Monday 15 October
The media war is running faster than events, but there's no press
conference today. There isn't always anything new to say and we don't
want to waste anyone's time. But that doesn't stop the phonecalls or the
journalists from writing about an imminent ground invasion.
Tuesday 16 October
I'm feeling more like a travel agent, taking calls from journalists
eager to deploy wherever UK forces may be going. Suddenly everyone's a
wannabe Para or Marine.
Lunch with Panorama's producer. Tough task planning programmes on a war
in uncharted waters. The BBC sees Panorama as a flagship, but frankly,
TV has enough 'flagships' for an entire navy.
TV wants exclusive footage, but that has become difficult since all
networks have a camera on the frontline - often ahead of any
Wednesday 17 October
Tying up loose ends for a press facility tomorrow on the SA80 A2 rifle.
Need to sub the press release and check pictures for
We brief defence correspondents with details on Afghanistan, the Taliban
and Al-Qa'ida. Sometimes there's a need to fill the information vacuum
that can easily occur when there's little to report. Speculation runs
wild and policy officials can straighten it out and add critical
Thursday 18 October
Up early to catch a Chinook at RAF Northolt taking journalists to
Warminster - we need the morning if this is to hit the lunchtime news.
Army PRO Clive Bull is running the news conference - very much his
parade. We brief the minister's party on schedules and any overnight
developments and running stories.
Much has been written on the SA80 (and much of it inaccurate). It's had
problems, but has been upgraded and rigorously tested. We gave
journalists a chance to fire it for themselves - too bad the Daily Mail
couldn't make it. Junior minister Adam Ingram would not have rubber
stamped this for TV and press if he wasn't convinced by the opinions of
those who may depend on it.
Friday 19 October
Chief press officer Simon Wren is back from Number 10 and holds a
quick-fire round of who's doing what. With people covering different
subjects, we need to be joined-up in our approach. There are peaks and
troughs of media activity and it takes a wider focus to get all our
ducks in a row.
Saturday and Sunday 20 -21 October
We have 24-hour cover in the press office - and it's me for 24-hours of
it. There is footage of US special forces in Afghanistan, so all the
journalists call to ask about is ours - for a change. We don't comment
on special forces, so I advise them to write about something else.