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Diary

ConHome Diary: Alex Salmond: "If the BBC Was On Fire, I Wouldn't Piss On it"

30 May 2014 at 14:15

First of all an apology. Several of you have been in touch to express your disappointment that this column has been less smutty of late, compared to its previous standards. I suspect you won’t have cause to complain this week. Others might though…
*
Apparently Alex Salmond and the BBC don’t get on. The SNP leader has been known to have a volcanic ‘tantie’ at the coverage the Beeb gives to the Yes campaign. Well, his spin doctors and the head honchos at the BBC in Scotland decided to have a peacemaking meeting. It didn’t exactly get off to a good start when Salmond marched into the room and boomed: “Before we start I just want you all to know that if the BBC was on fire, I wouldn’t piss on it.” Hear hear, I hear many ConHome readers thinking.
*

Poor Cleggy. You’ve got to feel sorry for him. It can’t be nice to know that at the age of 47 it can only go downhill from here. At the time of writing he is clinging to his job by the skin of his teeth, but it’s not inconceivable that he could be replaced as LibDem leader, even though the attempts to do so have so far been ridiculously badly executed. Know him by his enemies, I suppose, and he is very lucky to have the cackhanded Lord Oakeshott as his enemy-in-chief. Oakeshott is best friends with Vince Cable, who just happened to plan a trip to China to coincide with the announcement of the European election results. At least he didn’t have a John Major-esque toothache issue, but the effect was the same. Not that it would have been pre-planned of course. Never let it be suggested. It was, of course, a happy coincidence. But not even Vince Cable could have reckoned with the idiocy of Lord Oakeshott. But just because Oakeshott failed, that doesn’t mean Clegg is safe. LibDem Voice polled 1000 LibDem members and only 54% wanted Clegg to remain as leader. That is not a good position to be in. At all.
*
If Clegg did go, I am told by sources at Number Ten, that this would spell the end of the coalition and that it would not continue under a new LibDem leader. If that’s the case, you just wonder why they don’t call it quits now and go their own separate ways. The Number Ten Tory operation to shore up Nick Clegg was quite a sight to behold. Backbenchers were ordered to stop criticising Clegg and to desist in revelling in his woes. Cabinet Ministers, led by Ken Clarke, went on the media to praise him. A wag on twitter suggested Clarke would make an excellent new leader of the LibDems. Or maybe the Tories could let him go on a free transfer.
*

It’s not often I am stuck for words, but last week when I rang someone to invite them onto my LBC Drivetime show, I was. This was their answer: “Yup, happy to come on, but I want you to know I will be interrupting my afternoon fuck for you.” What does one reply to that? “Oh, sorry, it’ll only be a quick in and out.” Or “Don’t worry, I’ll get you off quickly.” Or maybe, “Well, on the radio all I can do is promise you a bit of oral entertainment…”. Perhaps I’ll stop there. After all, I don’t want this column to reach a premature climax, do I?
*
Just for the record I did actually vote Conservative last week. A year ago I had fully intended to back Nigel Farage, but in the end I just couldn’t stomach UKIP’s anti-immigration rhetoric. Parts of it sickened me. I don’t believe it was racist and I don’t believe Farage himself has a racist bone in his body, but those terrible posters were the final straw. On my way back from the Sky News paper review a couple of weeks ago I had a Romanian driver. I talked to him all the way back to Tunbridge Wells about his life in this country and his motives for coming here. I just wish Nigel Farage had been sitting in the car with me. My Romanian friend said he had never claimed benefits and knew no one else from his country who had. He came here to better himself and his family, and in the end isn’t that would anyone would do? He held profoundly conservative values and his work ethic was transparent. He wasn’t scrounging off anyone, he was proud that this country had welcomed him, although he did say that friends of his had encountered some hostility in the last few weeks from people who ought to know better.
*

