how quickly we managed to persuade Asda and Tesco to drop those offensive Halloween suits.

TerrorTremor Mon 14-Oct-13 13:52:18

Hi Alastair,

What current labour MPs are under the radar and we should be looking out for (I mean that have just started up, but you think will be important politically in the future?)

Thanks if you answer the question.

PervCat Mon 14-Oct-13 13:52:59

swoon

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 13:53:12

I don't think I've got the hang of this live webchat thing, or hasn't it started yet.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:53:14

LoveAndSqualor

Hey Alastair, thanks for coming on smile

Wanted to ask you, as a poacher turned gamekeeper, what you thought of the proposed royal charter on press regulation? Boris Johnson called it a "monstrous folly" today - do you agree?

No, I don't. The press are telling a pack of lies about the proposals. All this talk about 'state regulation' and 'politicians deciding what you read.' They are lies. Leveson proposed an independent self regulator and that is what the charter would set up. The press is operating and reporting as a vested interest and Boris Johnson is part of that vested interest

NeverKnowinglyUnderstood Mon 14-Oct-13 13:54:57

thanks Alistair
I was thinking more widely than my personal involvement.
Fortunately I have only had positive, kind responses. I do know others that have suffered so much from opinion as well as illness.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:55:33

Herhonesty

Why aren't there more women in politics? Do you think your style (and that of the current generation) has served to put up further barriers to women entering and surviving the Westminster snake pit (spin,counter spin, spin over spin) ....

The only time there was a real increase in women in Parliament was in 1997 when we changed the system and the rules to make it happen. we need to do it again. I don't think the macho style thing helps, true, but another factor perhaps is that the only woman PM we ever had did not feel she had responsibility to increase women's representation. If anything she rather liked being in such a minority

TerrorTremor Mon 14-Oct-13 13:55:48

Hang on just realised I am talking about the wrong topic.

I completely apologize.

Proper question: Can you tell us what gave you the strength and courage to conquer your addiction and what advice would you give to those who want to change who are addicted?

Again thanks for answering if you do smile

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:57:15

CogitoErgoMum

Hello Alastair

Are there any qualities/virtues that you wish you saw more of in the influential circles in which you move? And do you think the lack of these qualities is attributable to poor parenting, or is it just tough to be 'good' at the top?

Good luck with the book and thank you for giving us time.

Courage. I think too many people are influenced by their immediate environment rather than what they really believe. Not sure about the parenting point. It is certainly tough for people who get to the top in politics but that is why it is rightly quite a tough process to get there

HatticusFinch Mon 14-Oct-13 13:57:17

Hi Alastair,

Does the constant use of the phrase "Hardworking People/Families" wind you up as much as it does me?

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 13:59:11

Who wins in an argument at home, you or your wife?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 13:59:17

tripethelightfantastic

Hullo Alastair,

Did you have much say in the design of your book jacket? I only ask because I was quite surprised by it, as it reminds me of a Jodi Picoult cover, which seems quite unlike you. But of course I could be completely misunderstanding your writing wink

Thanks for coming to Mumsnet!

It was designed by a guy called Richard Ogle, but yes I do have input. I invented the girl, Hannah, and had a fair idea what she looked like, and so I was pleased with the look he took out of the words. The book is about Hannah but every chapter is written by a different person impacted by her drinking as it spirals out of control

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:02:24

PetiteRaleuse

I have heaps of questions. But the main one is why do you think you are so well placed to criticise the press when, honestly, you spent part of your career trying to get them to say what you wanted? I'm sure you have a great answer to that.

Love your blog, your books and love watching you speak on TV and practically salivate at the idea of a Campbell vs Dacre debate.

