Radio

LISTEN: My 'Media Masters' Interview - My Career in Radio, Books & What Really Happened on Brighton Seafront!

14 Jul 2016 at 21:29

You can download the Podcast through iTunes HERE or stream it HERE

One of the podcasts I subscribe to is the Media Masters Podcast hosted by Paul Blanchard. He interviews people in the media who, according to him, are “at the top of their game”. He spends 45-60 minutes with them, talking about their careers and experience. I’ve become addicted to it as he really draws things out of people. Recent interviewees have included Alastair Campbell, Sir Trevor McDonald, Jacqui Smith, Nick Ross, Sir Martin Sorrell, Katie Hopkins, Lynton Crosby and Jeremy Vine.

So when Paul asked me to do an interview I was thrilled. Anyway, the interview was published today. We cover quite a lot of ground including starting out in financial journalism, Politico’s, Total Politics, Biteback, standing for Parliament, my work at LBC and much else besides. I talk for the first time about what really happened on Brighton seafront too! Here’s how Paul promotes it…

Iain Dale is a political commentator, writer and publisher; presenter of LBC’s drivetime show, and MD of current affairs publisher Biteback. In this in-depth interview, he talks candidly about his career highs and lows; reveals he partly blames himself for David Davis losing the Conservative leadership election; explains how he prepares for his daily LBC show; reminisces about founding Total Politics magazine, and criticises Dods for “running it into the ground”; and discusses in detail the legal issues surrounding his televised ‘seaside scuffle’ with a nuclear campaigner.

You can download the Podcast through iTunes HERE or stream it HERE

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Iain Interviews Harvey Proctor

Proctor denies the allegations against him

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It Shouldn't Happen to a Radio Presenter 48: When to Kill With Kindness, Rather Than Lose Your Temper

12 Jul 2016 at 22:29

This evening I spent an hour on my LBC show discussing David Cameron’s legacy. I have to admit I wasn’t prepared for David in Croydon. He said Cameron had converted him from Labour and thought he was a great leader, apart from one thing – gay marriage. I don’t think he knew who he was talking to. He described it as a stain on his Premiership.

As a presenter who is paid to be opinionated you have a choice in these circumstances. You can do one of two things. Lose your temper and get angry, or remain calm and smother the caller with kindness and logic. I chose the latter course. Listen and judge for yourself if I was right to do so.

If you don’t want to listen to the whole 4 minute conversation above, here’s the key minute on video.

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How Bad Is TTIP?

Iain rips into the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership

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UK Politics

Mrs May's Cabinet Dilemmas - Whoever She Appoints, the Balance Will Be Heavily In Favour of Remain

12 Jul 2016 at 10:00

Theresa May didn’t expect to have to appoint her Cabinet until after September 9th. Instead, she has to start the process on Wednesday afternoon. It won’t be an easy task. All prime ministers seek to appoint a balanced Cabinet, but previous Prime Ministers didn’t have the Leave v Remain dilemma. She knows if she doesn’t get this right, she will get off to a very dodgy start. But in reality, her Cabinet is unlikely to have a 50-50 split of Leavers and Remainers. The numbers just do not add up. All eyes will be on who she appoints to the main roles, by which I mean Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Chief EU Negotiator.

I hope and expect that Theresa May will get rid of all the Cabinet hangers on, by which I mean that myriad of ministers who are not full members of the Cabinet, but have the right to attend. Tony Blair started to appoint ministers in this way in order to placate their ambitions. David Cameron sadly continued to do so. Theresa May will get plaudits if she ends the practice.

In the current Cabinet I’d expect several ministers to either voluntarily lay down their portfolios or be asked to do so. Some, like Patrick McLoughlin, may well think they’ve had a good innings, while others such as Michael Gove may be required to depart the scene. It all depends how radical a carve-up Theresa May wants to have. She should remember that prime ministers are never more powerful than in their first hundred days. Stamp your own mark on your government as you may not get the chance to do so again.

