Notes on sleeping in a hammock

Five days ago we walked across fields to our next door village for a pub lunch and one of the boys wore a hat and gloves and there was a mean November wind, grey skies, distemper everywhere. Now England is warmer than Hawaii, warm perhaps as Athens. The long May days are balmy, our cold spring […]

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Media pains

I have been reading Alistair Campbell’s Diaries (Hutchinson, 2007). They are a good read. Campbell, Blair et al come across as a tight unit with good political habits; they talk constantly and disagree and thus refine and evolve, they keep prioritising, above all they keep slogging away. Slogging away is what it’s all about. I gained […]

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Notes on New York Public Library

New York is hot like an August day in London can be hot – the air is heavy, sunshine bakes the side walks, the city’s inhabitants are undressing in front of my eyes. A visitor from a cold, dispirited island, I am sweating in my suit, my last meeting of the day is over and […]

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Two black swans prepare for take off

When I was running the cross-party campaign opposing UK membership of the euro (‘europe yes, euro no‘, 2000-03), the things that used to keep me awake at night were the things over which I had no control. I wasn’t worried about raising enough money, or winning the daily skirmishes against our opponents, or building our […]

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Wedding anniversary

Wiltshire wedding  The thing about us, you once whispered, along with love and freckles, is that we wish the same landscapes. Hanging dusty out of the train window we’re looking for the same swimming spot, arriving independently on a hill side we’d make camp in the same situation. When we met I suppose we recognised […]

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Putin Forever?

Days before his inauguration, Foreign Policy magazine has put together a slide show of Vladimir Putin’s political career in pictures, including images of Russia’s President-Elect feeding a fawn with milk from a baby’s bottle, shaking the flipper of a dolphin, playing piano and posing topless with a hunting rifle. Another pre-inauguration stunt (not quite the […]

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Is Britain going to be OK?

I have been itching to try and answer this question. Over the past 6 months I have travelled to the US, Asia and Europe and each time when I come home I bring with me a clear sense of Britain’s advantages. But within days the imperfections we all live with return to the forefront of […]

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