25 Oct 2013 at 16:34
I was on my sick bed on Wednesday, so I had the dubious delight of watching the entire coverage of the Home Affairs Select Committee hearing on Plebgate. It didn’t exactly make me think we have the most wonderful police in the country. The three Police Federation representatives came across terribly. One was incoherent, one was gobby and the other looked a thoroughly nasty piece of work. None of them seemed to grasp why they were there or had anything to answer for. Keith Vaz, the committee’s Chairman, was brilliant in denouncing their evidence when they had finished, but even then they looked as if they thought they had done really well. Then it was the turn of their three chief constables. Again, very low rent. If this is really the finest the British police force has to offer, then God help us all.
So George Galloway likes elections, but doesn’t like the aftermath in which you, er, have to do some work. He seems to be thinking very seriously about running for London Mayor in 2016, despite the fact he’s Scottish and represents a seat in Bradford. Or is it Blackburn. If London ever wanted to play a practical joke on itself it could do worse than by voting for George Galloway, but the joke would soon wear a bit thin. But, yet again, Galloway is Labour’s worst nightmare come true, because he would eat into the Labour vote so much that he could very well let the Conservative candidate slip through the middle.
Russell Brand has only one redeeming factor in my eyes. He’s a fellow West Ham supporter. And yet this week the New Statesman has, for reasons of publicity I imagine, allowed him to be their guest editor. As he demonstrated in a cringeworthy interview on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman, he has precious little to say that is worth hearing. He rails against the establishment, comes out with bizarre claims and counter-claims, and rants against the status quo and how awful the elites are to the poor – yet ,when pressed on what he would actually do, mutters something about introducing a socialist egalitarian system. Paxman didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. So he sneered. Brand is someone who knows exactly how to generate self-publicity but precious little else. He’s a pisspoor actor, an unfunny comedian but is apparently a very good shag. If I never see him on TV again, it will be too soon.
Best we admit it. David Cameron was awful at PMQs this week. Concede and move on. It’s usually the best strategy. There’s always next week.
We hear a lot of Labour politicians bleating on about how wealth is divided so unequally in this country and things are getting worse. Not true. Next time you hear that, here’s some ammunition to hit back with. According to the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook for 2012, wealth is spread more equally in this country than Germany, France and the Netherlands. And, get this. The Left always holds up Scandinavian countries of paragons of wealth equality. In fact we have a more even spread of wealth than either Denmark, Norway or Sweden. So put that in your IKEA flatpack and smoke it.
This time last week I was looking forward to spending a weekend in Dubrovnik. I really should have known better. Guess what? I spent the entire three days suffering from a terrible cold and an even worse cough – not great when you have to make a keynote speech to six hundred travel agents at Dubrovnik’s leading hotel. And not just that – the speech had to last half an hour. Well, you try speaking for thirty minutes with a streaming cold without sniffing or coughing. Let me tell you, it’s not easy. Anyway, the show had to go on and I ‘manfluey’ struggled through it. I can’t say it was my finest performance. And when I got back into London on Tuesday I told LBC I wouldn’t be able to do my radio show. ‘You’ll have to,’ came the reply. ‘We can’t get a stand-in’. One listener texted that she thought she was tuning into Mariella Frostrup as my voice sounded so gravelly. We have a button you can press to mute the microphone if you need to cough, so I made judicious use of that, but of course that doesn’t really work when you’re in full flow and you suddenly have the urge to cough.
Let me tell you how wonderful Dubrovnik is. I had never been to the Balkans before but the Adriatic coastline is something to behold, and the city itself is an absolute gem. It hasn’t been ruined by too much touristy development, and the walled old town is one of the wonders of the world. You can certainly detect an Italian influence in the architecture, and discovering its long history was gripping. It’s hard to think that only 20 years ago the city was enduring a seven month long siege. You can still see the bullet holes in the walls. But in those 20 years Dubrovnik has developed into a well-to-do resort with some excellent eateries and very friendly people. It’s also proving very popular with the cruise line industry, although locals complain they descend in their thousands into the town for a few hours, but spend very little money before climbing aboard again and heading off to Venice or Athens. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Croatia. Someone must explain to me the delights of going on a cruise, as I have to say being stuck aboard a ship with several thousand other people and with no way of escape is not my idea of fun. But then again, nor is three days in Dubrovnik with a raging cold…
I’ve spent the last few hours reading Katie Price’s latest autobiography. Yes, her latest. Astonishingly, bearing in mind she is only 34, it’s her third. I have to inform you, dear reader, that I have not read the first two. Yet. In case you are asking yourself “what is the normally sane Mr Dale doing reading such trash when he could be reading Charles Dickens?” let me reassure you that it was all in the line of duty, for I am about to interview the artist formerly known as Jordan for my radio show. If I am honest, I rather enjoyed the book, which is a racy account of two marriages and sundry other relationships with celebrity wannabes. OK, it’s not a challenging read but it carries her authentic voice, which is more than her bestselling novels do. She’s quite open that while she thinks up the plots of her novels, someone else does the writing.
Her readers don’t seem to mind and, so far, she has sold more than three million books. In fact, she is a very astute businesswoman whose successful fashion and beauty brands, along with her equestrian business, have made her millions. People think of Price as a botox-fuelled clothes horse with a couple of major assets. She is so much more than that. But her outward exuberance and extrovertness mask an emotionally vulnerable woman who through bitter experience has found it very difficult to trust men. Last year. she married husband number three, a 25 year old plasterer who also doubles as a part-time stripper. Put like that you may think it is a relationship doomed to fail, but there’s something in the way that she describes their relationship that makes me think this one may last.