On Sunday I did the Andrew Marr Show paper review with actress Sheila Hancock. Call me Mystic Meg but I had a premonition that we wouldn’t get on, and so it proved. She’s a great actress but a typical lefty luvvie. And bloody rude. It wasn’t until I watched it back that I realised that throughout everything I said she sat there rolling her eyes and sneering. We didn’t get off to a good start, when right at the beginning she said she was fed up with the “celebrations” of the 100th anniversary of World War One. I leapt in and corrected her and pointed out they weren’t celebrations, they were commemorations and the two were very different. It all went downhill from there. Chemistry really is important in paper review pairings. I work really well with Jacqui Smith on Sky because we can spark off each other and have a laugh even when we are daggers drawn. I’m afraid that was never going to happen with Ms Hancock. Normally on Andrew Marr I am paired with Helena Kennedy or Polly Toynbee. Sitting next to Sheila Hancock made me miss them more than I thought possible. You can watch the Marr paper review here. [insert link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SxvyMiiR3U]
*
When Paul Goodman asked me to resume this column at the end of March I said I’d do it until the European elections and then decide whether to continue. Well, I’m afraid you’re stuck with me for a bit yet. And with my smut. Whether you like it or not.

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UK Politics

So How Accurate Were My Euro Election Predictions?

26 May 2014 at 19:53

Making predictions, especially in politics, is a bit of a fool’s game, but there’s no fool like an old fool so I put my money where my mouth was and predicted the outcome of the European elections. I reckon I didn’t do too badly…

CONSERVATIVE PARTY
Predicted Seats: 20
Actual Seats: 19

LABOUR PARTY
Predicted Seats: 18
Actual Seats: 20

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
Predicted Seats: 1
Actual Seats: 1

UKIP
Predicted Seats: 24
Actual Seats: 24

GREEN PARTY
Predicted Seats: 3
Actual Seats: 3

BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY
Predicted Seats: 0
Actual Seats: 0

SNP
Predicted Seats: 3
Actual Seats: 2

PLAID CYMRU
Predicted Seats in 2014: 1
Predicted Seats Range: 1

On the regional predictions I was a little less accurate, but I got four regions bang on.

EAST OF ENGLAND
Prediction: UKIP 3, Con 2, Lab 1, Green 1
Actual: UKIP 3, Con 3, Lab 1

SOUTH EAST
Prediction: UKIP 4, Con 3, Lab 2, Green 1
Actual: UKIP 4, Con 3, Lab 1, Green, LibDem 1

SOUTH WEST
Prediction: LibDem 1, Con 2, UKIP 3
Actual: Con 2, UKIP 2, Green 1, Lab 1

LONDON
Prediction: UKIP 2, Con 2, Lab 3, Green 1
Actual: UKIP 1, Con 2, Lab 4, Green 1

WEST MIDLANDS
Prediction: Con 2, Lab 2, UKIP 3
Actual: Con 2, Lab 2, UKIP 3
GOLD STAR!

EAST MIDLANDS
Prediction: Con 2, Lab 1, UKIP 2
Actual: Con2, Lab 1, UKIP 2
GOLD STAR!

NORTH WEST
Prediction: Con 2, Lab 3, UKIP 3
Actual: Con 2, Lab 3, UKIP 3
GOLD STAR

NORTH EAST
Prediction: Con 1, Lab 1, UKIP 1
Actual: Lab 2, UKIP 1

SCOTLAND
Prediction: SNP 3, Lab 2, Con 1
Actual: SNP 2, Lab 2, Con 1, UKIP 1

YORKSHIRE & HUMBER
Prediction: Con 2, Lab 2, UKIP 2
Actual: Con 1, Lab 2, UKIP 3

WALES
Prediction: Lab 1, Plaid 1, Con 1, UKIP 1
Actual: Lab 1, Plaid 1, Con 1, UKIP 1
GOLD STAR

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On the Andrew Marr Sofa

25 May 2014 at 14:04

This is the newspaper review on today’s Andrew Marr Show, which I did with the actress Sheila Hancock. Something tells me Ms Hancock did not become a fan.

Hattip to @Liarpoliticians who recorded it.

PS Duncan Barkes and I are presenting LBC’s 6 hour election marathon tonight from 9pm Hope you will join us!

