My Week: Phillip Blond
The Red Tory launches ResPublica, his think tank, on no sleep but plenty of coffee, and finds that he has as many new enemies in the media as friends
Saturday 28 November 2009
This is the day before the storm. I spend an instructive morning at the University of Cambridge talking to leading academics about the family and education policy.
I get a call from a journalist who wants to clear up my positions on markets and gay adoption. I say that I am in favour of free markets but think that neoliberalism had often produced monopoly outcomes. On gay adoption I say I had no contemporary problems with it, but in terms of the controversy two years ago over Catholic adoption agencies, I thought the Catholic view that a child needed a mother and father shouldn't have been outlawed; in a free society we need not fear diverse accounts as how to bring up children, and the Catholic view is not necessarily discriminatory and so their adoption agencies should not have been outlawed.
I wake up and the world has changed. One paper carries two articles facing completely different ways. It's great my ideas are receiving public airing, but the way I'm being portrayed is often false. This comes with the territory. I go to a breakfast in the House of Commons to get young people involved in politics, which is a big part of what I'd like to do. More organising for the launch, and then at night a policy dinner with the British Council, with tasty Baltic food.
My profile in The Independent is basically fair and balanced, which is all you can ask. The Times is more attacking, probably because it represents the failed liberal consensus. But I'm rather aghast at the level of publicity and interest. I have another breakfast meeting with some trade unions and some farmers. I'm careering around London organising the launch of ResPublica. An interview with Channel 4 News in Millbank turns out to be good fun. Then I do a seminar for the PM's strategy unit on the collapse of civil society. I start writing the speech around 8pm and work through until 6am, fuelled with coffee.
The launch. I go on the Today programme on no sleep, which goes rather well. And then the Victoria Derbyshire show on Radio 5 Live too. I rush back home, get changed, don't have breakfast and get to the launch an hour early. This is the biggest launch of a think tank in London – ever. We have to close the doors of the overspill room. I meet David Cameron at the front of the National Liberal Club, and he's in a very positive mood. His diary's packed so it's very good of him to welcome us. I think my own speech goes well. Afterwards I can relax, have a couple of hours' sleep at home – and party at night.
Very much the morning after the night before. Plenty of coverage. Meetings throughout the day with various companies. All goes well. Off to a lecture by Baroness Williams in the evening. This weekend I'll finish off Red Tory, my book. The work never stops.
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Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
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