Another one. Watched you on Le Grand Journal in France where you answered the questions in French. Was that scary? You did so well smile

Maybe because I am one of a fairly small number of people who has seen the top of journalism and the top of politics from close up. And it is partly the journalist in me that hates what has happened to so much of our journalism, particularly the systematic strategic dishonesty of papers using their platforms to push their own political and commercial views, all the time claiming to be speaking for their readers. I don't imagine we shall see much coverage of the poll out today showing widespread support for the new plans for regulation.
I love speaking French

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:04:41

BumgrapesofWrath

Hello Alastair

Can I say that I thoroughly enjoyed your run-in with Adam Boulton after the election? It really does make me smile...

My question is:-
Having read the synopsis of your book, I am concerned that it may be a bit downbeat and a little bit too "close to home" (my father has alcohol issues.) Can you tell me why I should read it?

(I really want to ask about whether you find the comparison to Malcolm Tucker flattering, but I'm sure you get asked that all the time!)

It certainly will be close to home, though perhaps the choice of a teenage girl as the heroine will provide a bit of distance. I just feel that all of us, drinkers and non drinkers, need to face up to the damage booze is doing to us as a country. I hope you do read it, and I hope that as well as bringing back bad memories, it might also help you understand better. It is totally non judgemental about Hannah. It just is

PetiteRaleuse Mon 14-Oct-13 14:04:53

Thank you. What do you think when Dacre goes on about the Mail speaking for its readers? That can't be right can it? <worried>

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:05:15

Which newspaper do you read regularly?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:05:43

mehereandnow

Who wins in an argument at home, you or your wife?

We are not married (33 years and still going). I would say almost always her, but she would say on big life changing things, me. We are both quite strong and determined in argument

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:07:12

LadyStark

Given the work you do for alcohol concern as well as more general awareness raising on issues relating to alcohol, why do you work for a lobbying firm that represents alcohol companies? It really seems at odds.

i think they sometimes think the inverse - given we pay you to work for us, why do you campaign against the interests of our clients? The answer is that I work as an advisor to Portland on strategy, and directly advise some of their clients, but I am also free to pursue my own campaigns.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:09:07

SunshineSuperNova

mignonette grin

Alastair
Do you have any regrets regarding your political career? Do you ever look back and think 'I could have handled that better / done it differently?'

I sometimes think - in fact I often think - I should stand for Parliament myself, but the last time I was full on in frontline politics, it was a pretty draining and damaging experience for me and my family, so though I am pleased I did it, I am not sure I would want to do it all over again. I also regret that my relations with parts of the media became as bad as they did, but I genuinely do think that was down to them changing, not me

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:10:33

Merguez

What can we do about the Daily Mail?

1. don't read it. 2. if you see someone reading it, offer them heroin or another poison substitute. 3. If it is handed to you on a plane or in a shop, tear it up and hand it back. 4. sign my change.org/Dacredebate challenge

BOF Mon 14-Oct-13 14:10:38

Did you enjoy your teaching experience?

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:11:23

Do you think Beckhams's alleged crush on Cherie was reciprocated? wink

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:11:45

mehereandnow

Which newspaper do you read regularly?

I still get the Labour Party media monitoring report which gives me a flavour of all the papers. We get the Guardian because Fiona has a column in it (today as it happens) and the FT because I like the foreign coverage

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:13:39

LordElpuz

Do you regret autographing a copy of the Hutton report into the death of Dr David Kelly and auctioning it? Do you and Cherie Blair still think it was a hoot?

I can see why people thought it insensitive, but the Labour Party does have to raise funds and someone had specifically stated they would make a large donation for it. I would also point out that despite the continuing reporting to the contrary, the report cleared me of all allegations against me

Rowlers Mon 14-Oct-13 14:14:34

Another question seeing as you've been on HIGNFY a few times:
Ian Hislop - an astute, intelligent, witty and agreable man or irritating, sanctimonious, know-it-all pillock?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:16:00

BIWI

Welcome to Mumsnet! I'm interested that you chose to use a female character for your book. Why did you do that, rather than a male? Did you find it hard to write from a female perspective?