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UK Politics

My Forecasts & Predictions For the European Elections

18 May 2014 at 16:10


Listen to LBC’s European Election Night results programme on Sunday 25 May from 9pm until 3am with Iain Dale & Duncan Barkes


Over the last few weeks I have been predicting the results of the European Elections in all the regions of the United Kingdom. You can see the individual regional predictions by clicking on the links below…

East Anglia
South East
London
South West
West Midlands
East Midlands
North West
North East
Scotland
Yorkshire & Humber
Northern Ireland
Wales

In some ways this is a mug’s game, because the polls seem all over the place and no one really knows what the decline of the LibDems and the rise of UKIP will mean for the two main parties. But those of us who make a living out of commenting on politics and who are members of the so-called ‘Puniterati’ ought to be held accountable for what we say and what we predict. There won’t be any promises to run through Brussels naked if I get any of this wrong (aren’t I a killjoy?) but I hope it proves useful to those of you who enjoy elections and psephology as much as I do. Feel free to disagree with my conclusions in the comments, and make your own predictions.

Anyway, I have now drawn all the regional predictions together and made some predictions related to the performances of all the parties in the UK. I’ve included how they fared in terms of seats and vote share at the last two European Elections in 2004 and 2009

CONSERVATIVE PARTY
Seats in 2004: 27
Seats in 2009: 25
Predicted Seats in 2014: 20
Predicted Seats Range: 16-21
Vote Share in 2004: 26.7%
Vote Share in 2009: 27.9%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 23%
Good result: Anything above 25% or above 20 seats
Bad result: Coming a bad third, under 20% of the vote, anything under 20 seats
Panic time: Under 18% of the vote or 15 seats

LABOUR PARTY
Seats in 2004: 19
Seats in 2009: 13
Predicted Seats in 2014: 18
Predicted Seats Range: 16-21
Vote Share in 2004: 22.6%
Vote Share in 2009: 15.8%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 24%
Good result: Beating UKIP into first place on poll share or seats
Bad result: Anything below 20 seats or getting under 25% of the vote
Panic time: Coming third. Period.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS
Seats in 2004: 12
Seats in 2009: 11
Predicted Seats in 2014: 1
Predicted Seats Range: 0-4
Vote Share in 2004: 14.9%
Vote Share in 2009: 13.8%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 9%
Good result: Winning more than 4 seats, or getting above 12% of the vote
Bad result: Winning fewer than 4 seats or getting 10% of the vote or under
Panic time: Winning no seats or coming fifth behind the Greens

UKIP
Seats in 2004: 12
Seats in 2009: 13
Predicted Seats in 2014: 24
Predicted Seats Range: 20-26
Vote Share in 2004: 16.1%
Vote Share in 2009: 16.6%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 28%
Good result: Coming first in vote share and seats won
Bad result: Coming second, or winning fewer than 20 seats
Panic time: Not going to happen.

GREEN PARTY
Seats in 2004: 2
Seats in 2009: 2
Predicted Seats in 2014: 3
Predicted Seats Range: 0-5
Vote Share in 2004: 6.3%
Vote Share in 2009: 8.1%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 10%
Good result: Beating the Liberal Democrats to come fourth
Bad result: Failing to win more than two seats
Panic time: Losing seats

BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY
Seats in 2004: 0
Seats in 2009: 2
Predicted Seats in 2014: 0
Predicted Seats Range: 0-0
Vote Share in 2004: 4.9%
Vote Share in 2009: 6.3%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 3%
Good result: Not gonna happen
Bad result: Losing both seats
Panic time: Getting under 3% of the vote

SNP
Seats in 2004: 2
Seats in 2009: 2
Predicted Seats in 2014: 3
Predicted Seats Range: 2-3
Vote Share in 2004: 1.4%
Vote Share in 2009: 2.0%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 2.2%
Good result: Winning an extra seat
Bad result: Not winning an extra seat
Panic time: Losing a seat

PLAID CYMRU
Seats in 2004: 1
Seats in 2009: 1
Predicted Seats in 2014: 1
Predicted Seats Range: 1-1
Vote Share in 2004: 1.0%
Vote Share in 2009: 0.8%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 0.8%
Good result: Increasing vote share
Bad result: Losing vote share
Panic time: Losing their seat