So let’s look at the current Cabinet and speculate as to who might stay, will definitely stay or who might go…

Will Definitely Stay in the Cabinet
Stephen Crabb
Chris Grayling
Sajid Javid
Baroness Stowell
Alun Cairns
Amber Rudd
David Mundell
Mark Harper

Might Well Stay
Philip Hammond
Jeremy Hunt
Justine Greening
Nicky Morgan
Theresa Villiers
Liz Truss
Greg Clark
Oliver Letwin

Might Well Leave the Cabinet
George Osborne
Michael Gove
Michael Fallon
Patrick McLoughlin
John Whittingdale

There are six other Ministers of State who have the right to attend Cabinet. They are Baroness Anelay, Robert Halfon, Anna Soubry, Priti Patel, Greg Hands, Matthew Hancock and the Attorney General Jeremy Wright. I expect Priti Patel to be the only one of this bunch to be promoted to the full Cabinet. I also think that Jeremy Wright might be replaced by Dominic Grieve.

It is likely that Theresa May will wish to reward some of her campaign team, Damian Green being the most obvious example. She is said to think highly of Immigration Minister James Brokenshire. He is even being tipped to replace her as Home Secretary. His main downside is that he is yet another Remainer.

And then there’s the Boris issue. This is perhaps her most difficult call. What job do you give the man who only ten days ago assumed he’d be the one doling out the jobs himself? Too junior a job and he may say no, and yet surely he needs to prove himself in a middle ranking job before he can expect to be promoted to one of the major offices of state. Local Government & Communities might seem a good fit.

The other issue is who to put in charge of the EU negotiations. At the moment it would be a Cabinet Office job, but I hope Theresa May decides to split out trade from Business, Innovation & Skills, and also puts universities back where it belongs, under the remit of the Education Secretary. It’s possible she might even abolish Culture, Media & Sport and put it all into Business. Chris Grayling is spoken of as the front runner for the EU Negotiation position, but don’t rule out Peter Lilley, Liam Fox or David Davis. Indeed, I think one if not both of them may well be in her Cabinet assuming she thinks she can trust either of them.

I also wonder whether she might promote Tracey Crouch to the Cabinet at DCMS (wishful thinking on my part, maybe) and possibly also bring back Maria Miller and/or Caroline Spelman. If she did all three she’d get very close to a 50-50 men/women split!

So, how about this for Theresa May’s first Cabinet?

Prime Minister: Theresa May
Chancellor: Philip Hammond
Foreign Secretary: David Davis or Liam Fox
Chief Secretary: Andrea Leadsom
Home Secretary: Jeremy Hunt
Cabinet Office/EU: Chris Grayling
Party Chairman: Justine Greening
Business: Sajid Javid
Justice: Greg Clark
Transport: Brandon Lewis
Education: Nicky Morgan
Health: Mark Harper
Scotland: David Mundell
Wales: Alun Cairns
Northern Ireland: Theresa Villiers
Chief Whip Damian Green
Defence: Boris Johnson
Work & Pensions: Stephen Crabb
Leader of the House of Commons Sir Alan Duncan
International Development Priti Patel
Culture, Media & Sport: James Brokenshire
Local Government & Communities: Maria Miller
Attorney General: Dominic Grieve
DECC: Amber Rudd
DEFRA: Liz Truss
Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Stowell

That’s 26 people around the Cabinet table but only 6 of them Leavers. Even if Michael Gove is retained and both David Davis and Liam Fox are included that would only give a balance of 18-8. Hardly a balance. The problem is that if you look down the list of Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State there are very few Leave supporters, and of them, there are not many you’d put into the Cabinet.

Last time there was a Cabinet reshuffle I got 14 out of 20 appointments right, rather better than anyone else. Lightning doesn’t strike twice, so I suspect I won’t repeat that. But you can see how difficult it will be for Theresa May to balance her government right from the off.

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Iain interview Simon Heffer about English Grammar

Simon Heffer talks about his book on English grammar

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Conservative Politics

The Challenges Facing Theresa May

11 Jul 2016 at 14:13

I tweeted this earlier…


And no, I wasn’t referring to the fact that within six minutes Labour had sent out two press releases, one calling for an immediate general election and the second announcing a Labour Party leadership contest.