I rather surprised myself with that. I was encouraged by Anne Robinson and Celia Walden who had read my previous novels and liked the women characters. I did find myself at times thinking differently to how I might normally. As to the specific reason why I focused on a young woman alcoholic, it is because there has been a significant shift in the numbers of women drinking to dangerous excess.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:16:49

pickofthepops

Do you think Beckhams's alleged crush on Cherie was reciprocated? wink

Yes. I don't think she was alone. I can remember when the England squad came to Downing Street and the usual 'no photos by staff' rule just broke down

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:17:37

Rowlers

Another question seeing as you've been on HIGNFY a few times:
Ian Hislop - an astute, intelligent, witty and agreable man or irritating, sanctimonious, know-it-all pillock?

delete 'agreeable.' everything else stands

mignonette Mon 14-Oct-13 14:18:24

Alongside Wally Lamb I do think you have an ability to capture the Female perspective.

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:18:58

Thanks for answering. Would love if you'd answer this one too.. Noel Gallagher - funny and relevant or not?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:19:16

BOF

Did you enjoy your teaching experience?

do you mean the real one (in France 35 years ago, as an assistant d'anglais)? Or the Jamie's Dream School experience on TV. I enjoyed both, for different reasons. The Dream School experience made me respect teachers even more than I do, which is a lot. And it also strengthened my view that if kids are given real support and opportunity, they will take it

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:19:26

If it wasn't, pickofthepops, I bet it is now!

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:21:22

Hmm Tone seems to have upped his game a bit lately, maybe sees Becks as a threat. Perhaps he will go for an ad campaign and we will see close ups of his y fronts on buses too.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:21:40

TerrorTremor

Hang on just realised I am talking about the wrong topic.

I completely apologize.

Proper question: Can you tell us what gave you the strength and courage to conquer your addiction and what advice would you give to those who want to change who are addicted?

Again thanks for answering if you do smile

the honest answer is that I hit rock bottom, I was arrested for my own safety and then hospitalised and I realised in myself that if I did not face up to my drinking, I was going to lose everything that mattered to me. Once I had made that decision, I cannot say it was easy, but at least it was the first big step. The novel is about the descent into alcoholism, and everyone wants to help and thinks they can, but it is ultimately down to the decision of the person who is the problem drinker.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:22:57

PervCat

i have a question

Alistair - what do you NOT care about? what do you think "meh - don't give a toss".. There must be something

who wins X Factor. what happens in Downton Abbey. Who is on Strictly.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:24:32

noddyholder

Hi you absolutely have my dream job. But my question is unrelated ( I think!) What made you go to the Britney concert?

two things. 1. my daughter, and 2, I like Britney. I almost bumped into her earlier today when she was in at the London radio studios in Trafalgar Square. But they say you should never meet your heroes (that is kind of a joke)

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:25:07

Do you think Diane Abbott would make a good Mayor of London?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:25:32

Meglet

Hi Alistair.

Are you still running regularly? I will be reading this web chat while eating biscuits after my feeble 30 min run.

And thank you for speaking out about mental health issues smile.

Not at the moment, because I had dysentery a few weeks ago and am still not hundred percent. But I run or cycle most days when fit. I have to say my love of the bike has overtaken the love of running

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:27:17

HatticusFinch

Hi Alastair,

Does the constant use of the phrase "Hardworking People/Families" wind you up as much as it does me?

no. I think it conveys a sense of who the politicians have in mind, and that is not a bad thing. The phrase that I can't stand at the moment is 'top priority' because DC seems to have a different one every time he speaks. It was dealing with booze at one point, and his alcohol strategy was actually quite good, but he has dropped it under pressure from the industry and colleagues

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:27:57

Lol. Well Tone certainly has a lot of front!

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:28:39

OddSockMonster

If you were to jack in politics and writing and all that and take up a trade (e.g. plumbing, roofing, etc.) what would it be?

I am totally impractical so none of those. I could just about be a chauffeur, but would have to call out the RAC in the event of a puncture, or the car not starting

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:29:16

mehereandnow

Do you think Diane Abbott would make a good Mayor of London?