SINN FEIN
Seats in 2004: 1
Seats in 2009: 1
Predicted Seats in 2014: 1
Predicted Seats Range: 1-1
Vote Share in 2004: 26.3
Vote Share in 2009: 25.8%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 27%
Good result: Increasing vote share
Bad result: Losing vote share
Panic time: Losing their seat

DUP
Seats in 2004: 1
Seats in 2009: 1
Predicted Seats in 2014: 1
Predicted Seats Range: 1-1
Vote Share in 2004: 31.9
Vote Share in 2009: 18.1%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 20%
Good result: Increasing vote share
Bad result: Losing vote share
Panic time: Losing their seat to the UUP

UUP
Seats in 2004: 1
Seats in 2009: 1
Predicted Seats in 2014: 0
Predicted Seats Range: 0-1
Vote Share in 2004: 16.6%
Vote Share in 2009: 17.0%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 15%
Good result: Retaining their seat
Bad result: Losing their seat
Panic time: Ditto

SDLP
Seats in 2004: 0
Seats in 2009: 0
Predicted Seats in 2014: 1
Predicted Seats Range: 0-1
Vote Share in 2004: 15.9%
Vote Share in 2009: 16.1%
Predicted Vote Share in 2014: 18%
Good result: Winning a seat for the first time since 1999
Bad result: Not doing so
Panic time: Not doing so and losing vote share

It’s also interesting to look at turnouts in the last few European Elections.

1979 32.35%
1984 32.57%
1989 36.37%
1994 36.43%
1999 24.00%
2004 38.52%
2009 34.70%

This could, and I emphasise the word ‘could’, be the first European Election in which turnout exceeds 40%. The odds on the happening are probably less than 50-50, but if it happens I can only think it means that UKIP will have a very good night indeed. Bizarrely it could also mean that the result isn’t quite so catastrophic for the LibDems if they mobilise all the pro-European vote to turn out for them.

Anyway, I hope you will join me and Duncan Barkes on LBC from 9pm next Sunday night. We’ll have reporters at most of the important counts, as well as getting all the reaction across Europe and from politicians of all parties. But we also want you to join in and feed in information to us during the programme. So if you’re at a count, or get any sort of information you think might be useful to us there are several ways to get in touch…

Phone 0845 60 60 973
Text 84850
Email iain@lbc.co.uk
Twitter @LBC or @iaindale

For those of you who haven’t discovered the delights of LBC yet, you can hear us all over the world through the live stream on our website at www.lbc.co.uk. You can listen on DAB Digital Radio across the United Kingdom. We have an iPhone, iPad and Android app. In London we’re on 97.3FM. You can also listen to us via your TV on Sky Channel 0112, Freesat Channel 734 or Virgin Media 973. So no excuses!

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Diary

ConHome Diary: How Can I Vote Conservative on Thursday?

16 May 2014 at 14:14

I face a real dilemma. I opened my postal vote yesterday but I just can’t bring myself to vote Conservative. The reason is simply that Marta Andreassen is the fourth placed candidate on the ballot paper for the Tories. And one place above her is Richard Ashworth, a lovely man, but so far as I can determine, a complete Europhile. Luckily, I have another option, to vote in the Eastern Region. But what do I find there? Below the very excellent Vicky Ford on the list is Geoffrey Van Orden, a man known to East Anglian Tories as Geoffrey Van Ordinaire. And then below him is the ultimate re-ratter David Campbell-Bannerman. What’s a boy to do? Spoil his ballot paper? Vote UKIP? I suppose in the end I will hold my nose and do the “right” thing, but if I do, it will be Dan Hannan or Vicky Ford who gets my vote. Not the others. OK, I know that’s not how it works, but it’s the only way I can justify what I am about to do.
*
All of this points to the fact that a future Conservative government should change the voting system for future European elections. If we have to have PR, let’s at least have a form of PR where the candidate matters. Let’s change to a system of PR where, if there are 8 seats in a region, we can allocate the 8 votes to the candidates of our choice. Yes, we could vote for candidates from different parties, but what’s so wrong with that? It would allow people in my South East region to vote for Dan Hannan, Nigel Farage and Diane James. And I suspect that would be the choice of many, many Tories.
*