As of now, we effectively have a new Prime Minister. With Andrea Leadsom quitting the race Theresa May is about to be crowned leader of the Conservative Party and Prime Minister. While I feel that Andrea Leadsom has been treated appallingly by a blood-thirsty media I do think she has done the right thing by quitting the race. Yes there will be siren voices among the Conservative Party membership who cannot reconcile themselves to the fact they won’t have been ale to vote in a proper contest, but in the end it’s surely in the national interest to have this settled now.

As I write this, Sky News are speculating that Theresa May could be in Number Ten by the end of the day. It’s possible but unlikely, I’d have thought. Surely it makes sense for her to have a few days to gather her thoughts and plan her administration. I doubt whether she’s thought very deeply about that up to now. Also, it means David Cameron would do a final PMQs on Wednesday as his prime ministerial swansong. So I suspect Theresa May will take over the reins on Thursday or Friday.

So what kind of Prime Minister will Theresa May be, and will she be tempted or pressured into calling an early general election. Let’s deal with that one first. In these circumstances all opposition parties call for an election. Labour did in 1963. The Tories did in 1976. Labour did in 1990. The Tories did in 2007. There is no constitutional precedent for it at all. We all know Gordon Brown nearly called an election in 2007 but chickened out. With the state the Labour Party is in, Theresa May wouldn’t be human if she wasn’t tempted, but there is the small matter of the Fixed Term Parliament Act which slightly gets in the way. There would need to be a 66% vote of MPs for a general election – that is 429 MPs. Would all Labour MPs act like turkeys voting for Christmas? Difficult to say. I’m not sure the SNP would like one, and the LibDems couldn’t afford one. Having said that, Tim Farron has called for one and it’s possible the LibDems could see a mini-revival.

Theresa May will be a very different kind of Prime Minister to David Cameron. While she bought into much of his modernising agenda, she is actually much more of a traditional Conservative than most people think. She is conservative rather than a Conservative, by which I mean she is wary of dramatic change rather than holding socially conservative views. She’s a Baldwin rather than a Thatcher, and I don’t mean that as in insult. She will test a case to destruction before embarking on radical change. Her premiership will be dominated by Brexit and she knows it is what she will be judged upon. This is why her Cabinet appointments are so important, especially the four main roles – Chancellor, Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary and the person who will head up the Brexit negotiations and new trade talks.

As of now I doubt Theresa May has decided herself who she wants to appoint to these roles, and that’s the reason she shouldn’t take over as Prime Minister until later in the week. Appoint in haste, repent at leisure. Predicting what she will do is a mug’s game, but I will make the following observations. I cannot see how either George Osborne or Philip Hammond can be appointed to any of these roles, with the possible exception of Home Secretary. The Sunday newspapers suggested she might offer that role to Michael Gove, but I find that difficult to believe given their history. If Gove remains in the Cabinet at all, it would surely be in his current role as Justice Secretary, where he is doing good work on prison reform. Speculation is rife that both David Davis and Liam Fox might be offered roles in her government. Fox covets the job of Foreign Secretary, while Davis was tipped by several Sunday papers to head up the Brexit negotiations. It seems to me that these three roles – Chancellor, Foreign Secretary & Brexit negotiator – have to be held by Brexiteers. The only exception I would make to that would be if David Cameron would agree to serve as Foreign Secretary. As I wrote on Friday in my ConHome Diary, there is some historical precedent for this, although I don’t think it is at all likely.

Some new Prime Ministers bloom in office, others wither. Gordon Brown had a spectacular first three months and then it all got on top of him. Theresa May needs to learn the art of delegation. It’s something she has never been good at. Ask any minister who has served under her. She’s always been on top of her brief, but has looked less certain when answering questions which are off it. We saw a little of that earlier this morning when she took questions from journalists after her campaign launch in Birmingham. She really does need to become Theresa of all trades rather than mistress of one.

