Radio

It Shouldn't Happen to a Radio Presenter 13: "Should You Have Gone to Specsavers, Prime Minister?"

12 Sep 2013 at 17:37

Here’s the interview I did for my LBC Drivetime show today with the Prime Minister – who, before we went on air, urged me to blog more! Anyway, we covered the new scheme he was launching today to encourage new business start-ups, the row with Jose Manuel Barrosso (he expressed his huge annoyance at Barrosso’s comments about the Conservatives and UKIP) and then I asked him the all important question – should he have gone to Specsavers? It’s called keeping it real…

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale Discusses Page 3 With Tracey Crouch, Margaret Hodge & John Thurso

From the LBC Parliament hour. Should Page 3 be banned?

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Radio

Rachel Reeves Isn't Boring ... But She Can Be Very on Message!

10 Sep 2013 at 15:50

Apparently the Newsnight editor Ian Katz found Rachel Reeves a tad boring on Newsnight last night. I won’t comment on that, but it made me recall an interview I did with Rachel earlier in the year when she was, shall we say, very on message! Enjoy…

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale talks to Margaret Thatcher about the Royal Wedding

Lady Thatcher talks about what she expects from the Royal Wedding.

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Radio

It Shouldn't Happen to a Radio Presenter 12: When a Minister Won't Answer the Question...

9 Sep 2013 at 21:23

This evening I interviewed Treasury Minister Sajid Javid about the state of the economy. He pulled me up on an economic statistic I gave, so when he tried to pull the wool over my eyes, I responded in kind. Again. And again…

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale talks to Olivia Newton-John

Olivia Newton John discusses her new cook book and her career in entertainment.

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UK Politics

Sarah Teather - A Rather Sad, Pathetic Hypocrite

7 Sep 2013 at 22:16

So Sarah Teather is standing down from Parliament. I can’t say I’m sure she will be missed, even by many in her own party. She’s given a tear-jerking interview to the Observer’s Toby Helm, which you can read HERE, if you have a strong stomach.

She says she’s going because the LibDems no longer stand for social justice, which is a bit of a cheek when you think about it seeing as she voted for cuts in legal aid and against equal marriage. Rather oddly, Toby Helm doesn’t see fit to mention this in his long article. Perhaps Ms Teather set some preconditions for giving him the ‘exclusive’. Perish the thought. No, in reality she’s standing down because she knows she will lose her seat at the next election.

If I was a female MP I’d want to grab her by the lapels, pin her up against the wall and say “Thanks for nothing, sister.”

The truth is that she was never cut out for government. I was told a tale in June 2010 about her first day as a minister at the Department of Education. One of her fellow ministers walked past her ministerial office door, which was ajar. She was sitting at her desk, head in hands, looking a little tearfully at her red box. “What on earth is the matter, Sarah,” said the Tory Minister (OK, it was Tim Loughton). She looked up and rather plaintively sobbed: “I’m a Liberal Democrat. I don’t know what to do. We were never actually supposed to be in government.”

That just about sums her up. Pathetic.

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LBC Book Club: Iain talks to Lynda Bellingham

Lynda Bellingham talks about her new book 'Tell Me Tomorrow', surviving cancer and adoption.

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Video

Ever Wondered Why You Have to Switch Off Phones on Planes?

7 Sep 2013 at 01:23

Now you know…

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LBC Book Club: Iain talks to Amanda Prowse

Novelist Amanda Prowse talks about her new book CLOVER'S CHILD and much else besides!

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Diary

ConservativeHome Diary Week 21: UKIP - The Bi-Sexuals of British Politics

6 Sep 2013 at 15:46

READER WARNING: There’s more than the usual dose of smut in this week’s column.

This week I have been chairing three panels for the Daily Telegraph with the aim of compiling the Top 100 people on the right, left and the Top 50 Liberal Democrats, all of which will, as usual, be published during the three party conferences. Yes, snigger all you like about the latter. I usually do too. The biggest challenge is to actually find 50 LibDems to choose from.

