General Election Predictions
5 May 2015 at 13:05
LBC’s Adrian Sherling has knocked this up. Rather lovely, don’t you think?
General Election Predictions
5 May 2015 at 13:05
LBC’s Adrian Sherling has knocked this up. Rather lovely, don’t you think?
5 May 2015 at 09:36
He hadn’t told anyone. Not even his agent. It was going to be done on his own terms. Adam Ranger hadn’t told his mother what he was about to do, and he especially hadn’t told his gossipy sister. They would all find out like the rest of the country. Had he told any one of them, he knew they would come out with all sorts of reasons why he shouldn’t go ahead with what he knew would affect him for the rest of his life. You see, Adam Ranger, star England central defender, was about to announce to the world he was gay.
He knew the risks. He was prepared for the media storm that would no doubt engulf him. People who do something ‘first’ always become renowned. Adam was prepared for that – what he didn’t want to become was ‘notorious. He calculated that if he did it, others would follow suit. And follow suit quickly. He knew that in every dressing room up and down the land there were men like him. Indeed, he knew of one Premier League team where four of the starting eleven were gay. It wasn’t as if anyone was particularly secret any longer. Looks were exchanged. People just knew, but rarely said anything.
Adam had thought long and hard about how to do it. Press conference? No. Too uncontrollable. Newspaper exclusive. No. The other newspapers which hadn’t had the story would be angry and seek to trash him. TV or radio? Maybe, but would he get the time to say what he wanted to say? Would he be able to control the editing? Probably not. No, Adam decided to do a Tom Daley and record his own Youtube video.
After training one day, he went down to PC World and bought a video camera and tripod. “Alright, Adam?” said the sales assistant. “Got the girls coming round, have we? He joshed, with a deliberate wink. “Yeah, something like that,” smiled Adam. “If only you knew, mate,” he thought to himself.
He went home, set up the camera, sat down and looked straight into the lens. “I’m Adam Ranger. I play for England. And I’ve got something I want to tell you…”
Four weeks later…
It had been a momentous month. The praise, the almost entirely positive reaction from his own teammates who had lined up after training and done a collective moonie while pissing themselves laughing. The phone calls from players from other clubs, his England teammates had been a mixture of hilarious, emotional and highly charged. Tears were shed.
Three other international players followed Adam’s lead in the week after he came out to the world. A dozen lower league players did too. And all to an ever increasing shrug of the shoulders.
In his first game after the video release on Youtube Adam ran out at Upton Park, a difficult place for an opposition player at the best of times, to a standing ovation from most of the crowd. He hadn’t bargained for that and for a moment lost his composure. As the applause died down a chant started from the Bobby Moore Stand of “Does your boyfriend know you’re here?” Adam laughed, grabbed the hand of one of his teammates and bowed. The applause restarted.
Yes, there were problems. He knew there would be. His agent was furious with him. “You’ve jeopardised all your commercial contracts by doing this,” he fumed. Adam suspected the very opposite would be true. And he was right. The offers flooded in. “We want you to be the face of our company,” said the chief exec of a major clothing brand. And there was more. Lots more.
Back in the room…
And that’s how I’d like to think things would be if a professional footballer took that great leap. OK, I might be writing with rose tinted spectacles, but I genuinely think it would be a lot more like this scenario than it was for Justin Fashanu 25 years ago. I have no idea how many professional footballers read Attitude Magazine. Probably more than you think. But if there’s only one, think about the trail you would blaze. Think about what kind of example you would set, not just to your fellow footballers but everyone else. Be proud of who and what you are. And tell the world.
General Election Predictions
5 May 2015 at 08:48
APOLOGIES, IT SEEMS I FORGOT TO LIST MY FINAL BIRMINGHAM PREDICTIONS. HERE THEY ARE!
Back in January I predicted the outcome of the General Election, seat by seat. Since then, I have done more research and altered some of the predictions taking into account various issues including new updated constituency polls by Lord Ashcroft. Over the next ten days I will be revisiting each county and region giving my final predictions. I’d still welcome feedback, even at this late stage.
