DALE Iain Krieg illustration square

Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publications, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

Michael Fallon exudes ‘bottom’. Well, you know what I mean. His article in The Times yesterday filleted the SNP and its leader Nicola Sturgeon, and contained a bitterly personal attack on Ed Miliband. He should be used more. He sticks the knife in without appearing to do so, which is a rare talent in any politician. He’s one of the party’s best media performers, but is chronically under-deployed.

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Sturgeon is on the verge of overplaying her hand. She’s acting as though she already has 50 MPs. Well, there are still 27 days to go, and who’s to say she won’t wipe the floor, but from the way she’s talking you’d think that it is she alone that will decide who becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Her performance in the ITV election debate was impressive; her performance in the STV debate less so. And in the BBC Scotland debate in Aberdeen she was not at her best. However, I am greatly looking forward to next Thursday’s so-called ‘Challenger Debate’ where I suspect she and the other three will gang up on Ed Miliband.

It should be quite an evening, and is an important one for the Leader of the Opposition. He can’t let himself be boxed in by Sturgeon, who will make every effort to get him to commit to some sort of post-election deal. Quite why he has agreed to take part in this debate is a question that only he and his advisers can answer. He has everything to lose and very little to gain.

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I’m beginning to develop a healthy dislike for Al Murray, the self-styled pub landlord. He’s beginning to get delusions of political grandeur. The Oxford educated, Islington-dwelling man of the people has taken umbrage to something Nigel Farage has written in his book The Purple Revoltion.

Diddums. Farage reckoned that Murray may have already exceeded his election expenses by the amount of money he had spent on advertising his comedy tour, and therefore wouldn’t be able to stand in South Thanet. Murray reckons that is libel. No mate, it’s an opinion, which may or may not be correct. That’s what political debate is all about.

For Murray to threaten legal action demonstrates how shallow he really is. He should grow up, and save his money, because he knows as well as anyone that if he actually went to court he’d look a complete idiot. Not that he needs much help in that regard. I always thought comedians were supposed to be funny. He’s developing into a pub bore, and should bore off back to Islington.

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So Joey Essex has done more interviews with the Prime Minister this year than I have. In fact, I haven’t done any. Something I said?

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One of the most common refrains you hear from people is that politicians are all the same and there is very little difference between Labour and the Conservatives – so what’s the point in voting? People who say that are guilty of very lazy thinking. As every day of this campaign passes, the differences become more stark.

This week we had Ed Miliband’s announcement on non-doms. Then there’s Europe. There’s the mansion tax. I could go on. On virtually every subject you care to think of, there’s a difference. The trouble is that most people don’t go looking. They turn into ‘Sheeple’ – and follow the herd who believe that politicians are the same. It makes me mad.

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Ruth Davidson has turned into a political star in the last year. Her performance in the independence referendum campaign impressed people of all parties, and now she has risen to the occasion again with two excellent performances in the Scottish TV leader debates.

The Scottish Tories are lucky to have her. I suspect they will get a little bit of a poll bounce after those debates, but will it actually lead to any more Tory seats in Scotland? Even a gain of one would be considered a bit of a triumph.

I wonder if at some point Davidson may well tire of the Scottish political scene and enter the Westminster fray. There were rumours that she might throw her hat into the ring for Kensington, but that came too early. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if she stood for Westminster in 2020, though. She’s even being talked about as a future leadership contender.

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I wonder how many constituencies will be holding their counts on Friday morning rather than overnight. I guarantee that is about to become a story, as electoral registration officers try to take the lazy way out. Last time many of them were forced into retreat and change their plans. I hope the same happens this time.

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I’m sure every candidate standing in the election will have a host of funny anecdotes to tell after the election. One of my favourite stories from the 1983 election came when I was standing on a doorstep in Norwich North and I asked a voter who she was thinking of voting for. “I’ve got half a mind to vote for the SDP Liberal Alliance,” she mused. “Half a mind is all you need to vote for that lot,” I responded, quick as a flash. The result? A door slammed in my face. Made me laugh though!

117 comments for: Iain Dale: Michael Fallon is a grown-up. The Conservatives should use him more often.

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