ConservativeHome Diary Week 27: If Chris Bryant Can Apologise to Andrew Mitchell, So Should Ed Miliband
18 Oct 2013 at 16:21
My job leads me to meet some interesting people. This week I interviewed Princess of Michael of Kent about her new novel, The Queen of Four Kingdoms. We were sent a protocol sheet in advance which instructed us what to call her and how to bow. Never having been very good at any form of forelock tugging I indulged in more of a crick of the neck than a bow, and never once uttered the words ‘Your Royal Highness’, or even worse, ‘Ma’am’, as in spam. She didn’t seem to mind and we got on famously. Indeed, not only did I find her an engaging interviewee, I couldn’t help but think for a woman of 68 she really is incredibly beautiful. You can hear the interview tonight on LBC at 7.30pm. Next week, Katie Price. Honest.
This weekend I am off to Dubrovnik, which is apparently called the jewel of the Adriatic. The reason for my trip is that on Monday I am giving a keynote speech to the annual conference of the Association of British Travel Agents. Luckily, ABTA have nicer venues for the conferences than political parties seem to go for! I’m supposed to be speaking on ‘Politics 2015’ and giving my views on what might happen after the next election. This may prove somewhat of a challenge, bearing in mind that far more accomplished political pundits than me don’t seem to have the remotest idea. A further challenge may be that the 600 travel agents attending the conference are unlikely to the kind of political geeks that would enjoy my normal repartee. Oh well, throw in the odd Ann Widdecombe pussy joke and that should keep them happy J. I’ll report back next week.
I keep feeling sorry for my friend Simon Burns, but then I think to myself, surely he knew what he was doing when he resigned to stand for deputy speaker? I think most people thought he would get far more votes than he did, but it just goes to show how important hustings are in this kind of contest. By all accounts he didn’t perform well in any of the hustings, but he also suffered because he was thought of as David Cameron’s candidate, and in the end, people wondered how on earth he could work with John Bercow. While many would have relished the prospect of watching them try to be civil to each other, unless BurnsCam was installed, we could only have surmised how it was all going. But it wouldn’t have been pretty. And nor, I imagine, will it be pretty when Bercow and Burns next cross swords in the chamber.
There are lots of apologies being made to Andrew Mitchell at the moment, and rightly so. Even Chris Bryant tweeted “It seems Andrew Mitchell has been stitched up. I am sorry I believed the police and The Sun.” It takes a big man to do that. I wonder when Ed Miliband will rouse himself to do the same. Some of us remember full well the pure joy on his face at the first PMQs after Andrew Mitchell resigned. The Labour Party has already taken down its Plebgate websote where they ask: “Who do you trust – the Police or Andrew Mitchell?” It seems this was one bandwagon the Leader of the Opposition was very unwise to jump on. Let’s see if he is as big a man as Chris Bryant and apologises publicly to Andrew Mitchell. Personally, I think he is. As he might say, Britain can be better than this.
Because I will still be in Dubrovnik, I’ve got the night off from my LBC radio show on Monday evening. But would I leave you with four hours of radio silence? No Sirreee. For one night only, standing in for me is …. Cue drumroll …. Alastair Campbell. This happened once before. Call me weird, but after that programme, my mobile phone ringtone was replaced with the LBC signature music and the words “Standing in for Iain Dale, Alastair Campbell.” I still get a kick when I hear that. Sad bastard.
Hardworking people. There, I’ve said it. Happy Grant?
Next Thursday at 7pm I’m hosting a new hour long segment on my LBC drivetime show called The LBC Parliament. Each week we’ll be having three panellists in the studio from across the political spectrum – not always politicians – and they’ll be taking questions from our listeners. On the first show we’ve got Polly Toynbee, John Redwood and Charlie Falconer followed the week after by Lynne Featherstone, Charles Clarke and Peter Sissons. Future panellists include Hilary Devey, Melanie Phillips, Sir Christopher Meyer, Jeremy Hunt, Neil Hamilton, Lord Levy and a whole host more. I hope you’ll make it an appointment to listen, and maybe also phone in with your questions.