Current Political Makeup: Lab 8, LibDem 1
Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Lab 9
Final Prediction: Unchanged
1. Birmingham Edgbaston
Conservative: 15620 (37.6%)
Labour: 16894 (40.6%)
Lib Dem: 6387 (15.4%)
BNP: 1196 (2.9%)
Green: 469 (1.1%)
UKIP: 732 (1.8%)
Christian: 127 (0.3%)
Others: 146 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 1274 (3.1%)
Sitting MP: Gisela Stuart (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
This is by no means a certain Labour hold. If UKIP eats into the Labour vote, the Tories may yet take this seat. UPDATE: I’m told UKIP are making headway in the whote working class area of Bartley Green. Could that help the Tory Dr Luke Evans slip through the middle?
2. Birmingham Erdington
Conservative: 11592 (32.6%)
Labour: 14869 (41.8%)
Lib Dem: 5742 (16.2%)
BNP: 1815 (5.1%)
UKIP: 842 (2.4%)
Christian: 217 (0.6%)
Independent: 240 (0.7%)
Others: 229 (0.6%)
MAJORITY: 3277 (9.2%)
Sitting MP: Jack Dromey (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
Relatively safe seat.
3. Birmingham Hall Green
Conservative: 7320 (15%)
Labour: 16039 (32.9%)
Lib Dem: 11988 (24.6%)
UKIP: 950 (1.9%)
Respect: 12240 (25.1%)
Independent: 190 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 3799 (7.8%)
Sitting MP: Rodger Godsiff (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
If Respect had played their cards better, they could have been contenders here in 2015. But they haven’t.
4. Birmingham Hodge Hill
Conservative: 4936 (11.6%)
Labour: 22077 (52%)
Lib Dem: 11775 (27.7%)
BNP: 2333 (5.5%)
UKIP: 714 (1.7%)
Others: 637 (1.5%)
MAJORITY: 10302 (24.3%)
Sitting MP: Liam Byrne (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
5. Birmingham Ladywood
Conservative: 4277 (11.9%)
Labour: 19950 (55.7%)
Lib Dem: 9845 (27.5%)
Green: 859 (2.4%)
UKIP: 902 (2.5%)
MAJORITY: 10105 (28.2%)
Sitting MP: Shabana Mahmood (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
6. Birmingham Northfield
Conservative: 14059 (33.6%)
Labour: 16841 (40.3%)
Lib Dem: 6550 (15.7%)
BNP: 2290 (5.5%)
Green: 406 (1%)
UKIP: 1363 (3.3%)
Others: 305 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 2782 (6.7%)
Sitting MP: Richard Burden (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
This used to be a Conservative seat and it’s conceivable it could be again. But not in 2015, I suspect, depending on where the LibDem vote goes. UPDATE: I am told CCHQ have been impressed by the Tory candidate here and are thowing more support here than any other Birmingham seat.
7. Birmingham Perry Bar
Conservative: 8960 (21.3%)
Labour: 21142 (50.3%)
Lib Dem: 9234 (22%)
UKIP: 1675 (4%)
Christian: 507 (1.2%)
Others: 527 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 11908 (28.3%)
Sitting MP: Khalid Mahmood (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
8. Birmingham Selly Oak
Conservative: 14468 (31.1%)
Labour: 17950 (38.5%)
Lib Dem: 10371 (22.3%)
BNP: 1820 (3.9%)
Green: 664 (1.4%)
UKIP: 1131 (2.4%)
Christian: 159 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 3482 (7.5%)
Sitting MP: Stephen McCabe (Lab)
Prediction: Labour hold
Once held by the Tory Anthony Beaumont-Darke it doesn’t look as if this will return to the Tory fold any time soon.
9. Birmingham Yardley
Conservative: 7836 (19.2%)
Labour: 13160 (32.2%)
Lib Dem: 16162 (39.6%)
BNP: 2153 (5.3%)
UKIP: 1190 (2.9%)
Others: 349 (0.9%)
MAJORITY: 3002 (7.3%)
Sitting MP: John Hemming (LibDem)
Prediction: Labour gain
Hemming is a maverick and I wouldn’t bet against him pulling off a surprise, but if Labour is to form a government it’s this kind of seat they need to take back.