The panellists are a mixture of MPs, activists and commentators, and believe me, the discussions can become very heated indeed. On the Tory panel there was a particularly spirited discussion about whether Maria Miller should be promoted from 78 in last year’s list. One of the MPs was adamant that she deserved a massive promotion on the basis of her performances at the Despatch Box. “I’ve watched her perform really well with shitty briefs,” she said. After a moment of stunned silence in which we all took time to contemplate the implications of that statement, we all corpsed. “What have I said?” asked the MP in all innocence.

One of the other panellists, an MP’s researcher, proceeded to irritate us all with her precocious certainty about her opinions, interrupting everyone at every possible opportunity. “The Home Office gave me a prison,” she said at one point. “No,” I said. “They built a prison in your MP’s constituency.” But that wasn’t the end of it. It was all about her. It was when she blithely told one of the other panellists he was shit at his job that I am afraid I let my irritation show. “Blimey,” I said to one of the MPs at the end of the meeting. “She’s like what Liz Truss would be like after half an hour on a crack pipe.” She’ll go far.


Someone said to me this week they loved reading my ConservativeHome columns as they couldn’t wait to see how I would deliberately antagonise the site’s UKIP supporting readers or those with a particular issue with homosexuality. As if I would do that. By the way, have you read my column in Attitude Magazine (it’s a magazine for gayers) on bisexuality? No? Well I have helpfully reproduced it on my blog. In a way you could describe many UKIP voters as the bisexuals of UK politics. They don’t quite know whether they are Arthur or Martha. Instinctively they are still Conservatives, but they fancy a walk on the wild side. The question is, once they have satisfied their self-indulgent desires or perversions, will they return to the comforting fleshy folds of the mother party? We may have to wait until 2015 to find out.


For a politics and football obsessed individual like me, transfer deadline day is only ever surpassed by reshuffles. There are quite a few similarities between the two. Think of it this way. Can Manchester United really get rid of Ed Balls or can Ed Miliband really do without Wayne Rooney? Remember all those Labour reshuffles when they couldn’t quite find a paid ministerial job for Carlton Cole? It’s the same at West Ham, who, a day late, found a place for Michael Wills. At every reshuffle David Cameron tries desperately to get rid of Nicholas Bendtner, but never quite succeed. In the same way, Arsenal do the same with John Hayes. Rising Conservative Party star Ricardo Vaz Te demands a transfer, as does West Ham forward Nick Boles. Both end up staying put. And I could go on. But I get the feeling some of you are probably shaking your head in total and utter bemusement. Politics, eh? Bloody hell.


Talking of reshuffles, I gather the Tory reshuffle has yet again been postponed. It was put off originally in July when David Cameron rightly thought that backbenchers were in such a good mood, it seemed a pity to spoil it. But I have learned that the reshuffle was slated for last Monday but was shelved at the last minute on Sunday lunchtime. Why? I have absolutely no idea. If it’s going to happen you’d have thought it would need to happen while Parliament is still sitting and well before the party conferences. Perhaps it might happen today or next Monday.


Talking of gay marriage, which I wasn’t, but I know you want me to, Aussie PM Kevin Rudd had a Jed Bartlett moment on the issue during an election campaign Q&A. What’s a Jed Bartlett moment, I hear you cry? Well, scroll down the homepage of this blog and you’ll see.

If you’ve never seen The West Wing, that short clip demonstrates why it is the greatest political TV series ever made. Anyway, I digress. Have a look at Kevin Rudd’s equivalent. It may be less dramatic, but it is no less effective. That’s also on the front page.

Much as I agree with him, and disagree with his Liberal opponent Tony Abbott on this issue, I could never support Rudd, who is one of the biggest charlatans in world politics. Abbott hardly inspires confidence, but knowing how brutal Australian politics is, he’ll probably win the election and then be overthrown. Bronwyn Bishop for PM!


