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Follow Iain on Twitter. Iain also blogs at www.iaindale.com. Iain Dale presents LBC 97.3 Drivetime programme 4-8pm every weekday.


Iain Dale GraphicBack in 2009 I published Nigel Farage’s
autobiography. Not a single bookshop chain would stock it. Booksellers have
always been of a leftish persuasion and they proved impossible to shift. In
late 2011 we published an updated version, called Flying Free, which contained
three added chapters, including the full story of his plan crash on election
day. He had also regained the leadership of UKIP, but Waterstone’s still weren’t
interested. Of all the books I have published, this book has sold the highest
per centage on Amazon, largely because bookshops wouldn’t stock it. However,
out of the blue last week Waterstone’s have placed a large order and you should
now find the book in most of their stores. Even they can now see very clearly
which way the wind is blowing. I emailed Nigel to tell him the good news and he
replied by saying: “Thank you for the good news. You are now represented by a
UKIP councillor.” Which indeed, I am. I will leave it to your imagination to
guess which one of the three members of the Dale household helped bring that
about.

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Unfortunately I missed the party of the week,
held in David Davis’s office. I was too busy not winning a Sony Radio
Award.  The bash was imaginatively titled “the Return of the Prodigal
Daughter Party”, and it was to welcome Nadine Dorries back into the fold. Quite
unbelievably, people in Number 10 tried their best to ensure a non-attendance
from the 2010 intake by making veiled threats like “remember there’s a
reshuffle coming up” and the like. They even called a meeting of backbenchers
in Number 10 to try to scupper the attendance. Perhaps they should take a leaf
out of David Davis’s book and embrace sinners that repent.  I well
remember the day in October 2005 when Nadine, who had been one of David’s
proposers in the first round, came down to his office to tell him face to face
she was supporting Cameron in the second round. At least she had the courage to
do it to his face, unlike one of her female contemporaries who decided to
announce it on the World at One. I remember ringing her and saying it might
have been nice to tell David himself before she went on the media. “Oh,
really?” she said, it clearly never having crossed her mind. She quickly sent a
handwritten note down. I threw it in the bin.

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Talking of the “Prodical Daughter”, as she
shall henceforth be known, it is very interesting to compare her fortunes over
suggesting Tory MPs stand on a joint ticket at the next election, to that of
the rising star Nicholas Boles. In his book Which Way's Up he suggested that at the next election Tory MPs should, in some
circumstances stand on a join Conservative/LibDem ticket. Nadine has now
suggested that they should stand on a Conservative/UKIP ticket. Nick Boles was
promoted, while the usual Tory sources treat Nadine with derision. It is
perfectly easy to argue a political case against what Nadine is suggesting
(something I have to say I don’t agree with any more than I agreed with Nick
Boles), but what is not acceptable is this idea that anything Nadine says or
suggests should be dismissed as something coming from a dippy woman.

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Have you ever read a column in a newspaper and
thought “Damn, I wish I had written that?” I had that moment on Wednesday morning
when I read Iain Martin’s Telegraph column “Cameron and his party conspire to
create a Euro shambles”. It encapsulated the very thoughts I was too
inarticulate to put down on paper. I would truly love to know what the Prime
Minister’s real view on Europe is, because after the last few days I am
buggered if I know. I would have thought he would have learned from the Major
years, but it appears not. John Major’s view was shaped by whatever was said by
whoever spoke to him most recently. One moment he was the “most Eurosceptic
member of the Cabinet”, the next he wanted to be at heart of Europe. Time to
choose, Prime Minister. No one respects someone whose main aim on this issue
seems to be to follow public opinion rather than lead it.

**********

In October 2008 I wrote a blogpost where I suggested that the number of spaces free at Tonbrige Station car park
of a morning was a decent indicator of economic activity. In the five years up
to then, the car park had been full, or nearly full by 8.15 in the morning. But
after that, it never was. You could arrive at 10am and still be fairly sure of
getting a space. And that’s how it’s been until the last few weeks. But
recently I have noticed that it’s been more and more difficult to find a space.
On Wednesday disaster struck and there wasn’t a space to be had. It’s the first
time that has happened for years. Scoff all you like, but that is surely a sign
that economic activity is increasing, with more people needing to travel to
London early in the morning. I recounted this tale on the Sky News paper
review. Judging by the look on Anna Botting’s face, she thought I was mad.

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Quelle surprise that the BBC has appointed a Guardianista, Ian Katz, to be
the new editor of Newsnight. Employing its former political correspondent
clearly wasn’t enough for them. What Andrew Marr called the BBC’s ‘liberal
mindset’ is clearly alive and well in Broadcasting House. It’s an odd
appointment in many ways as Katz has absolutely no experience of working in
television. He’s actually a very nice guy and in my experience isn’t
particularly lefty and I wish him well. He certainly leaves a hole at The
Guardian. Perhaps they might dare to promote a woman to replace him. That would
be a first.

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The LibDems have always been the harlots of British politics but their
stance on a European referendum really has to come under closer scrutiny. They
try to pretend that their policy of offering an In/Out referendum was always
linked to some dramatic power push by Brussels. No it wasn’t. It was
independent of any treaty change. The leaflet that Edward Leigh held up at PMQs
was clear. No mention of treaty change. Clegg tried to wriggle out of it, but
no reasonable person could interpret their words in any other way than I have.
“Only a referendum on British membership of the EU will let the people decide
out country’s future.” It continues “Labour don’t want the people to have their
say.” No change there then. And this is the next sentence: “The Conservatives
only support a limited referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Why won’t they give the
people a say in a real referendum?” That’s about as clear as it can be. And
it’s why Cameron should have used government time to put his Draft Referendum
Bill to Parliament in government time. It would have flushed out the LibDems
and also put Ed Miliband in a quandary. But once again the children in Downing
Street have flunked it.

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Jesse Norman’s book on Edmund Burke is a real tour de force. If you’d like
to tune in to LBC 97.3 this evening (Friday) I will be spending half an hour
interviewing him about it. Last week it was Fern Britton, yesterday it was Tia
Sharp’s grandmother. Today it’s Jesse Norman. It’s a funny old life.

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