If you’d like to see the rest of my seat by seat predictions, click HERE
4 May 2015 at 20:37
How did the Ed Miliband Tablet idea ever get past the Labour Party drawing board?
4 May 2015 at 14:34
I had never heard of Lord Scriven before this morning. He’s the LibDem Peer who tweeted that David Cameron had told Nick Clegg before the election that he didn’t think the Tories would get a majority.
So Cameron has taken to lying on Tory Maj. @nick_clegg told me that Cameron privately admitted to him that the Tories won't win a majority
— Paul Scriven (@Paulscriven) May 4, 2015
This is now leading the BBC and LBC news bulletins. What a shit the man clearly is. I have no idea if it’s true or not, but even if it is, like John Pienaar and Adrian Chiles I shrug my shoulders. What was he supposed to say to Clegg?
I’m going to get a majority and wipe you off planet politics. So there!
No. If he said it, it must have been part of a conversation about renewing the coalition.
I take a very dim view of people who reveal these sorts of things in public, and I am pleased to see Nick Clegg distance himself from it. He clearly wouldn’t want to go tiger hunting with Paul Scriven.
I remember having a conversation with a very senior LibDem back in March who was very keen to tell me he thought the Conservatives would win a majority at the election. Much as I am tempted to tell you who it was – and believe me, you’d be surprised – I won’t, because there’s a big difference between me and Lord Scriven. He’s a total shit, and I’m not.
4 May 2015 at 09:49
1. Just as in 2010 there will be queues outside polling stations at 10pm and people won’t be allowed to vote. Politicians will declare their outrage and say that something must be done to prevent it happening again. Just like 2010.
2. There will be reports of voter intimidation in Tower Hamlets. It wouldn’t be an election otherwise.
3. The Exit Pollsters will be shitting themselves.
4. The Press Association’s prediction of count declaration times will bear little resemblance to reality.
5. Broadcasters will wish they hadn’t booked any politicians as guests as they will just trot out the usual pre-prepared soundbites and refuse to engage in coalition speculation.
6. Jeremy Paxman and David Mitchell won’t hit it off. At all.
7. As election night progresses, a few red lines start shattering.
8. Three or four senior Labour politicians start muttering nice things under their breath about the SNP as the night progresses. Andy Burnham will be one of them.
9. Boris Johnson remains silent until the lie of the land becomes clear, but several of his supporters begin subtly advancing his case on the media as breakfast approaches.
10. In my seat by seat predictions I’ve predicted the Conservatives will get 276 seats. My gut feeling is that is on the low side, but 290 is their maximum reach.
11. For Labour, I’ve predicted 267. I think 275 is their maximum.
12. I’ve predicted the LibDems will get 23 seats. If they get over 30 they will be euphoric. Sort of.
13. I’ve predicted Nigel Farage will win his seat and be one of 5 UKIP MPs. If he doesn’t win, he will resign the UKIP leadership either in his count concession or a few hours later. I predict one of UKIP’s winners will be a complete surprise.
14. The journalist who gets any words out of David Miliband during the night will deserve an award of some kind.
15. The two biggest name casualties will be both be Alexanders – Danny and Wee Dougie.
16. Andrew Neil will be the TV star of election night.
17. The BBC will come to regret their new live position opposite the House of Commons as their daytime coverage is ruined by a man shouting “All Politicians Are Liars”.
18. Len McCluskie, Paul Kenny and other trade union leaders take up semi-permanent residence on College Green opposite Parliament to dole out some “helpful” advice to Ed Miliband.
19. Seconds out, Round Two for Alastair Campbell and Adam Boulton.
20. The broadcaster tents and studios on College Green will still be there two weeks later.
I will be presenting LBC’s election night programme with Shelagh Fogarty from 9.55pm until 5am when Nick Ferrari takes over. If you’re going to a count do keep us up to date with any news by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, texting 84850 or tweeting @iaindale.
3 May 2015 at 19:10
No one has so far thought about the consequences for Parliament of the SNP gaining a shed load of seats. Let’s imagine that they do as well as the pollsters say and they get something around 50 seats. There are a number of consequences to that for the operation of Parliament.