Theresa May has a good team surrounding her. She’s brought back her three former special advisers, Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill. They are all deeply loyal to her (read Norman Baker’s book AGAINST THE GRAIN for the proof) and all highly capable. Expect them all to take on senior roles in Number Ten.

Who knows where we will be by the end of the day. For Theresa May it’s the most exciting day of her life. It’s probably also the most frightening. Whenever we step up to a big job we all have moments of self-doubt, and Theresa May will be no different to anyone else. Whatever our political views, everyone should be wishing her all the luck in the world.

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Iain talks to Andrew Marrr

Andrew Marr talks about his second novel, the media and politics

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Personal

21 Things I'd Like to Do, But (Almost Certainly) Never Will

9 Jul 2016 at 16:00

I have very few regrets in my life. I don’t really believe in ‘what ifs’ or looking back with a degree of wistfulness, but this ‘bucket list’ with a difference gives a clue to what some of my regrets might be, as well as list a few things that were always going to unfulfilled dreams. I suppose fifteen of them are still theoretically possible, but I’ll leave it to you to work out which they are!

  • Present my own TV Political Chat Show
  • Play for West Ham
  • Work in Washington DC
  • Live in Switzerland
  • Appear on Desert Island Discs
  • Spend a month skiing
  • Attend the White House Correspondents Dinner
  • To make documentaries like Michael Cockerell’s
  • Learn to speak Dutch
  • Write a novel
  • Be Secretary of State for Transport
  • Get a single figure golf handicap
  • Become a director of West Ham United
  • Write a multi-volume biography of a leading politician
  • Spend a month touring all the US Presidential Libraries
  • Buy holiday homes in Germany, Switzerland, France, Florida and Italy
  • Visit the Falkland Islands
  • Perform at the Edinburgh Fringe
  • Have a weekly multi-story column in a national newspaper
  • Host my own own music radio show
  • Play Augusta

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Iain Takes on the Man who Egged Ed Miliband

Iain has a testy encounter with Dean Porter, who that day had egged Ed Miliband.

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Diary

ConHome Diary: So It's A Tory All Woman Shortlist!

8 Jul 2016 at 13:54

I was at a party on Wednesday night celebrating the 60th birthday of a Tory Party politician. Oh alright then, it was Andrew Mitchell. It was quite a do. I was amused to be approached at one point by a veteran of David Davis’s leadership of 2005 who was looking rather pleased with himself. “Why so happy?” I asked. “Oh, nothing really, it’s just so nice to see Nick Boles get his comeuppance after all these years.” I presumed he was talking about the texts Nick had been sending to Tory MPs in a rather desperate attempt to get Michael Gove onto the ballot, but I couldn’t really work out why this MP thought it was a “comeuppance”. “Don’t you remember?” he asked. “It was Boles who coordinated the spinning effort against David Davis’s conference speech in Blackpool?” I do remember it but hadn’t cottoned on at the time. I remember seeing him with some journalists after the speech but it hadn’t occurred to me just what was being said. I do, however, remember how the Westminster lobby slated what most people initially regarded as a perfectly acceptable speech, if not a spectacular one. Indeed, since then, several lobby journalists have spoken to me about it and admitted they all behaved like sheep. I didn’t carp about it then and I don’t now. It was a brilliant bit of spinning by the Cameron team and it’s hardly their fault if the political lobby acted like sheep. It wasn’t the first time and it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
*
Andrea Leadsom has come under scrutiny like no other leadership candidate. Clearly someone is rather afraid of her and her agenda. Some of the media commentary has been astonishing. In some ways she has done well to survive it. The worst that she has been accused of is making some slightly injudicious comments on an old blog, written long before she became an MP, and of slightly embellishing her CV. Jesus, just as well she had never betrayed her best political friend, eh? By contrast, the media has paid very little attention to anything in Theresa May’s past, and concentrated on printing a series of glowing profiles, ignoring any failures in her political career. Now there’s a reason for that. So far as I can see with Theresa what you see is what you get. There’s no side to her, there’s no real failure in her political career. Even in six years as Home Secretary you can’t really put your finger on any major failure of policy. Of course, not everything has gone to plan but compared to her predecessors in that office, everything has run comparatively smoothly. And that is why she’s considered a safe pair of hands. Andrea Leadsom’s main problem is that this leadership election will not result in the next leader of the opposition, with a couple of years to play themselves in, the winner immediately becomes prime minister. Both candidates would be learning on the job to a certain extent, but even her most diehard fan would have to admit that electing Andrea would be a more of a risk than electing Theresa, and that is the primary reason why Theresa is so far ahead in the voting.
*

