When a politician is in the midst of a political scandal they face two choices. They go to ground and hope it will all go away (The Ostrich strategy) or they come out fighting and front it up (The Masochism strategy).
Over the years I have enjoyed interviewing Labour MP Barry Gardiner. During the Corbyn years he was ominspresent on our airwaves, and over the last year has been running a very high profile campaign on Fire & Rehire. He is what I would call a 'friend of the programme'.
When the Chinese spy story broke on Thursday I was incredulous. I had been vaguely aware that he had received questionable donations from a Times story a few years ago, but hadn't realised it had national security implications.
I suggested to Robbie, my producer, that he should ask Barry to come on the show that evening. As usual, Robbie was ahead of me and had already approached Barry and his team. They said no. "Leave it with me," I said.
I then texted Barry and argued he would be better off facing the music and explaining what happened and why. At some point he'd have to do it and better to it sooner rather than later. And where better than do it on my show that evening?
Ten minutes later he texted me back and said they were thinking about what I had said. And within minutes he agreed to appear, although slightly gallingly he also said he was going to do Jon Craig on Sky just before me. But at least I had a radio exclusive.
I interviewed Barry for twenty minutes and asked him all the questions you'd expect. I did it with no rudeness or histrionics, I just calmly put to him that the Chinese had taken him for a useful idiot. Much of what he said I took at face value but I kept returning to the fact that he had still taken donations from her, and employed her son, even after being brought in by MI5 and warned of her activities. I know what I would have done in the circumstances, and it would have been never to have darkened her door again.
Just before 7.30pm I'd asked all I wanted to so finished the interview, which had lasted about ten minutes longer than intended in any case.
During the news, Robbie came in and said Barry was offering to take calls from listeners. I thought about it for a few seconds and then agreed. The whole thing was radio gold.
Interestingly, the text and tweet screen was full of people commending Barry for fronting up and taking the heat. They contrasted his approach with that of the Prime Minister, who hasn't done a proper lengthy sit down interview with a journalist for months.
You can watch the whole of the hour HERE, or catch up on the IAIN DALE WHOLE SHOW podcast from Thursday. It really is worth it, I can assure you.