No.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 14:30:25

What do you think of the German political system? Have we anything to learn from them?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:31:59

pickofthepops

Hi Alastair

Can you share a confidence tip for those of us who have lost out 'mojo'? Genuine question as I like your self assuredness. Tks smile

Benjamin Franklin ... fail to prepare and you are preparing to fail... IN other words, think things through in advance. Ask yourself the hard questions before anyone else has even thought of them

icebees Mon 14-Oct-13 14:32:16

If Scotland votes 'yes' in 2014, does the balance of power in England stay forever with the Tories?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:33:51

Rowlers

Hello Alistair.
I always enjoy listening to you and find myself nodding in agreement to almost everything you say.
I am a Labour supporter and always will be. However, I am worried about the abilities of the current Labour mob. I don't see any natural and convincing heavyweight intellectuals needed for strong and effective government.
Do you think David Milliband would have filled this gap and will he ever be persuaded to try again?

I think David has been a terrific politician but is now in the States doing a very different job and will do it brilliantly. I hope the shadow cabinet reshuffle leads to an energizing of the party in Parliament and in the country. It is hard because our media focuses ever more on leaders but politics is a team game and the whole shadow cabinet and PLP needs to be more active and visible

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:34:36

Gasp! This is Mumsnet. You can't diss Strictly! What happened to the woman's perspective in you, Alistair?

Though I can't stand the Mail - I was sort of disappointed that it caused such a furore recently re. Ed Miliband's dad. It was disgusting obviously- but The Sun has had an almost naked woman posing submissively for 40 years and there's been precious little said by politicians about it and personally I think The Sun is just as bad as The Mail. I think The Sun's idea that page 3 is a bit of harmless fun is one of the biggest cons out there.

I've seen you in your NMP3 t shirt smile

Will The Sun give up Page 3? Can you ask Tony to have a word with Rupert about it?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:35:23

icebees

If Scotland votes 'yes' in 2014, does the balance of power in England stay forever with the Tories?

If Scotland votes yes, all sorts of things will change. The political balance in England would certainly tilt short term. It is also worth reflecting on the possibility that there would be moves at the UN to strip us of our membership of the Permanent Five on the Security Council. One of many reasons I hope people vote No

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:37:01

BoffinMum

What do you think of the German political system? Have we anything to learn from them?

We can certainly learn a lot from the Germans - they have a better media, a more mature politics in many ways, and a better educated general public. But just as their political system emerged from their history, so ours has emerged from our history. even a leader as successful as Merkel is expected to govern in coalition, which suits them, but might not suit us so well

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 14:38:25

Thanks for answering my question. I have another one MNetters might want to know. Do you watch Borgen, and if so, how realistic a depiction of political life do you think it is?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:38:38

mehereandnow

Gasp! This is Mumsnet. You can't diss Strictly! What happened to the woman's perspective in you, Alistair?

the woman's perspective is in my novel, My Name Is - 'stunning' (THe Times) 'gripping' (Telegraph) -- about an issue that matters, namely women's drinking! I was asked to go on Strictly, and took fully half a second to say no!

makemineatripple Mon 14-Oct-13 14:38:40

Hi Alistair

Who would you most like and least like, to be stuck in a lift with?.....

icebees Mon 14-Oct-13 14:38:46

Thanks for replying. Women voters appear to still be the most undecided group up here and I think a lot are wresting with the self determination and the hope of a fairer society vs abandoning our many allies south if the border who wish for change too. I just wish the No campaign would engage better. At the moment the Yes campaign seems to consistently have the upper hand.

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 14:40:14

<arf> at the thought of Alistair in Strictly. gringrin

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:40:34

SauceForTheGander

Though I can't stand the Mail - I was sort of disappointed that it caused such a furore recently re. Ed Miliband's dad. It was disgusting obviously- but The Sun has had an almost naked woman posing submissively for 40 years and there's been precious little said by politicians about it and personally I think The Sun is just as bad as The Mail. I think The Sun's idea that page 3 is a bit of harmless fun is one of the biggest cons out there.