Tony Blair’s conference on Wednesday, in response to the release of the Chilcot Report, was quite something. It lasted two hours. He answered every question the press wanted to ask, until they were exhausted. It was a typical Blair tour de force. The hand gestures. The furrowed brow. The subliminal message of “I want you to like me” was permanently present. His voice had become almost childlike. Imploring. He sounded almost in tears as he croaked away. His hair had turned a very strange colour. Brown on top, almost totally grey at the sides. But I tell you what, I still believe that if he had been leader of the Labour Party at the last election, they could well have won. The Westminster bubble totally misjudges public opinion on Tony Blair. They’ve bought into this narrative that Jeremy Corbyn has been spinning – that he is public enemy number one. That may be the case in the liberal salons of Islington. Out there in the country he’s still seen as a towering figure.
*
On what planet do Labour MPs think Angela Eagle is the best person to challenge Jeremy Corbyn? I like her. She’s a transparently nice woman, but a party leader? Tough enough to survive three months of abuse from Momentum? I doubt it very much.
*

So Tory MP James Gray, a supporter of Andrea Leadsom, described her to one of my colleagues as “a great girl.” Andrea Leadsom is 53.
*
So as Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom embark on their two month tour of the country to drum up support from party members, political journalists are no doubt going to start imagining what a Theresa May government would look like. Few of them expect anything other than a May victory. Well here are a few suggestions…
1. Cut the size of the Cabinet. Go back to a Cabinet of 22 members and abolish all these people “who have the right to attend Cabinet”.
2. Create a new enhanced Department of Trade, separate from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills. Appoint a senior Brexiteer to head it up (Peter Lilley, David Davis or the like) and lead the EU negotiations and give it a remit to negotiate as many trade agreements as possible. Make it the department the best civil servants aspire to work in.
3. Abolish the DCMS and include it in a new Department of Business & Industry. Put universities back to the Department of Education.
4. Make sure it is a government of all the talents. Bring back wise old heads and make clear that the 2015 intake will need to wait their turn and earn their promotion. Bring back Dominic Grieve as Attorney General. Appoint Damian Green to the Cabinet. Clear out some of the ‘dead wood’. I’ll leave you to imagine who I am referring to!
The biggest call Theresa May is going to have to make is what to do about George Osborne and Michael Gove. They may decide they don’t wish to serve under her, but if they do she’s got two big decisions to make. Osborne surely wouldn’t accept anything less than Chancellor or Foreign Secretary, but can a Remainer really hold either of those posts if the PM is a Remainer too? If Michael Gove is to stay in the Cabinet, I suggest continuing his innovative prison reforms should be the priority and he should stay at Justice, but I rather fear that Mrs May might well think that she can do without Michael Gove’s talents at all. It would be a big all on her part, and leave a powerful enemy languishing on the back benches, but it’s difficult to see them working well together given their past history. As I say, a big call.
*

In any other circumstances I’d also be suggesting that David Cameron becomes Foreign Secretary, just as Sir Alec Douglas Home did in 1970 under Ted Heath. He’d be very good at the job, but in the current circumstances I doubt whether a) he’d want to stay in someone else’s Cabinet and b) whether Brexiters would be able to stomach it.

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LBC Book Club: Iain talks to Sir Nicholas Barrington

Iain talks to Sir Nicholas Barrington about his book on his time in the Foreign Office.

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Diary

Attitude Column: I'm Just Sooooo Offended!

7 Jul 2016 at 09:40

“I’ve never been so offended in all my life.” How many times have we heard that increasingly irritating phrase in recent times? Being offended has almost become a national sport in this country. The slightest off colour remark can provoke howls of outrage from people who ought to know better. There’s no law to protect people from being offended, and nor should there be if we value free speech.