* When Nick Clegg had 62 MPs he was entitled to two questions at PMQs. The SNP will no doubt push for the same. I doubt whether this has escaped Angus Robertson, their Westminster leader.
* With this number of MPs the SNP would be entitled to the chairmanships of at least one Select Committee, or maybe two. They would also be entitled to one MP on virtually every Select Committee, just as the LibDems had in the last Parliament.
* Would they take up seats on select committees like Health, Education or Transport, which are devolved matters? If not, would they then argue for two MPs on some other select committees? There are similar concerns about the operation of standing committees.
* Would they co-operate with the so-called ‘usual channels’ if they didn’t get their own way on any of the above?
* Alex Salmond has already stated he wouldn’t seek to displace Angus Robertson as Westminster leader, but I have heard rumours that he instead wants the position of SNP Chief Whip, if there is a Labour government. For Ed Miliband and Rosie Winterton this would be their worst nightmare come true. For the rest of us, it would be an incredible spectacle to watch.
* And while this is nothing to do with the way parliament operates, they would expect to appear on programmes like BBC Question Time as often as the LibDems have done in this Parliament.
I am sure there are many other issues which would need to be discussed if the SNP get so many seats. Feel free to suggest what they might be.
3 May 2015 at 08:50
In my latest series of how CCHQ wins friends and influences people, let me bring you this email which was sent to Team 2015 miscreants who, in their opinion hadn’t turned up often enough to campaign for the party in marginal seats…
We’ve been sending you a few emails recently — more than a few! — inviting you to attend campaign rallies, action days, and other crucial events to help our local Conservative candidates. However, it seems from our records that you aren’t yet among our regular volunteers, who spend time in our most marginal seats. Is that right, xxxx? We’d love to know why. Do you have 10 seconds to tell us what’s holding you back? What did they think they would achieve by sending that email. So many people have forwarded it to be that I can say without fear of contradiction that people have been far from impressed to say the least.
One contact told me “I cannot believe that CCHQ don’t have anything better to do but this at this stage in the campaign! It is just so counterproductive. I’m sorely tempted to reply and say I’m not a volunteer I’m a conscript!”
I’ve always believed it’s probably best not to shit on your own doorstep, but here goes anyway. Ken Livingstone is a presenter colleague of mine at LBC so whenever I’ve interviewed him I’ve always felt slightly restricted in how far I can go. But on the day when Ken’s bessie mate Lutfar Rahman was found guilty of corrupt practices as mayor of Tower Hamlets I let rip. He had previously accused Rahman’s accusers of being racist. I asked him live on air if he thought the judge was racist, and it went downhill from there. Quite frankly, Ken’s whole stance on Rahman is a disgrace. In his view the ex-Mayor (and how good does that sound?) can do no wrong and if he was a Catholic he’d be well on the way to sainthood. How Ken survives as a member of Labour’s NEC is anyone’s guess. He ought to be up before its disciplinary committee for bringing the party into disrepute. And not for the first time.
So all this means there will be a new mayoral election in Tower Hamlets. There won’t be a Tower Hamlets First candidate as the Electoral Commission has finally grown a pair and banned them as a political party. John Biggs will re-stand for Labour with Peter Golds carrying the Tory flag. However, media-savvy Imam Ajmal Masroor, a regular interviewee on my LBC show, is deciding whether to throw his hat into the ring as an Independent. He’s written a long post on his Facebook page about it. But it was this passage which caught my eye…
“In 2005 I tried to become the parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats and it was during the selection process I witnessed the most colossal abuse of ballot boxes. During the final selection hustings event one candidate was able to pull together members from the thin air. He was able to sign up over 750 members only for his use during the selection process. We were standing there and watching as his families and friends from all over the country came to vote in busses and cars. Before the hustings had even taken place he already had the seat secure in his bag. This candidate did not even speak English adequately and when he was asked questions during the hustings his answers were absolute nonsense. The liberal democrats didn’t do anything about the total misuse and desecration of the democratic system that took place right in front of the eyes of Liberal Democrats election officials. In fact that year during the party conference he was awarded a prize for recruiting the highest number of members. I still remember feeling being slapped on the face by the party that I had so excitedly joined back then. He was rewarded for his misdemeanour and given a trophy for bringing “democracy to disrepute”. Of course I could not take anyone to a civil court as I had no money”
I wonder how often this sort of thing is happening. I suspect the LibDems were too frightened to do anything about it for fear of being accused of racism. Like in the Rotherham child abuse scandal. These issues need to be confronted by everyone, wherever it’s taking place.