Last weekend I watched an action film called OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN. The plot is very simple. North Korean terrorists attack the White House. It’s very much in the mode of INDEPENDENCE DAY and if you like your presidential politics and action movies you’ll love this. Apparently there’s a competitor film called WHITE HOUSE DOWN with a similar plot, so I’ll have to make sure I put that on order. The Americans do these apocalyptic type movies so well, and the special effects are out of this world.

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LBC Book Club: Iain Dale talks to horror writer James Herbert

James Herbert talks about his latest book ASH and his career as Britain's leading horror writer.

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UK Politics

Quote of the day: David Aaronovitch

5 Sep 2013 at 10:45

And in this moment of crisis it became clear — as it does — what Mr Miliband is. A personable man (and he is a very pleasant companion), politically he is not a presence at all, he is an absence. He is Oedipal Ed, the negator of the unpopular actions of the fathers; the anti-Blair, the non-Brown. His technique for victory to is follow behind the leader, wait for a slip-up and exploit his or her mistakes. He did it to his brother. He hopes to do it to David Cameron. He is neither hunter nor prey, he is scavenger. He is a political vulture. Mission creep? His mission is all about creeping.

David Aaronovitch, On Ed Miliband, 5 Sep 2013

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Iain has a Testy Encounter with a Member of the Fire Brigades Union

Iain takes Laurie Brightman to task over the Fire Strike.

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Video

Kevin Rudd Does a Jed Bartlet

5 Sep 2013 at 09:48

I don’t like Kevin Rudd, but you have to hand it to him here. He does a Jed Bartlet on an unsuspecting pastor, who asks him a question on gay marriage. Rudd destroys him. And if you don’t know what I mean by a Jed Bartlett moment click on this and you soon will.

It’s why the West Wing remains the greatest political TV series of all time and will never be surpassed.

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale looks at TWIGHLIGHT & Teenage Obsessions

Are teenage obsessions healthy? Iain Dale interviews his sister Tracey and 13 year old Philly and talks to teenagers waiting for the Premiere of Twighlight who were camping out in Leicester Square.

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Personal

Attitude Column: Are You or Have You Ever Been a Bisexual?

3 Sep 2013 at 11:49

Inside the mind of every bisexual is a gay man struggling to get out. At least, that’s the view of many. It’s a widely held view that bisexuals are people who either want the best of both worlds, or, who are still too scared to embrace their inner gayness because they are on hold in some sort of mid-way sexuality transit lounge.

At the end of June, Tory MP Daniel Kawczynski announced to his local constituency party that he was bisexual. So far as I know, no MP has ever done that. To his utter astonishment, the thirty people present rose as one and gave him a standing ovation. I wondered at the time whether they would have done that if he had said he was gay.

It is commonly thought there are degrees of bisexuality. On a scale of sexuality where 0 means completely straight and 100 means completely gay, a bisexual, could, I suppose, be anywhere in between. Are you bisexual if you have had a one off tryst with the same sex? Does that mean you are at 10 on that scale, or can you be bisexual if you are 95% gay but still appreciate the curves of a female? . I can still appreciate a women’s breasts, yet my partner says he never notices them. Does that me more of a bisexual than him?

I suppose a true bisexual is someone who is at 50 on that scale and doesn’t have a particular preference one way or the other.

I always knew I was gay, but I was 28 until I did anything about it. Times were different back then. I had numerous girlfriends, but when it came down to “it”, I pulled away. That’s not to say I didn’t find women sexually attractive or didn’t do anything, short of “it”. I did, but I always knew I didn’t want “it”. I think most gay men have experimented with a woman “just to be sure”, and who can blame them, but experimentation does not a bisexual make.

I think there are comparatively few people who are what I would call ‘genuine’ bisexuals. Simon Hughes may or may not be one of them, but the Liberal Democrat deputy leader seems to be a politician who can’t quite seem to get out of the transit lounge. Should we blame him for that, should gay men criticise him because he can’t bring himself to admit what most people assume he is – gay? Not at all.