I've seen you in your NMP3 t shirt smile

Will The Sun give up Page 3? Can you ask Tony to have a word with Rupert about it?

Yes, I support the campaign. I must confess when I was on the Mirror in the 80s I couldn't really see the problem, but my daughter has changed my mind. I think there is a really interesting new wave of feminism that her generation is driving, and I support it. The basic view is that women of my generation fought for and won new laws, but that the basic culture remains one of inequality

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:40:46

Seriously I have no idea who to vote for. I'm cursed whichever lifestyle decisions I take I'm scuppered by the government of the time.

pollycazalet Mon 14-Oct-13 14:41:31

Which Tory mps do you admire?

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 14:42:05

I am going to be cheeky and ask a final one. Sorry MNHQ. Alistair, do you ever think something like the PiratenPartei would take off in the UK? (Admittedly we will ignore its recent performance in the German elections).

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:44:00

sadeyedladyofthelowlandsea

For whoever asked about The Slithy Gove here I was asked about Alastair, but couldn't find a funny enough picture of him so he didn't feature (bet he's gutted about that).

My question is how hard was it for you to write 'My Name Is...' as a recovering alcoholic yourself, especially if you spoke to family and friends about your/their experience?

And although I don't always agree with, or always like you very much (sorry!), your description of your breakdown as 'a pane of glass, shattering in every direction' has stayed with me, especially in light of my own experiences of depression and attempted suicide. So for that (and for the fab Newsnight interview), I do want to say a heartfelt thank you.

It was hard to write it at times, but also very cathartic. I was in tears at various points. For some of the key scenes, I went out to the place where it was set - Hannah's flat in Islington for example - and sat outside in the cold and the dark plonking away on a blackberry or ipad. There is no doubt a lot of my own descent into problem drinking in there and it fits one of my golden rules in life, which is always try to get good out of bad.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:46:37

pollycazalet

Which Tory mps do you admire?

I quite admire the way William Hague has reinvented himself as Foreign Secretary, having been one of several leaders seen off by TB. I like Charles Walker and Sarah Wollaston, who both spoke of their own mental health issues in a Parliamentary debate last year. Sarah has also spoken out in favour of the campaign I took to the Tory and Labour conferences to bring in minimum unit pricing on alcohol and improve treatment rates for alcoholics

BoffinMum Mon 14-Oct-13 14:47:12

Got to go to a meeting now, but thank you Alistair for coming on, I have really enjoyed your webchat.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:47:27

MrJudgeyPants

With ever more politicians following the private school, Oxbridge PPE, career politician route, is politics in danger of losing relevance with the electorate?

yes. And as someone who is ex Oxbridge, may I say I am not convinced it is all it is cracked up to be

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:48:09

Did he leave early??

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:48:32

BoffinMum

Thanks for answering my question. I have another one MNetters might want to know. Do you watch Borgen, and if so, how realistic a depiction of political life do you think it is?

Yes I do, and I think it is realistic in the portrayal of family and political pressures combining

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:49:42

Caught up now.... not casting nasturtiums.

GrippingArms Mon 14-Oct-13 14:49:51

Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this one for an entirely different reason to one last week.

Thanks very much, Alastair.

Rowlers Mon 14-Oct-13 14:50:06

Thank you Alastair for coming on and answering our questions. Good luck with the book.

pollycazalet Mon 14-Oct-13 14:50:30

Thanks for answering my question. I'll be cheeky and ask another. Do you think the current government has a point with its view of civil servants? Or not?

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:50:42

Yes thanks Alastair. I'm going to buy your book instead of the new bridget jonesgrin .do you like Noel though?

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:51:00

makemineatripple

Hi Alistair

Who would you most like and least like, to be stuck in a lift with?.....

