Introducing Alastair Campbell

Shortly to guest edit the <em>New Statesman</em>, Tony Blair's former press secretary explains why h

I’m very grateful to the New Statesman for giving me the chance to be guest editor for a week. It has not always been my favourite reading, and no doubt there are some regular readers for whom I would not be Number 1 choice as guest editor.

But it continues to hold a significant place in the political and media landscape and I hope that for the week I am in charge, with the help of the usual NS team, we can put together something that is interesting, provocative and makes a contribution to debate on the progressive side of politics. I have already commissioned a few pieces from people as varied as myself, my partner and friends and colleagues in places high and low. But there are a couple of ideas, as I mentioned on my website, when I first announced I would be doing this, that will require reader input. First, I am on the lookout for three young people, 16-18, to tell us why they have joined one of the three main parties.

It angers me when middle-aged middle class people routinely say that young people are not interested in politics. My sense is that in many ways the young are more interested in political debate than the old. They’re just turned off by the way politics is debated and covered.

The second idea, which has already had some good ideas sent to my blog, is to ask readers to complete this sentence ...

"If I had one sentence to put into Labour’s manifesto for the next election, it would say this –"

The Tories may be ahead in the polls, but I still think the battle of ideas and serious policy debate on the left has more energy. I hope your response shows this. I have set one page aside already but if the response merits more, then I may have to spike one of my own pieces. If that isn’t an incentive ....

Contribute your own one sentence ideas for the Labour manifesto on Alastair Campbell's blog.

Show Hide image

En français, s'il vous plaît! EU lead negotiator wants to talk Brexit in French

C'est très difficile. 

In November 2015, after the Paris attacks, Theresa May said: "Nous sommes solidaires avec vous, nous sommes tous ensemble." ("We are in solidarity with you, we are all together.")

But now the Prime Minister might have to brush up her French and take it to a much higher level.

Reuters reports the EU's lead Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, would like to hold the talks in French, not English (an EU spokeswoman said no official language had been agreed). 

As for the Home office? Aucun commentaire.

But on Twitter, British social media users are finding it all très amusant.

In the UK, foreign language teaching has suffered from years of neglect. The government may regret this now . . .

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.