Nick Clegg was on TV last night proclaiming the virtue of his party’s policy that the personal tax allowance has been raised to £10,600, and in the next Parliament they are committed to pushing it up to £12,500. He conveniently ignored the fact that it was Conservative policy too. What really pissed me off though was his utter lie that “everyone” benefits from this policy. Now I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me over this, or indeed anyone in my position, but did you know that if you earn between £100,000 and £120,000 your personal allowance goes down by £1 to every £2 you earn. And if you earn more than £120,000 you get no personal allowance whatsoever. You’re taxed on every single penny of your income. I think this is outrageous, and totally unfair. But who’s going to shed any tears for anyone in that position? Correct, no one. If George Osborne announced that high earners were going to have their personal allowance restored, imagine the outrage from Ed Balls. That’s why it will never happen. It’s still outrageous, though.
Another example of the CCHQ charm offensive reaches my Inbox. You really couldn’t make it up. On Monday CCHQ called candidates in unwinnable seats and told them that they had to step up their game in supporting the 40/40 target seat candidate to the extent that they are now required to send reports on their work every night and what’s more, if they refuse to do so because of family and work commitments they have been told to e-mail the party hierarchy to tell them why they won’t be sending these daily reports. Add to that the stories I’ve heard first-hand from candidates in unwinnable seats having to pay for their own election addresses (in one case from their redundancy money) because they’ve been told if they don’t pay nobody else will, and it all adds up to a lot of extremely unhappy candidates out there, all terrified of speaking out through fear of being removed from the candidates list. If it was in the workplace it would be considered workplace bullying but in the workplace those being bullied get paid. In this case, those being bullied are effectively party donors contributing thousands of pounds to the party’s cause. And a fat lot of thanks they will get for it.
If, like me, you sneered at Ed Miliband creeping into Russell Brand’s flat late at night to do an interview on his Godawful Trews Youtube channel, think again. I can’t stand Brand and think he’s a nasty, messianic, narcissistic fool. His book is unreadable and his despicable prank on Andrew Sachs shouldn’t be forgotten either. However, when I discussed this on my radio show I got a right going over from my listeners. Ninety per cent of the people who rang in, emailed, texted or tweeted not only though Miliband was right to do it, but think he came out of it well. The world has truly gone mad.
I’m in the middle of revising my seat by seat election predictions. If you’re interested you can click HERE. I’ll give you the final totals in next week’s column, as it will have been written before polls close, but at the moment I have the Conservatives on 282, Labour 272, LibDems on 25, SNP 42 and UKIP 5. I haven’t revised my Scotland figures yet so expect the Labour total to decline a bit. It’s getting to the point where Ed Miliband still wouldn’t have enough for a majority even with the SNP. The Tories need to get to near 290 and hope the LibDems with around 25 seats and the DUP on 9 can get them over the line in a rather ugly three way coalition.
I just cannot for the life of me imagine why the Tax lock promise wasn’t announced at the beginning of the campaign or wasn’t in the manifesto. Surely the electorate discount measures like this so late in the campaign? All it says is “well we know you don’t trust us to keep our promises, so we’ll legislate to convince you.” The trouble is, few will be convinced by it because just as you can pass a law, you can also repeal one. Imagine there is another world financial crash in 2017 or 2018, does anyone seriously imagine taxes wouldn’t have to go up again? I’m a massive supporter of a low tax economy and it’s a shame that the Conservatives have lost their reputation as a low tax party, but that reputation won’t be one back by announcing fatuous gimmicks like this.