I once spent three hours with Nick Griffin, interviewing him for a magazine piece. It was a fascinating experience because after the first twenty minutes I realised that there was nothing to him. He was an empty vessel. Once you got beyond his normal subjects of race and immigration there was literally nothing there. Ask him about schools or the health service and he just couldn’t answer the question. And this is where broadcast media interviewers go wrong with him. They play into his hands and quote ridiculous things he has come out with from 1984 or 1996 and they then spend a few minutes going back and forth until they have done their requisite four minutes. And the audience is left none the wiser. Evan Davis did exactly that on Today on Wednesday. It was a waste of four minutes. I’ve decided I’ll have Griffin on my programme in the next few days too. I will, however, try to at least let the listeners make their own minds up about him and conduct the interview just how I would with any other party leader, no matter how repulsive I might personally find them.
*
It’s rare that a battle for a select committee chairmanship is anything other than incredibly tedious. Not for the Defence Select Committee. The fight to replace James Arbuthnot has been fascinating to watch with several of the candidates using some very black arts indeed to discredit their opponents. There seemed to be so many contestants that I rather lost count of who remained in the battle, but from memory they were James Gray, Bob Stewart, Keith Simpson, Julian Lewis, Julian Brazier and Rory Stewart. Have I missed anyone? I have so far spoken to three MPs who have said that although they signed the nomination papers of one candidate, they would be voting for another. Who said Tory MPs were the most duplicitous electorate in modern Christendom?

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News Story

The Truth About Mo Ansar 2.0

15 May 2014 at 10:02

A couple of weeks I wrote THIS blogpost entitled The Truth About Mo Ansar. Over the last 24 hours three others have followed suit, with their own takes on Ansar’s fakery, fraudulent claims and bullying behaviour. After my own experience with him, when he reported me to the Police, I have been determined to expose him and hold him to account for what he has done. I wanted to bring to the media’s attention what kind of person he really is and to make editors and producers question why they invite him to appear on their programmes. I would challenge anyone to read these articles and still want him to appear on their airwaves. But in the end, we must all make our decisions and stand by them.

Nick Cohen in The Spectator writes a column in this week’s Spectator headlined The curious case of Mo Ansar: How did a former bank employee from Hampshire become the voice of British Islam?

If a curious stranger asked you to name a British Muslim commentator, I guess you would name Mo Ansar. So omnipresent has he become, he seems at times to be Britain’s only Muslim commentator… If producers dropped Mo Ansar, he would have nothing to fall back on. He would become what those who have felt the thrill of fame fear most: just another face in the street. Some minor celebrities respond to insecurity by being brittle and melancholic off camera. Others go on the attack. No one has experienced Ansar ‘s fury like the men who have threatened his career as an ‘opinion former’. His vindictiveness and self-regard will be his undoing. Broadcasters are a tolerant bunch. But they take exception to guests who try to set the cops on them. BBC Radio 5 will not have him on. Meanwhile everyone in commercial radio knows Iain Dale’s story. Maybe the Russian and Iranian propaganda channels will return his calls. Apart from that, it’s over.

Milo Yiannopolous writes Mo Ansar: The Bogus Muslim Theologian Who Defends Slavery & Says Muslims Discovered America in 1100AD While Claiming Benefits & Appearing on the BBC

I have been looking into Ansar for the past three weeks, and my investigation has revealed that Ansar has fabricated an extraordinary number of jobs, lied about professional qualifications and invented work experience, causing distress and harm to many, misleading the public. British Muslims find it laughable that Ansar claims to represent them. I could not find a single journalist, community organiser, imam, activist or foundation head who said they supported Ansar’s views or that he spoke for any sizeable number of Muslims or any local or national community. Most expressed confusion that Ansar was given such a prominent platform by the BBC, particularly in light of his widely-loathed behaviour on social networks.
Saif Rahman, founder of the Humanist & Cultural Muslim Association, has been keeping an eye on Ansar for some time. “Mo knows there are journalists who aren’t so rigorous,” says Rahman, who also accused Ansar of publishing under multiple identities on social media. “I think people in the UK are waking up now. They can see through him and they know exactly what’s going on… the number of Twitter accounts he posts under and the YouTube account that is obviously him. “British taxpayers are subsidising someone who works full-time against them.” Rahman continued: “Mohammed Ansar doesn’t represent the progressive Muslim community like the media portrays. His comments about segregation, race, homosexuals, slavery and so on misrepresent groups of enlightened Muslims and the way they are perceived in our society. “He is a Frankenstein’s monster that the media created.”

