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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.

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

MissBeehiving Sun 13-Oct-13 15:34:09

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.

MissBeehiving Sun 13-Oct-13 17:21:29


SunshineSuperNova Sun 13-Oct-13 18:09:39

mignonette grin

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 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) 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


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) ....

sadeyedladyofthelowlandsea Sun 13-Oct-13 21:34:25

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.

MissBeehiving Sun 13-Oct-13 21:46:29

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

sadeyedladyofthelowlandsea Sun 13-Oct-13 21:59:42

<smiles winningly at MissBeehiving>

MissBeehiving Sun 13-Oct-13 22:05:28

<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?

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