Most - Isabelle Huppert (if Paul Dacre is not available). Least - Alex Salmond

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:52:19

mignonette

Hi Alistair

Am sure I have some heavyweight Political questions somewhere in my brain and as a RMN I also appreciate any person in the public eye who speaks of their own MH issues and I could (and should) ask you something to do with that.

However I will go for the low and ask you if you wear a Kilt, what do you wear under it?

yes I do. For me to know and you to find out!

mignonette Mon 14-Oct-13 14:52:28

Thank you Alistair. Thought you'd be more savvy than Nick Clegg in choosing not to answer questions like my kilt one and I was right wink.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:53:06

mignonette

Thank you Alistair. Thought you'd be more savvy than Nick Clegg in choosing not to answer questions like my kilt one and I was right wink.

i just did

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:53:34

pickofthepops

Yes thanks Alastair. I'm going to buy your book instead of the new bridget jonesgrin .do you like Noel though?

i like the fact he has painted his house in his football club colours

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:53:34

One word .. Phwoargh

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:53:37

pickofthepops

Yes thanks Alastair. I'm going to buy your book instead of the new bridget jonesgrin .do you like Noel though?

i like the fact he has painted his house in his football club colours

makemineatripple Mon 14-Oct-13 14:53:53

Thanks for replying Alistair. Very interesting answers.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:54:25

pollycazalet

Thanks for answering my question. I'll be cheeky and ask another. Do you think the current government has a point with its view of civil servants? Or not?

no, and I said so to Francis Maude at Tory conference. There are good and bad, but this government tends to run down everyone and everything

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:55:05

pickofthepops

Seriously I have no idea who to vote for. I'm cursed whichever lifestyle decisions I take I'm scuppered by the government of the time.

vote Labour

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:56:20

SauceForTheGander

Though I can't stand the Mail - I was sort of disappointed that it caused such a furore recently re. Ed Miliband's dad. It was disgusting obviously- but The Sun has had an almost naked woman posing submissively for 40 years and there's been precious little said by politicians about it and personally I think The Sun is just as bad as The Mail. I think The Sun's idea that page 3 is a bit of harmless fun is one of the biggest cons out there.

I've seen you in your NMP3 t shirt smile

Will The Sun give up Page 3? Can you ask Tony to have a word with Rupert about it?

totally support the NMP3 campaign. My daughter converted me

mignonette Mon 14-Oct-13 14:56:28

Alistair that was a non committal answer wink. I'm not about to go looking up your kilt. I'm a laydee. grin.

Significantly better than bloody Gok Wan.

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 14:57:13

Nice one, sadeyedladyofthelowlandsea (pics). Think Andy Burnham is rather dishy, actually, if that's not too old fashioned a word!

youretoastmildred Mon 14-Oct-13 14:57:38

This is a much more direct web chat than I was expecting. I think you are much nicer and funnier than Gok Wan

pollycazalet Mon 14-Oct-13 14:57:58

Thank you! ( I am one).

TEErickOrTEEreat Mon 14-Oct-13 14:58:08

Really interesting chat. Thanks Alastair.

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 14:58:20

Really brightened my day smile, thanks Alastair

semirurallife Mon 14-Oct-13 14:58:30

hi,; your session on newsnight having a go at Dacre's stooge was my best telly for ages.
More seriously, why won't the current Labour folks have more of a go at the government, which as you say, runs down everyone and everything? the attacks they have made on benefit claimants are a disgrace, and yet there is a silence from those who should be shaming them for being so vile - and so wrong. when will Labour get more strident again, or do we have to be scared of big business?

youretoastmildred Mon 14-Oct-13 14:58:56

ha ha cross posted with Sauce for the Gander! I suppose you can't be surprised that Campbell knows his audience - having let us into his "fail to prepare and prepare to fail" secret - but poor old Gok could have done with a better briefing. Doll.

MrJudgeyPants Mon 14-Oct-13 14:59:01

Thanks for your straight answer - good luck with your book.