In the end sexuality is something very personal. It is something that most people don’t have to speak publicly about and declare their sexuality to the world. Hopefully the day will soon dawn when it is exactly the same for politicians. It would be nice to think that many a shoulder will be shrugged when a politician declares himself or herself to be gay. But even in these days of so-called sexual liberation, politicians’ sexualities are still phenomena which set the media and political worlds a-tittering and a twittering.

Daniel Kawczynski will feel a weight has been lifted from his shoulders. Yes, he will be the subject of gossip at Westminster, but that goes with the territory. There will be members of his family, long term friends who feel let down by the fact that he hasn’t been honest with them. But in the end they will realise that for people of a certain age, these things are incredibly difficult.

I was 40 when I came out to my family, although most of my friends in London knew. Two of my best friends, who I had known since university days didn’t, and it was one of the hardest things I had to do when I told them that I had been lying to them for the best part of twenty years. It turned out that both of them had guessed anyway, but even so, I found it very difficult to get the words out without blubbing.

In twenty years’ time I really believe that no politician will have to come out of the closet, because the closet door will have been open for years. And if there really has been as much progress as I hope, no newspaper will be remotely interested in a politician’s sexual proclivities. I can but live in hope.

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LBC Book Club: Iain Dale talks to Paul Gascoigne

Gazza discusses his latest book of memories.

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Media

A Tribute to Sir David Frost

1 Sep 2013 at 13:22

Sir David Frost, who died this morning, will go down in history as one of the greatest interviewers and journalists of his generation – perhaps of all time. His laconic style hid a forensic brain, determined to get to the truth. He didn’t believe in confrontation as a form of interview, he didn’t believe in constant interruption. He believed that if you let your interviewee talk, they might just say something of interest and not put the shutters up. Kay Burley said this morning that he believed the best three questions and interviewer has at his or disposal are “Ah”, “Really?” and “Oh, do go on”. I think he had a point.

Sir David was a risk taker and an innovator. He was as comfortable interviewing Hollywood celebrities as he was prime ministers and presidents. He could host a game show, turn his hand to satire and then the next day present an election programme.

I first got to know Sir David when he would come into Politico’s, buy a few books and want to have a gossip over the counter. He had no airs and graces. He felt a friend from the first minute you met him, and there aren’t many people who can achieve that. I then reviewed the papers a couple of times on ‘Breakfast With Frost’. The first time, I was incredibly nervous. It was the biggest TV programme I had been on at that point, and it was the weekend before the Iraq war started. I was on with Polly Toynbee and Trigger from Only Fools & Horses. As we sat down on the sofa, he leaned over, touched my knee and winked. He said nothing, but that one, thoughtful act did more than any words ever could to calm my nerves. The next time I was on, it was with Helena Kennedy. The programme started at 9, but at 8.45 there was no sign of Sir David. No one seemed to be remotely concerned. Sure enough, five minutes later he arrived looking, it has to be said, rather out of it. But as soon as the red light went on it was “Hello, good morning and welcome” and off we went. He was the ultimate showman.

In 100 years time there is little doubt that his enduring legacy will be the Nixon interviews. He gambled everything, including his own personal fortune, on those interviews. The fact that they were turned into a theatre show and then a movie tells us all we need to know about their historical importance.

Let me leave you with two personal memories. One came early on in my days at LBC. I wish I could remember what it was about, but I found myself interviewing Sir David about something or other. I started by feeling very intimidated, but he immediately put me right at my ease – when it should have been the other way around. And then a few months later I got an email from him (I’ve tried to find it, but can’t). He said he often listened to my programme in the car (he used to present on LBC) and he had liked an interview I’d done the previous night. I could not have been more proud.

I won’t pretend he was a close personal friend, but I can truly say I am proud to have known him.

His interviewing skills are really on show in this 1969 interview with Enoch Powell

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Video: Iain Interviews Lady Thatcher

Well, it's really Steve Nallon!

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