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

When I wrote about Tim Yeo last week, I had no
idea what the Sunday Times was about to unveil. The least Mr Yeo could do was
stand down from his select committee. What I don’t understand is the lack of
intervention by the Whips’ Office or Number Ten. Yeo can deny everything as much as he
likes, but video doesn’t lie.  There will be many consequences from this
scandal, not just for Tim Yeo personally, but for Parliament in general. Can
there really be anyone who can argue that Select Committee chairmen shouldn’t
relinquish all outside interests, just as ministers have to? These are now paid
offices. What I found most outrageous about the affair was the Mail on Sunday
revelation
that Yeo had written to Ed Davey complaining that Lord Deben (John
Gummer to you and me) had outside interests which conflicted with his role as
chair of the Committee on Climate Change. Yeo had some brass neck to do that
given his long list of consultancies and directorships in the field of
renewable energy. But then he always has had a brass neck, hasn’t he?
Complaining about long haul flights, while at the same time flying to all four
corners of the earth to play golf. Some people are beyond help. Or parody.

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It is safe to say that Brian Coleman is a
larger than life character. He has for some time been the best-known
Conservative politician in North London – and the most argumentative. Last week,
he was expelled from the Conservative Party, having in May been found guilty of
assault. Never knowingly uncontroversial, Coleman had served for many years on
the GLA and Barnet Council, recently as mayor. Last Thursday I saw on my
Twitter feed that BBC Radio London had announced he was a guest on their
Drivetime show. "Not for long", I thought, as I texted Brian and asked him if
he’d like to come on my LBC show instead – the lure being an audience several
times the size of BBC London, despite them having a budget and resources at
least eight times the size of ours. Sure enough, the bait worked. The BBC were less
than gruntled, but all’s fair in love and radio. I expected Coleman to show at
least a little contrition. Did he feel he’s let down the Conservative Party and
its activists? No. Did he owe them an apology? No. If the word "bouncebackability" (Ok, OK, I know it’s not really a word) applies to anyone,
it certainly applies to Brian Coleman. He intends to stand as an Independent in
next year’s Barnet council elections, standing on ‘real’ Conservative values.
There’s little doubt he will get masses of publicity and although he probably
won’t win, it’s likely he will carve into the Conservative vote enabling
someone else to. Coleman’s ability to have an impact should never be
‘misunderestimated’.

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Why is the BBC so reluctant to discuss the real
reason behind the protests in Turkey? The ostensible reason is the development
of a green space, but it goes far deeper than that. The whole background to the
protests is that a huge chunk of the Turkish population is extremely concerned
by the attempts of the Erdogan government to proceed with the gradual Islamification of Turkey. Those who wish Turkey to remain a country with a
primarily western outlook are horrified by the raft of measures brought
in over the past few years designed to pacify Islamists, and are now raising
their voice in opposition. But this is barely being reported by the BBC. 
Why?

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It was interesting on Tuesday that Michael Gove
sent out Liz Truss to sell his GCSE reforms to the media. The Trussette was
furious at Nick Clegg’s intervention on childcare and needed to show her face
in the TV and radio studios to rebuild her battered reputation, and rebuild it
she most certainly did. She had a good story to tell and she told it well. Gove
is rumoured to be rather remote from his ministerial team, and is a very
hands-off Secretary of State who ploughs his own furrow and leaves others to
plough theirs. But in this case he spotted a colleague who needed a bit of
support. and he gave it. His GCSE reforms have been welcomed by some very unusual
sources – Diane Abbott and The Guardian being two. They seek to reintroduce
some much needed rigour, and although the teaching unions have been spluttering
(did we expect anything else?) I suspect they are reforms which Labour won't
seek to reverse should they win the next election. Michael Gove may have made a
few balls-ups along the way, but he’s proving to be the most radical Education
Secretary for a generation. I hope he is left in the post to complete the job.

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One MP I think ought to be considered for promotion
in the reshuffle is Jessica Lee, elected in 2010 for Erewash. She is currently
Dominic Grieve’s PPS. She probably won’t thank me for saying this, but I first
got to know Jessica 15 year ago when she worked for me at Politico’s, in the
coffee bar. She makes a mean sandwich! Jessica is intelligent, savvy and sassy,
and although her profile is not as high as the likes of some of her
contemporaries, it ought to be. Of all the 2010 intake who appear on my radio
show. she is one of the best performers. She’s able to present the Conservative
case with humour and without being rattled. She is clearly a loyalist, but comes
across as a human being rather than a political robot. The Conservatives need
to use voices like Jessica if they are to appeal outside the metropolitan
elite.

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So the Express’s Patrick O’Flynn has made the
jump from commentary to political activism, and is intending to stand in the
European elections for UKIP. Patrick is a nice guy and is quite a catch for
Nigel Farage, but I wonder what guarantees he has been given by the UKIP
leader. When pseudo-celebrities join political parties they usually expect
immediate preferment, and then become rather hacked off when it is not
forthcoming. They also incur the wrath of party activists who tend to express
their jealousy rather openly. Remember Adam Rickitt? Watch your back, Patrick.

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As some readers know, I run Biteback
Publishing. In September we are publishing Damian McBride’s book Power Trip.
Already people are talking of it as the political book of the year. I’d like to
think it will be, but we’d better wait until the manuscript is actually
delivered before we get carried away! Those who read Damian’s blog will know
what a brilliant writer he is. People find it ironic I should be publishing the
book, considering that I was one of those who Damian and Derek Draper tried to
smear all those years ago. Anyway, on Tuesday those breakfasting at London’s
Corinthia Hotel would have seen the bizarre sight of Damian and I having
breakfast with Michael Ashcroft. The good Lord owns 75% of my company and I
thought he and Damian might get on rather well. And so it proved. I just sat
back and listened to these two titans of political strategy chew the political
cud. If the book proves to be half as fascinating as that particular
conversation, it will be a very good read indeed.

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I am somewhat mystified by Peter Oborne’s
renewed attack on Lord Ashcroft. Apparently the good Lord has an agenda against
David Cameron. The evidence cited is the odd mischievous tweet. I am a great
admirer of Peter Oborne. I think he is one of our best polemicists. But surely
even he must realise that his own support for the Prime Minister appears to
depend on which day of the week it is. One day Cameron can do no wrong, the
next he is the biggest blunderer in Christendom. Oborne is to Cameron what
Polly Toynbee was to Gordon Brown – a fair weather friend.

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Listen to Ed Miliband and his answer to most
things is to tax or regulate them. I don’t know why I should be surprised. It’s
the knee jerk reaction of every real leftie I know. I exclude Blairites
from this admittedly gross generalisation, but it is a generalisation which has
several grains of truth in it. Take the housing crisis, for example. The
solution to a lack of housing is simple. Build more, and provide building
companies with the incentives to do so. Where there is too much demand,
increase the supply. It’s pretty basic economics. But what is Miliband’s
answer? Not to address the root of the problem, but fiddle around the edges by
making ridiculous suggestions about rent controls and regulating landlords.
This country has a big enough problem in encouraging the private rental sector
without putting further barriers to growth in its way.

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