Mr JP.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Mon 14-Oct-13 14:59:52

I have really enjoyed this webchat. Fast, furious and honest.
Thank you.

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 14:59:55

youretoastmildred

ha ha cross posted with Sauce for the Gander! I suppose you can't be surprised that Campbell knows his audience - having let us into his "fail to prepare and prepare to fail" secret - but poor old Gok could have done with a better briefing. Doll.

another good quote for you ... believe you can and you're halfway there. Truman

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 15:00:33

semirurallife

hi,; your session on newsnight having a go at Dacre's stooge was my best telly for ages.
More seriously, why won't the current Labour folks have more of a go at the government, which as you say, runs down everyone and everything? the attacks they have made on benefit claimants are a disgrace, and yet there is a silence from those who should be shaming them for being so vile - and so wrong. when will Labour get more strident again, or do we have to be scared of big business?

i agree. People say they don't like negative campaigning, but they do like to see a bit of a fight over things that matter

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 15:01:13

youretoastmildred

This is a much more direct web chat than I was expecting. I think you are much nicer and funnier than Gok Wan

I am also far better at sorting out how women look! Honest

Pagwatch Mon 14-Oct-13 15:02:18

Not a question but can I just thank you for keeping depression/ mental health in the spotlight. Having family members affected by depression and seeing their shame, I am deeply grateful to any one in the public eye who talks about it.

pickofthepops Mon 14-Oct-13 15:03:56

So we will see you back for a spring summer 2014 make up tips / wardrobe overhaul q&a sesh Alastair? Featuring kilts and what to not wear under them

AlastairCampbell Mon 14-Oct-13 15:04:22

That whizzed by. A few technical issues here but think we did ok getting through the questions. Thanks for the promises to buy the book - I look forward to strange names popping up on Amazon Review. Apologies for not being able to do Mumsnet Blogfest but they should have known not to coincide with a Burnley homegame. All the best to all of you and to Mumsnet. Tata.
ps watch Channel 4 9pm tonight if you need any more convincing about the damage booze is doing to Britain

pollycazalet Mon 14-Oct-13 15:04:36

Brilliant web chat. I bet he's doing his own typing

Alistair re. Gok Wan - that's not hard.

He just puts everyone in Spanx and a push up bra and calls it styling.

You have been great Alistair - are MNHQ trying to wheel you out the building but you're having too much fun?

Stay! There's a lovely section on mumnset called AIBU - I think you'd like it. wink

JustineMumsnet Belgium (MNHQ) Mon 14-Oct-13 15:08:20

pollycazalet

Brilliant web chat. I bet he's doing his own typing

Yes he did - being an ex-journo definitely helps on that front.

HatticusFinch Mon 14-Oct-13 15:10:00

Fair enough Alistair, but I do wonder who the Government deem hardworking enough? Exactly how hard do you have to work for them to decide you are worthy?

Totally agree regarding the alcohol strategy. What do you think is the single most important thing that could be done to in relation to this problem?

mignonette Mon 14-Oct-13 15:10:37

That was cool.

icebees Mon 14-Oct-13 15:11:19

Brilliant we chat, thanks to Alastair and to all contributors. Best rainy Monday afternoon for a long time!

youretoastmildred Mon 14-Oct-13 15:11:28

Well he's value for money! I think MNHQ need to perform a properly quantitative and qualitative review on which web-chatters really deliver, because the ones who "answer" 6 questions in an hour and they were the most anodyne of the ones posted in advance at the top of the thread might as well send a press release. If you can't type in real time, don't bother coming (we all do!)

mehereandnow Mon 14-Oct-13 15:11:58

Cool. That was fun - first time on here for me. Love the user names.
Thanks Alistair Campbell.

Merguez Mon 14-Oct-13 15:15:18

Thanks for answering my question, I have signed the petition. Have to admit to occasionally reading the free copy of DM on a plane just to remind myself why I hate them so much, but would never, ever, give them my money.

pollycazalet Mon 14-Oct-13 15:17:14

Yes Mildred - the "six questions and can I shoehorn a mention of the product I am flogging in every single one" webchats are just embarrassing.