One final crumb of comfort for the Prime Minister and Lynton Crosby. I think the SNP threat may be cutting through to floating voters. There’s been scant little evidence for it in the polls, except for yesterday’s Evening Standard IPSOS MORI poll which put the Conservatives 5 points ahead. However, anecdotally, I think it may be having an effect. Someone tweeted me the other day to say he’d overheard four guys discussing the SNP threat in the gym and they all said they were voting Tory. I tested this out in the office and several people who had previously voted Labour all said they were worried by the SNP and would cast their vote accordingly. I wonder if we might see tactical voting, not just in Scotland but also in England, and this time to the benefit of the Conservatives.
You will have a huge choice on election night, not just on TV but on the radio. I’d love you to join Shelagh Fogarty and me on LBC from 10pm through till 5am when Nick Ferrari takes over. We’ll be joined throughout the night by four resident pundits, Damian McBride, Tim Montgomerie, Miranda Green and Alexandra Swann. Our resident psephologist Gareth Knight will interpret the results and we’ll also have Peter Riddell from the Institute of Government, Rory Bremner, Sarah Vine as well as reporters at more than 100 counts. It’s going to be fun. I promise. And feel free to send me messages throughout the night from your own counts. You can email email@example.com or tweet me @iaindale or text 84850.
And finally, good luck to anyone standing for election. Polling day is always stressful. Try to remain calm, keep your sense of humour, and at the count retain your dignity at all times. And if you lose unexpectedly, be gracious to your opponents in your concession speech. See you the other side.
2 May 2015 at 21:47
What any radio presenter needs is ‘stickability’. You need to give the audience a reason to stick with you rather than twiddle the knob and tune into a different station. In commercial radio that’s doubly important, as the presenter isn’t in total control of that because of the adverts. Hook and teasing before a break is an important part of the repertoire. Jon Gaunt was a past master at this, and bizarrely it forms a big part of his new podcast, which has now been going for more than a month. He’s getting about 4-5,000 downloads a day, which for a new podcast isn’t bad going at all.
The reason for his success is that his podcasts are quite addictive. If you miss one, you feel that you need to go back and listen in case you missed something. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have listened to every single one. Gaunt and I are poles apart in style and approach, but I’m a comparative newbie in the radio world. He’s been doing it for years. Just as I listen to Iain Lee and a few other presenters to pick up a few tricks, I don’t mind admitting I do the same with Gaunty (as he likes to call himself). In fact, as a radio presenter, the day you think you’ve got it licked and have nothing more to learn is probably the day to give up. But I also find myself enjoying what he does, slightly to my own surprise. I like the way he’s been honest about the big events in his life and career. I like the way he’s quite open about the fact that he is on his uppers. He’s told us in great detail about why he’s parted company with all the people who’ve employed him. It’s not meant to engender sympathy, but it’s quite engaging. And that’s why this Podcast works.
Gaunt and I have had a couple of run-ins on Twitter over the years, not least over his role in Plebgate. He threatened to sue me at one point. He even wrote on Twitter that I had begged to go into business with him, when the truth was that it was he who approached me to set up a successor to the late less-than-lamented SunTalk. He wanted me to approach Lord Ashcroft to fund it. I declined on the basis that I didn’t think it was possible to make money out of it. At the time – and this was back in 2011, I think – I was right. I probably still am, given the apparent failure of Fubar Radio, another venture which Gaunt was involved with and left in high dudgeon. This happens to him quite a lot, although in Fubar’s case he certainly had right on his side.
So who is Jon Gaunt? Well, he’s probably the nearest thing Britain has ever had to a shock jock, until Katie Hopkins arrived on the scene. Suffice to say there’s not a lot of Gaunty love for Hopkins. At his height, Gaunt won several Sonys and was riding high as the mid morning show host on talkSport. He also had widely acclaimed shows on BBC London and one or two other BBC local radio stations, like Three Counties Radio, one of the best BBC local stations. However, his career went into a tailspin in 2008 when talkSport sacked him after he called a local councillor a “Nazi” and “an ignorant pig” during an interview about whether smokers should be allowed to foster children who were in care. Ofcom found against him and he took the case to the High Court, even attracting support from Shami Chakrabarti and Liberty, but he lost at all stages. Quite outrageously so, in my view.