I doubt there’s a gay man or woman in existence who hasn’t been offended by an homophobic remark that they have been the target of or they’ve heard. But most of us get over it. We shake our heads in sadness that there are still bigots out there, we may sometimes to try educate people out of their ways but in the end we put it down to experience and move on.
In the end we have to make a differentiation between freedom of speech and hate speech. On my LBC radio show I often get a torrent of texts and tweets from people who don’t approve of my lifestyle. I’d love to think there will come a day when this sort of thing doesn’t happen, but I doubt whether I will live to see it. Perhaps I have become immune to it, but none of it offends or upsets me. It just makes me a bit sad. All I can do in my job, is do it to the best of my ability. I always say to people who describe me as a ‘gay radio presenter’ that I’m not. I am a radio presenter who happens to be gay. I don’t resile from my sexuality. It is a part of who I am, but it doesn’t define me or what I do.

Only once have I thought a caller to my show went beyond the norm of what was within the bounds of free speech. She was a muslim who actively supported ISIS killing gay people by throwing them off buildings. What on earth do you say to someone like that? She was 22. I told her that her parents should be ashamed of themselves for bringing her up with that short of set of beliefs. Several of my callers told me I should have reported her to the Police. I suppose what she said was allowable within the bounds of free speech, but clearly many of my listeners were offended. It’s very rare that anyone makes homophobic remarks on air, but on twitter and text it’s quite common.

I could spend most of my life being offended if I wanted to, but in the end, life is too short. The very uttering of the phrase “I find that offensive” effectively means that you want to silence the person who has supposedly offended you. Jews, muslims, gays and feminists may not have much in common but they are often on the same page in demanding retribution in the form of bans, penalties and censorship of those who supposedly hurt their feelings.

I say, grow up. People have died so we can retain some semblance of freedom of speech. Each time politicians pass laws which impinge on freedom of speech a small part of democracy dies.

I’ve just published a short polemical book by Claire Fox, one of the stars of The Moral Maze called “I Find That Offensive”. Anyone who things laws banning offensive remarks are a good idea should read it. Fox takes on those who seem to regard taking offence as a professional pastime. She concludes that we should make a virtue out of the right to offend.
I mean, we’ve even got to the point where students – poor dears – have become obsessed by the idea of ‘safe spaces’, where no one can say anything which another might take exception to. In some universities LGBT students are even demanding LGBT only accommodation. Utter idiocy. What a great way to build more barriers and for gay people to become more isolated. Let’s go the whole hog and have student accommodation blocks only for muslims. Or only for Asians. Total madness.

Tell you what, if I were straight or white, I’d find that damned offensive. And you see, therein lies the conundrum.

This article first appeared in Attitude Magazine

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LBC Book Club: Iain Dale talks to Joan Collins

Joan Collins discusses her book THE WORLD ACCORDING TO JOAN.

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World Politics

Why I Feel Duped Over Iraq and Why Chilcot Isn't a Whitewash

6 Jul 2016 at 13:11

In twenty short but utterly devastating minutes Sir John Chilcot laid bare the errors of judgement, the errors of policy and errors of implementation that led to what I am now content to say was Britain’s biggest foreign policy misjudgement since Suez.

At the time, I believed in it. I supported the invasion of Iraq. Like many others, I was duped. I was duped because I chose to believe my Prime Minister when he said that he had access to intelligence that I did not. I believe his assessment of that intelligence. Call me a fool if you like, but if we have reached a stage in our public discourse when I, as a citizen of this country, can’t believe the word of our prime minister on matters of intelligence, then we have reached a pretty pass.

Sir John tells us that Tony Blair told George Bush 8 months before the invasion that he would be with him “whatever”. That one small word is a word which a responsible British prime minister would never utter. I am a strong supporter of the transatlantic alliance but the only way a politician utters such a word is when he is a supplicant.