And finally Jeremy Duns writes about The Dangerous Mr Ansar

Have you heard of Mohammed ‘Mo’ Ansar? If you’re British, you almost certainly have, as in the past four years he has become a regular fixture on radio and television shows in the UK. His niche is as a ‘social and political commentator’ discussing Islam and Muslim life in Britain, and as such he has appeared on the BBC, Channel 4, Sky News, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, PressTV (the latter two are propaganda networks of authoritarian regimes) and many other channels. He is most often featured speaking out against the demonisation of Islam and Muslims and calling for more calm and tolerance. Well, that’s for the good, surely? A measured, moderate voice in the public sphere is to be applauded. Except Mo Ansar is far from moderate. He has some very immoderate views indeed, and is a devious charlatan to boot. With no serious base of expertise to draw on, he has created a media profile for himself built on sycophancy, evasion and deception. He has smeared perceived rivals, promoted extremist views and inflamed tensions. He may seem like a buffoon at times, but his ruthless pursuit of more airtime has been toxic… The rise of this narcissistic, faux-pious conman as the media’s go-to Muslim pundit is a bizarre one. It has been almost entirely fuelled by his online presence. Many have written about Mo Ansar online, and there will be more to come in print shortly. But for all the comic absurdity of his claims to be a lawyer, an LGBT activist, an ‘educationalist’, a lecturer and seemingly dozens of other professions, the details of which he never wants to substantiate, don’t make the mistake of thinking him harmless. He is a dangerous fraud, and has knowingly spoken in a way to incite death threats against others, for petty revenge.

In future, any producer who books Ansar to appear on a radio or TV show needs to justify to their editor and audience why they have done so. He is an embarrassment to most muslims, represents no one but himself and has been shown to be a complete fake. There are some brilliant muslim representatives out there if you look. What he tried to do to me, he has done to many others. We’ve now seen the real face of Mo Ansar and he needs to be recognised for what he is – a charlatan, a fraud and a rather ignorant gob on a stick.

I intend this to be my final word on Mo Ansar.

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It Shouldn't Happen to a Radio Presenter 19: A Veritable Feast of Loose Tongues (Called Mitchell & Balls)

14 May 2014 at 20:33

Well that was quite a show on LBC this evening! First we had Austin Mitchell, who had created a right stooshie with his Tweet on Pfizer, which ended with the words “Roll up Rapists”. Not clever. Not wise. I suggested he should apologise, and do it quickly, but Austin was having none of it, despite Labour spin doctors saying he had already apologised. Well, judge for yourself…

If, like me, you’re a fan of the movie AIRPLANE, you’ll remember the Lloyd Bridges character and his catch phrase “Guess I picked the wrong week to quit smoking…”. Well, Ed Balls could be forgiven for for thinking he picked the wrong hour to come into the studio to do another edition of Call Balls today. I had to start off by asking him about Austin Mitchell…

At the end of the hour I couldn’t resist asking Ed about that VAT poster. I still can’t work out whether he said rather more than he had intended to, or deliberately decided to needle Wee Dougie. Again, judge for yourself.

Whatever the truth of it, my friends in Fleet Street seem to be fascinated by the exchange. As well they might be!

  • If you have never listened to my LBC Drivetime show, do try us out. We’re on from 4pm to 8pm every weekday. We’re on 97.3 FM in London and on digital radio in the rest of the country. We’re also on Sky TV Channel 0112, Freesat and Virgin Media.

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UK Politics

European Election Result Predictions: Wales

14 May 2014 at 15:44

Over the next three weeks I will be trying to predict the results of the European Elections which take place in the UK on May 22, with the results being announced late in the evening of Sunday 25 May. I will be hosting a European Elections Special Programme on LBC from 9pm that evening. Let’s now turn to Wales, where 4 seats are up for grabs.