He then spent a year hosting a three hour show on Suntalk, an internet radio experiment, which I occasionally guested on, but the audience failed to grow, mainly due to lack of cross-promotion in the newspaper in which he wrote a weekly column. Then came a flirtation with UKIP, where he failed to become an MEP candidate and subsequently resigned from the party accusing his local branch in Coventry of failing to tackle racism. Then came Fubar, which he left after they failed to pay him.
He started his podcast in late March and although at first he attracted some ridicule from the snootier side of the radio industry, I reckon he may well have hit on something.
Essentially, it’s a very simple concept. He records 30 or 40 minutes every day in his spare bedroom, then uploads it to iTunes and various other outlets. During the podcast he gives his views on various issues of the day, has a rant or two, tells us about his everyday life and urges us to tell all our friends about it and get them to subscribe. The simplicity of it is a big part of its appeal. It’s just him. No adverts. No phonecalls. No guests. He keeps telling us that there may soon be adverts, guests and phonecalls and that people are offering him money to develop the podcast, but if that happens, I wonder whether it will lose part of its appeal. Let’s hope not.
One thing I was told when I started at LBC by James Whale and others was that to be successful in talk radio you need to give of yourself. You need to enable the audience to get to know you as a person. You don’t need to be a totally open book but the audience needs to know stuff about you. They might love you. They might hate you. That’s fine. The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t have an opinion about you. Jon Gaunt is a very marmite character. He has many devoted fans. Well he must do, otherwise he wouldn’t have 150,000 downloads in his first month, and all that has been achieved through word of mouth with no marketing whatsoever. But the truth is, even if you hate Gaunt you’d still want to listen to what he says, albeit in a masochistic sort of way. You might not listen every day, but depending on what’s in the news you know he’ll get you fired up. Think about many of the most successful talk radio hosts and they all have that in common – Whale, Ferrari, O’Brien.
Talking for forty minutes without a break and retaining people’s interest and attention is a talent, and Gaunt has it. Try doing it yourself and you’ll see how difficult it is. If I am honest I am not sure I could do it, and even if I could, would I be able to maintain a consistency of quality every day? Yes, there’s sometimes a bit too much repetition of subject matter, but he’s the human equivalent of a Jack Russell. Once he gets something between his teeth he doesn’t easily let go.
He has pet hates like “Little Owen Jones aged 33 3/4” and he can’t utter the words Nicola Sturgeon without calling her “Wee Jimmy Krankie”, and he has an almost visceral hatred of the BBC, albeit often with some justification. He is immensely boastful, sometimes rightly, but often it’s very overblown and occasionally laughable. The constant urging for his listeners to give him a positive review on iTunes and give him “Five Gold Stars” (sung like “Five Goooolllld Rings”) is a bit wearing but it’s almost become his catchphrase. Please kill me if I ever try to adopt a catchphrase. But even though all this can be irritating, just like his overblown use of rolled ’R’s, somehow it doesn’t matter.
So what’s the future? Podcasting is in some ways a bit 1990s, yet Jon Gaunt got into the iTunes top ten, beating Russell Brand in his first week. There are plenty of Podcasts that have more than 100,000 listeners, but they tend to be weekly ones rather than daily. The question is can Jon Gaunt move from around 5,000 subscribers to 50,000, and if so, how long will it take? Can it be done just by word of mouth or will it take a big marketing and advertising budget? Or, is the Podcast a mere stepping stone?
Gaunty protests that he has no desire to go back into mainstream radio, never missing any opportunity to slag off his previous employers, BBC local radio or indeed my radio station, LBC, which he refers to as “that little radio station in London”. When he was at his most powerful in radio this little radio station had around half a million listeners. It now has 1.3 million. I’ll forgive him for being a tad out of date!