Staying close to a US president to influence him is maybe a good thing. But when that influence translates into supplicancy it leads to the kind of report we have heard today. We also learnt that the UK government went to war without exploring all peaceful means for resolving the conflict. Perhaps Margaret Thatcher could have been accused of that in the Falklands, but that was a war protecting the interests of British people. Was this? Not when we are told that Mr Blair was warned about the terrorist consequences of military action.

Chilcot maintains that policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed assessments of intelligence – the intelligence services weren’t challenged and they should have been. Members of the cabinet did not even question Blair, according to Sir John Chilcot. What kind of supplicant cabinet did we have if they didn’t even question the intelligence of Blair’s conclusions? Sir John accuses Blair of claiming Saddam Hussein had WMD with a certainty that was not justified. That’s the closes he came to accusing Blair of lying.

No one can accuse Sir John Chilcot’s report of being a whitewash. No one can say it’s an establishment stitch up. It is neither of these things. It is a devastating analysis of the failure of the entire British government system and British foreign policy. And I say this only knowing the main conclusions it draws. I say this without having read the executive summary let alone the full 2.6 million words. Those responsible for these failures – and I am talking primarily about Tony Blair and Jack Straw – need to acknowledge their failures and give sincere apologies for their actions. Perhaps then the families of the 179 servicemen and women who died can find it in themselves, maybe not to forgive them, but to have a better understanding of why the politicians acted in the way that they did.

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale's Tribute to Sir Simon Milton

Sir Simon Milton's death saddened the whole of London. Iain pays tribute to him.

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Conservative Politics

Conservative Leadership Runners & Riders: LIAM FOX

4 Jul 2016 at 23:19

FULL NAME: Liam Fox
BORN: 22 September 1961, East Kilbride
AGE: 54
EDUCATION: St Brides High School, University of Glasgow Medical School
STATUS: Married to Jesme Baird
FIRST ELECTED: 1992
CONSTITUENCY: Woodspring, North Somerset
EXPERIENCE: Government Whip 1993-6, Foreign Office Minister 1996-7, Shadow Cabinet 1998-2010 including Health, Party Chairman and Defence. Secretary of State for Defence May 2010-October 2011.
OTHER EXPERIENCE: General Practitioner 1983-92
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “Is the flight to Washington on time?”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: “We’re spending far too much money on defence.”
FAMOUS QUOTES: “The era of nuclear terrorism has arrived.” “If Iran becomes a nuclear weapon state it is the end of non-proliferation as we know it.” “New Labour was the most short-sighted, self-serving, incompetent, useless, and ineffective government that Britain has ever known. Make no mistake, Labour’s economic policies were a national security liability.”
STRENGTHS: Ideological certainty, public speaking, experience, foreign policy knowledge
WEAKNESSES: Memories of his resignation, lack of public supporters among MPs
MAIN ADVISERS: David Goss
MAIN ALLIES: Robert Goodwill, Sir Gerald Howarth
LADBROKES ODDS: 100/1

SCOREBOARD

Experience: 6.8
Negotiating Skills: 6.0
Star Quality: 5.0
Likeability: 5.2
Ability to take the fight to Labour: 6.3
Economic Competence: 5.8
Intellectual Capacity: 6.6
Ability to Unite the Country: 4.5
Ability to Unite the Party: 5.3
Integrity: 5.2
Courage: 6.0
Leadership: 5.1
National Appeal: 5.2
International Experience: 6.5

OVERALL RATING OUT OF 100: 56.8

The panel scored Liam Fox fairly low compared to the other candidates. He didn’t come first in a single category but was a narrow second on international experience.

MY ANALYSIS

At the end of the 2005 leadership contest, Liam Fox had outperformed expectations. Indeed, everyone felt he was unlucky to finish third. Since his resignation as Defence Secretary on October 2011 he has played his cards well, and has been unlucky not to be recalled to the Cabinet. He also fought a good referendum and appeared the voice of sweet calmness and reason compared to the Project Fear approach of many of his colleagues.

