This will be my last blogpost before Christmas, so can I wish everyone who reads my articles on this site, and all my LBC listeners a very Happy Christmas. It's been great to have you along for the ride in 2018.
2018 has been an odd year for me in some ways. In September I lost my Drivetime show on LBC and moved back to the evenings. I wrote about it in detail HERE, so I won't go over it all again, but in all honesty, even though I wouldn't have chosen to do so, I am enjoying every minute of it. I can be more 'me' if you see what I mean. I have developed a format to the show which people seem to like and I can do more of the things that the rigidities of a newsy Drivetime show just don't allow. There have been quite a few memorable moments in 2018 - some in interviews and some with callers, so I thought I'd curate a collection of them for you if you've go nothing better to do over the next few minutes.
In January it was leaked that the taxi rapist John Worboys was about to be released from prison. I know one of his victims. After his show on January 4th I helped launch a crowdfunding campaign for her and and another of his victims to fight the decision in the courts. My listeners raised more than £12k in less than two hours. The final amount was more than £60k. To cut a long story short, they succeeded and Worboys remains in prison.
Jason in Sutton rings my programme often, giving his views on Brexit and why we should remain in the EU. He's actually Jason Hunter, who appears on TV regularly giving his views on how we're all going to hell in a handcart if we leave the EU and why we won't get any trade deals. This time he got his comeuppance, as I ended up branding him an 'economic illiterate'.
I have been outspoken over the years in my opposition to Halal slaughter. This time the ex President of the Halal Food Authority copped it. Perhaps I should have stunned him first.
It took me a year, but I got there in the end. I'd been trying to tempt George Osborne onto my show ever since the referendum. I finally managed it in March, and we did a half hour interview, longer, he said, than any other interview he'd ever done. Did he regret not planning for Brexit? Not a bit of it...
The big story in March was the Skripal poisoning. I was horrified by the number of calls I took from people who firmly believed that the Russians had nothing to do with it, and it was probably the British Government, which was behind it. Here's one of them...
And here's another one...
So let's cheer us up with a call from a man who thinks gay people shouldn't be allowed to get married. And ties himself up in knots.
One of the biggest scandals of the year was the Windrush scandal. The government and Home Office covered themselves with shame. As I explain in this clip.
I do like to make my introductions a bit different. On the day that Abba announced they were releasing two new songs, guess what I did...
On May 3rd Britain went to the polls in local elections. I co-presented a six hour local election special with Jacqui Smith. It proved to be quite a night, and we had quite a few laughs as well, as you would expect from the co-preenters of the For the Many podcast!
Political academics often frustrate me with their naivety. This one lef me completely flummoxed as to how he had ever been made Professor of Political Science. He argued that to fund social care, pensioners should be taxed more, but shouldn't have to pay national insurance. There were several head in hands moments in this exchange...
It's not unusual for me to get emotional on air, although it didn't happen that often this year. But this caller set me off. We were talking about how the NHS fails many older people. She related her story of how her mother came to die in her local hospital. It brought some sad memories back for me...
This year, more than any other, has been a year when people have been very vocal about being suspicious of the mainstream media and critical of what they see as 'fake news'. This clip show me on a bit of a rant in defence of my profession and explaining why conspiracy theorists need to be shut down.
Callers are what make LBC radio programmes special. This was one of the most memorable calls I took this year. It was from a gay man who wanted to undergo gay conversion therapy...
Moments are what make radio. This is the moment I was interviewing David Davis on the day after he resigned from the Cabinet, when my producer crawled on the floor to hand me a note telling me Boris Johnson had resigned.
I've never understood the support the hard left gives to Venezuela. Even now. Take this spiky interview I did with Corbyn supporting Labour MP Chris Williamson...
On 31 August, after five and a half years, I broadcast my last LBC Drivetime show. This is how I ended it.
On the first edition of CROSS QUESTION I asked Treasury Minister Mel Stride about the so-called Loan Charge. I intended him to answer for a minute but in the end I went right over the 9pm news and finished the hour at 9.05. Unheard of. I ended up taking up the cudgels on the Loan Charge campaign and I haven't finished yet.
Ruth Davidson is one of the most talked about politicians in the country, and in September she published her book YES SHE CAN. She was one of a series of big names I interviewed for my new podcast, IAIN DALE'S BOOK CLUB. This was not a normal political interview but was more personal.
Ever since the 2017 general election campaign I've been trying to get John McDonnell to do an interview or phone-in with me. He had promised to do so but had proved strangely elusive. But in November he delivered. I decided not to do an hour of political point-scoring but instead to try to find out more about him as a man and what motivates him. It was a fascinating sixty minutes.
Alcoholism is a subject almost guaranteed to provoke good calls. This one, however, took me by surprise. A woman phoned in after she realised from what she'd heard, that our conversation applied to her. She denied being an alcoholic at first, but then... One of my most powerful calls of the year.
One Saturday night I got a phone call from an acquaintance of mine who told me he was about to take his own life. The following Monday it led to one of the most powerful hour's of radio I've ever hosted.
One of the great delights of being on LBC is getting to meet and interview people I'd never ordinarily get to talk to. In early December I spent a fascinating 45 minutes interviewing General David Petraeus.
And finally, one of the most talked about interviews I did in 2018 was with my LBC colleague James O'Brien. It was ostensibly about his book HOW TO BE RIGHT, but we covered a lot of ground apart from that. I think people expected we were going to have a massive row about Brexit. That didn't happen, but it proved to be a fascinating hour nonetheless.