What I can’t work out is whether Gaunt really does mean that he isn’t interested in working on mainstream radio ever again, because if he doesn’t he’s doing a very good job alienating programme directors! He said in a recent podcast he’d been approached by a BBC local radio station and offered a show, but had turned it down. There’s no doubt that this Podcast could be seen as the equivalent of a showreel, but frankly he doesn’t need one really. Everyone knows what you get if you take on Jon Gaunt. Radio needs big personalities and they don’t come much larger than life than him. I’ve always assumed that when the new batch of talkRadio DAB stations start next year he’d be offered a perch on one of those. Perhaps he already has and the Podcast is just a way of filling time between now and then and to get his name out there. Is this the future for all ex-Talk Radio presenters when we part company with our mainstream radio employers? I’m not sure it would be for me, but never say never. Especially when I am about to start a Political Books weekly podcast, but more of that anon.
Whatever the truth about Jon Gaunt’s motivations, and there’s part of me that can’t believe I am about to type this, it’s good to have him back.
I may not be able to give him the full five gold stars, so he’ll have to settle for four.
You can download the Jon Gaunt Podcast via iTunes or at his website. He is on Twitter @JonGaunt
General Election Predictions
2 May 2015 at 09:58
So, at long last I’ve completed my final election predictions, seat by seat, region by region. My final prediction is this…
Liberal Democrat 23
Plaid Cymru 4
Sinn Fein 5
If I am right, coalition government is virtually impossible unless the two main parties come together to form a Grand Coalition. The Conservatives, LibDems and DUP could only muster 308 between them. Even if you include UKIP they can only get to 313, ten shy of where they need to be. To be able to form a coalition the Tories need to be on at least 290 and the LibDems would need to get more seats than I predict they will.
For Labour, there is no coalition possibility at all now that Ed Miliband has ruled out any deal with the SNP. Even in a minority government, the combined Labour/SNP/Plaid/Green total is 326, which means it would be almost impossible to get any legislation through at all. Oh to be a whip in that scenario!
If this result happens, David Cameron will remain prime minister and put a Queen’s Speech forward and dare the Commons to vote it down.
Oh what fun lies ahead.
Here are the individual regional breakdowns. Just click on the links and you’ll see the seat by seat predictions.
Bedfordshire (0 changes)
Berkshire (0 changes)
Bristol & Surrounds (2 changes)
Buckinghamshire (0 change)
Cambridgeshire (0 changes)
Cheshire (0 changes)
Cornwall (1 change)
County Durham (0 changes)
Cumbria (0 changes)
Derbyshire (0 changes)
Devon (1 change)
Dorset (0 changes)
East Sussex (1 change)
Essex (2 changes)
Gloucestershire (1 change)
Hampshire (1 change)
Hampshire (0 changes)
Herefordshire & Worcestershire (0 changes)
Hertfordshire (1 change)
Kent (0 changes)
Kent (0 changes)
Lancashire (0 changes)
Leicestershire (0 changes)
Lincolnshire (1 change)
London Central (0 changes)
London East (0 changes)
London North East (0 changes)
London North West (0 changes)
London South (0 changes)
London South East (0 changes)
London South West (0 changes)
London West (0 changes)
Manchester (2 changes)
Merseyside (1 change)
Norfolk (1 change)
Northamptonshire (0 changes)
Northern Ireland (0 changes)
Northumberland (0 changes)
Nottinghamshire (0 changes)
Oxfordshire (0 changes)
Scotland (12 changes)
Shropshire (0 changes)
Somerset (0 changes)
Staffordshire (0 changes)
Suffolk (0 changes)
Surrey (0 changes)
Teesside (1 change)
Tyne & Wear (0 changes)
Wales Clwyd (0 changes)
Wales Dyfed (1 change)
Wales Gwent (0 changes)
Wales Gwynedd & Powys (0 changes)
Wales Mid Glamorgan (1 change)
Wales South Glamorgan (1 change)
Wales West Glamorgan (0 changes)
Warwickshire (0 changes)
West Midlands (1 change)
West Sussex (0 changes)
Wiltshire (1 change)
Yorkshire East & Humberside (0 changes)
Yorkshire North (0 changes)
Yorkshire South (0 changes)
Yorkshire West (0 changes)
UKIP Leader Nigel Farage tells Iain Dale on LBC 97.3 about being locked in a pub 'for his own safety' on the campaign trail in Scotland. After his event was gatecrashed by 'Scottish nationalists'.