When he first mooted he might run for the leadership most commentators imagined he might do quite well, even if he didn’t win. Unfortunately he has been overtaken by events. He planned to launch his campaign last Friday but in the end this proved impossible amid the Boris/Gove farrago. When he launched today, he disappeared beneath all the fuss about Andrea Leadsom and Nigel Farage’s resignation.

So far he has attracted only nine MPs to his cause. While he will score higher than that in the first ballot, his challenge will be enough to stay in the race.

Read my other profiles…

Theresa May
Andrea Leadsom
Michael Gove
Stephen Crabb

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Australian blogger Sligherrian interviews Iain

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Conservative Politics

Conservative Leadership Runners & Riders: MICHAEL GOVE

4 Jul 2016 at 10:57

FULL NAME: Michael Gove
BORN: 26 August 1967, Edinburgh
AGE: 48
EDUCATION: Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen. Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. 2-1 degree in English.
STATUS: Married to Sarah Vine, 2 children
FIRST ELECTED: 2005
CONSTITUENCY: Surrey Heath
EXPERIENCE: Secretary of State for Education 2010-14, Chief Whip 2014-15, Lord Chancellor 2015-
OTHER EXPERIENCE: Aberdeen Press & Journal 1989-96, The Times 1996-2005
MOST LIKELY TO SAY: “I will never stand for the party leadership.”
LEAST LIKELY TO SAY: "I will never stand for the party leadership.
FAMOUS QUOTES: “You wouldn’t tolerate an underperforming surgeon in an operating theatre, or a underperforming midwife at your child’s birth. Why is it that we tolerate underperforming teachers in the classroom?” “It’s often the case that successful people invite criticism.” “I remember my mum explaining to me what adoption meant when I was still at primary school. ‘Son,’ she said to me, ‘you didn’t grow under my heart, you grew in it’.”
STRENGTHS: Politeness, calmness, ideological certainty, conviction, radicalness
WEAKNESSES: Seen as a backstabber, Neocon views on foreign policy, geekiness
MAIN ADVISERS: Dominic Cummings, Henry Cook, Henry Newman
MAIN ALLIES: Nicholas Boles, Dominic Raab, Ed Vaizey
LADBROKES ODDS: 12/1

SCOREBOARD

Experience: 7.7
Negotiating Skills: 7.3
Star Quality: 7.3
Likeability: 6.6
Ability to take the fight to Labour: 8.0
Economic Competence: 6.8
Intellectual Capacity: 8.2
Ability to Unite the Country: 6.4
Ability to Unite the Party: 6.7
Integrity: 8.5
Courage: 9.3
Leadership: 7.4
National Appeal: 6.0
International Experience: 5.5

Before Boris dropped out of the contest Michael Gove has the second best overall rating. He beats all the other declared candidates in the following categories: Ability to take the fight to Labour, Intellectual capacity, Integrity, Courage & Leadership skills. However, these scores were all given before the Boris defenestration.

OVERALL RATING OUT OF 100: 72.6

MY ANALYSIS

In one act of political ruthlessness Michael Gove transformed his reputation from the politest, nicest person in British politics, to Ed Miliband on steroid. The Conservative Party doesn’t forgive treachery very easily, and certainly not very quickly, so if Michael Gove overcomes his act of regicide on Boris Johnson and goes on to win the leadership contest, it will be not only a massive surprise, but one of the greatest comebacks in a generation.

Michael Gove has consistently said he doesn’t have the qualities to be leader. I have always disagreed with him. He may not have the charisma of Nigel Farage, but he knows his own mind and has clear convictions which he is able to articulate very well. He has shown political bravery and courage at the Department of Education and Ministry of Justice and is a reformer, with a huge degree of success. He has also shown himself willing to take political risks.

Had Michael Gove announced his leadership campaign on his own terms and gone his own way the day after the referendum, I have little doubt he would be vying to be the main candidate to beat Boris Johnson. The way events have turned out, he is going to find it a massive challenge to get into the final two – and even if he does, Theresa May looks almost unassailable now. But in these turbulent times, no one should discount anything.

Read my other profiles

Theresa May
Andrea Leadsom
Stephen Crabb
Liam Fox

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