2009

Lab 1
Con 1
Plaid Cymru 1
UKIP 1

In 2004 the result Labour had 2, the Conservatives 1 and Plaid 1. In 1999, when there were 5 seats for Wales, Labour had 2, Plaid 2 and the Tories 1.

My prediction for this year is this…

2014

Lab 1
Plaid 1
Con 1
UKIP 1

This would be identical to the result in 2009. The LibDems are unlikely to eclipse UKIP. The Tories topped the poll last time with 21%. They won’t do that this time, but it is difficult to see Labour getting a high enough share of the vote to grab a second seat. That’s what happens when you have a ridiculous electoral system like this one. Wales might as well not voting because it would take an earthquake for any party now to get a second seat. In the last three Euro elections Labour’s vote share has gone from 32% in 1999 to 20% last time.

Predicted Winning Candidates

Conservative Party – Kay Swinburne
Plaid Cymru – Jill Evans
Labour Party – Derek Vaughan
UKIP – Nathan Gill

OTHER REGIONAL PREDICTIONS

East Anglia
South East
London
South West
West Midlands
East Midlands
North West
North East
Scotland
Yorkshire & Humber
Northern Ireland

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LBC Book Club: Iain talks to Peter Snow

Just a bit of fun! Peter Snow talks about his new book on the burning down of the White House.

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It Shouldn't Happen to a Radio Presenter 18: Winning Silver at the Radio Academy Awards

13 May 2014 at 10:03

Awards ceremonies are strange beasts, particularly if you’re shortlisted for an award. You can’t really enjoy it until your own particular award has been doled out. Last night’s Radio Academy Awards were no different (yes, they used to be The Sonys but Sony ended their sponsorship last year). LBC were up for ten different awards, an achievement in itself bearing in mind Radio 5 Live hadn’t got as many nominations as us.

I only did two hours of my normal four on Drive yesterday and at 6 I hightailed it to the Grosvenor House Hotel with my producer Matt Harris and our political editor Theo Usherwood. And guess who the first person we bumped into was? The one and only James Whale. It was brilliant to see him again. He then introduced me to David ‘Kid’ Jensen and Steve Penk, a radio legends in their own right.

LBC either won or got a bronze in the first four awards that we were nominated for. The magnificent Tom Swarbrick won a Gold for his documentary Slavery on our Streets, and it also won a Bronze in another category. He then won National Radio Journalist of the Year, an amazing achievement at his tender age. Tom is one of life’s nice guys with a wonderful sense of humour, which he brings to the radio in his own unique manner. I had the pleasure of working with him when I was doing the Sunday morning show and Nick Ferrari must know how lucky he is to have him as his Breakfast Show reporter. To win 3 awards in your career is quite something, but to win three in one evening is going some, even for someone as talented as Tom. It couldn’t happen to a nicer or more talented guy.

Chris Evans was hosting the event for the sixth time and kept it going at a good pace. And so we eventually got to Interview of the Year, the award I was shortlisted for, along with Iain Lee (BBC Three Counties), Winifred Robinson (Radio 4), Becky Milligan (Radio 4) and Stephen Sackur. At last year’s awards I was also up for an award but didn’t make the final three. Bearing in mind the names I was up against I was pretty sure I wouldn’t this year either. The interview I was nominated for was the one I conducted with James in Woolwich shortly after the Woolwich murder had taken place. James was an eyewitness. For a full account of what happened you can click HERE. Here’s a brief taste…

I’m writing this forty five minutes after coming off air from possibly the most challenging four hours of radio I am ever likely to be faced with. So forgive me if this is at all rambling or disjointed. Sometime after 3pm this afternoon Jay Louise-Knight, our travel reporter came over to my producer Matt Harris and said there was an ongoing incident in Woolwich. It looked as if someone had been killed with a machete or samurai sword and that armed police had shot the two people behind the attack. Eavesdropping, it was clear to me that this was a story which would dominate my four hour Drivetime show. At that point it had never entered my head that it could be a terror incident. As details started to come in I tweeted out asking for witnesses to phone our newsroom – frankly it was more in hope than expectation, but at around a quarter to four I noticed Matt was deep in conversation with someone on the phone. As the clock edged toward 4pm I wondered what on earth he could be talking about seeing as we needed to head down to the studio. It soon became clear. “Do a short intro telling people what we know – then get into the call quickly. James was there. He can tell us everything.”