JaquelineHyde England Mon 14-Oct-13 15:17:28

Just read through, can't believe I missed it. I really like AC, and have huge respect for all the campaigning he now does.

The new book has gone on the Christmas list just after Mo Farah's new book.

HatticusFinch Mon 14-Oct-13 15:22:00

Gah, too slow with the follow up!

Great chat MNHQ, great to see a wide range of question being answered.

youretoastmildred Mon 14-Oct-13 15:23:20

I can remember doing typing tests at temp agencies and practising for them to get my wage up. Something similar could be brought in at MNHQ. We were also incentivised by a doggy-bag buffet lunch. Justine, do you think you could look into this when planning future web chats? ;)

TheGreatMumungo Mon 14-Oct-13 15:50:13

Hi Alistair,

Hope you're well!

If it were you deciding, what would your strategy be to help mums on a budget juggling the family finances?

Thanks

That was brilliant! And so much better than Gok.

noddyholder Mon 14-Oct-13 16:24:28

Pass the smelling salts

JustBecauseICan Mon 14-Oct-13 16:34:16

I'd do him

PetiteRaleuse Mon 14-Oct-13 16:53:54

Excellent chat, thanks MNHQ smile

OddSockMonster Mon 14-Oct-13 16:57:33

Wow, really enjoyed reading that, very impressed. Will watch C4 tonight too I think.

Lizzabadger Mon 14-Oct-13 17:55:08

Great webchat.

God, I love sexy intelligent blokes

ProphetOfDoom Mon 14-Oct-13 18:16:36

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HokeyCokeyPigInAPokey Mon 14-Oct-13 19:11:03

What a refreshing read - how nice to read such straight talking and honesty.

domesticslattern Mon 14-Oct-13 19:50:34

Very good webchat, even if he never got around to my question. Thanks for organising MNHQ
It wasn't my DH at Leicester Sq station, so come on, whose was it???

Thank you Alastair, I was delighted (and surprised) that you answered my question. smile

AmberLeaf Mon 14-Oct-13 23:44:07

Missed him, darn it!

That was a good one.

QueFonda Tue 15-Oct-13 07:21:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ButThereAgain Tue 15-Oct-13 09:22:42

He was good, wasn't he. I like how he ignored all the letching with such dignity. I suppose even the MN horde is a piece of cake for the great communicator.

mignonette Tue 15-Oct-13 10:27:26

Well he challenged me to find out what was under his kilt in a manner of words.

He is slick without being oleaginous. Quite a feat in politics.

ArtisanLentilWeaver Tue 15-Oct-13 12:01:07

mignonette - you will find that nothing is worn under the kilt and that it it is all in perfect working order. wink

envy Artisan

mignonette Tue 15-Oct-13 23:54:50

Artisan . grin. Am off to bed laughing my head off. The Things you find out on here.

Just thought that after the Darius Danesh Kilt incident, some folks in the public eye might have pulled a pair of tightie whities on....grin

LeGavrOrf Wed 16-Oct-13 10:24:21

That was a great webchat, right from the start about the mumsnetters husband accosting him at Leicester sq tube.

Confirms all my thoughts about stroppy ginger blokes.

I will certainly buy that book. I love the Alastair Campbell diaries, especially when he shouts at Tony Blair and has rows with Neil Kinnock. Extraordinary also that he was pals with Alan Clark.

A real shame I missed this webchat. It was a really good one.

Doesn't it make a HUGE difference when we get a contributor who can read questions and answer them quickly.

youretoastmildred Wed 16-Oct-13 11:55:07

Yep, it really does - that way it is an actual conversation, which is what everyone wants.

However, the book is a bit rubbish. At least, I downloaded the kindle sample, and that much is rubbish. He is a much better conversationalist than a writer! leaden, stodgy, cliched prose. sorry, Al.

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