And indeed he did. I’ve done some emotional interviews in my time. As it went on I thought to myself: “He’s still in shock”. It was gripping listening and in some ways very upsetting. I suspect I wasn’t alone in trying to hold my emotions in check. And for once I succeeded.

Here’s the audio of the interview.

Well, I didn’t win, but I did come second and got a Silver Award. I’m not going to lie. I was disappointed not to win. Who wouldn’t be? But to lose out to Winifred Robinson, a brilliant broadcaster is certainly no disgrace. Yes, I wanted to win for myself and for LBC but I know how much it would have meant to Matt and Laura who have both been so integral to whAT I’ve done at LBC. Matt was sitting beside me, but Laura left LBC a couple of weeks ago to head back north. Coincidentally yesterday was her first day in her new job at BBC Radio Newcastle. I’d have given anything to have rung her and told her we’d won. But it wasn’t to be.

We also won a Bronze and a Silver for Call Clegg and a Special Award acknowledging how our phone-ins with politicians have changed the way they are held to account. We were also up for Station of the Year, but lost out to BBC Radio Ulster.

It was a great evening, nice to meet up with old friends and acquaintances, especially fellow Hammer Mark Sandell from the World Service with whom I exchanged some superb West Ham gossip. My lips are sealed.

Just finally, a word to acknowledge a few people who have been there for me all the way during my career in radio. Jo Phillips, producer of the late lamented Sunday Service, set me off on this magnificent journey back in 1999 and has been a tower of strength ever since. Jonathan Richards, who saw in me something that others hadn’t and offered me my break on LBC back in 2010, and along with Chris Lowrie and John Cushing supported me brilliantly in my early days. Louise Birt who grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and made me a far better presenter than I ever thought I could be. James Rea who gave me the chance to host the Sunday morning show, and then Drive, and who has led LBC to great things in the last two years. Richard Park, Ashley Tabor and Stephen Miron, who run Global Radio, for their unstinting support. All my production teams, especially Matt Harris and Laura Marshall who got me through my first year on Drive.

In the last year I’ve had a Sony nomination for Speech Broadcaster of the Year, won a Silver Radio Academy Award for Interview of the Year and been named Radio Presenter of the Year at the 2013 Arqivas. I suppose I must be doing something right, but I still feel a complete amateur! I still finish every show thinking “another day I haven’t been found out!” I wonder if that’s common among other presenters!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who has been in touch since last night. I’m really overwhelmed. I know blogposts like this can come across as incredibly self-indulgent, especially when you only win a Silver, but it’s the only way I have got of paying tribute to everyone who has been so supportive to me in recent years. So please forgive me if you’re about to use a sick-bag…

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UK Politics

European Election Result Predictions: Northern Ireland

13 May 2014 at 08:21

Over the last two weeks I have been trying to predict the results of the European Elections which take place in the UK on May 22, with the results being announced late in the evening of Sunday 25 May. I will be hosting a European Elections Special Programme on LBC from 9pm that evening. Let’s now turn to Northern Ireland, where 3 seats are up for grabs. Northern Ireland is the only UK constituency to elect MEPs by the Single Transferrable Vote system, rather than D’Hondt.

2009

UUP/Con 1
DUP 1
Sinn Fein 1

In 2004 the result was identical. In 1999 Sinn Fein lost out to the SDLP.

My prediction for this year is this…

2014

Sinn Fein 1
DUP 1
SDLP 1

Sinn Fein and the DUP are almost guaranteed to win one seat each. The question is whether the SDLP or the UUP will win the remaining seat. I don’t know enough about Northern Ireland politics to make a confident prediction, and I suspect a lot will depend on whether the nationalist community turns out in far greater numbers than their unionist counterparts.

Predicted Winning Candidates

Sinn Fein – Martina Anderson
DUP – Diane Dodds
SDLP – Alex Attwood

OTHER REGIONAL PREDICTIONS

East Anglia
South East
London
South West
West Midlands
East Midlands
North West
North East
Scotland
Yorkshire & Humber

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