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DALE Iain Krieg

Manchester proved to be a much quieter week for me than Brighton was (ahem). It has to be said that virtually everyone I met made some joke or other about the “incident”, as if they thought they were being entirely original. Still, I had half thought I might well be totally shunned, or people’s eyes might look the other way as I approached. Not a bit of it. Everyone wanted to tell me what they thought.

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Driving to Manchester from Norfolk on Sunday morning I got a call from my friend Keith Simpson. “What on earth have you done to upset Adam Boulton?” he asked. “Nothing, so far as I am aware,” I replied, wondering what on earth he could be meaning. “He’s called you ‘humourless’ in his Sunday Times column,” said Keith.

Well, I may be many things, but I hope lacking a sense of humour is not one of them. I pulled over in a lay-by and read the column, but even having done so I was slightly mystified by what had provoked it. When I had talked to Adam in Brighton about ‘the incident’, I didn’t recall coming over all po-faced at all, but clearly something had happened.

And then when I arrived in Manchester several other people asked me why Adam was so upset with me. I hadn’t a clue. I could have had it out with him, I suppose, but decided I’d leave it – and if he had something to say to me, no doubt he’d say it. Perhaps it was what I wrote in this column last week about his producer Amber Elliott. Anyway, on Tuesday I was in a break in my show and Adam popped his head round the door, and said he was sorry if he had upset me. It was a big thing for him to do and I appreciated it hugely. Unfortunately, I had to go back on air before I could issue much of a reply.

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Party Conference tweet of the week from Tonbridge & Malling agent Andrew Kennedy: “Just been stuck at a table with three county council leaders telling each other how important they are. Akin to being at a meeting of dogs licking their own balls.”

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So there I was, gossiping away with David Davis in the Total Politics lounge ,when I whipped out my Blackberry Q10 and advised DD never to get one. He’s a bit of a gadget freak, you see. I regaled him with tales of how utterly crap it is and totally unintuitive, and that I was about to abandon it and revert  back to my much missed Blackberry Bold. It was then that I got a tap on the shoulder. I looked round to see a woman looking rather displeased. “Hello, she said, “I’m Director of Sales for Blackberry.” Sadly the ground didn’t open up in front of me. DD was most amused.

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The only fringe I did this year was for Dods, which was on Sunday nigh,t and was designed to look ahead to the main events of the conference. I was on a panel with Liam Fox, Margot James, Sky’s Anushka Asthana and the lobbyist Kevin Craig. I urged those present to make every effort to speak to journalists during the course of the week, otherwise they would just speak to each other. I once followed Jeremy Paxman round the conference centre for an hour. He didn’t speak to a single Conservative representative but spoke to plenty of fellow journalists. He duly reported that night that the mood of the conference was rather ‘depressed’.

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George Osborne, poor love, was forced to go to the Telegraph reception on Monday night, thereby missing a Katy Perry concert which he had tickets for. My intrepid assistant asked him what his favourite Katy Perry song was and it’s apparently LAST FRIDAY NIGHT. No, me neither. Anyway, I thought I’d look up the lyrics. Are you sitting down?

Last Friday night
Yeah, we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a ménage à trois
Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Op-oh-oh

Gulp. When Agent Tucker asked what George thought of her new number one ‘Roar’, he pointed out that in fact this week’s number 1 was Jason Derulo. He seems to be on more on top of his music chart knowledge than he is on the economy! Joke! With his trendy new haircut, George is clearly down wiv da kidz.

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Talking of my assistant Grant Tucker, he was at a reception and introduced himself to Liz Truss. “Do you service all of Iain’s needs?” was her first question. Grant didn’t tell me his reply, or what the second question was. Grant has now been with me for three years. I’m not sure which one of us is the  most surprised that he’s lasted that long. It has to be said that he is the best networked I have ever met. He’ll go up to anyone famous and engage them in conversation and within two minutes he’s their bestest friend. It’s quite a talent. If only he had a basic grasp of English grammar, though. He’s Welsh, you see.

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On Tuesday night, I spoke at the Pride dinner. I don’t do many speeches nowadays and for some reason I was incredibly nervous. I kept starting to write the speech but the words just wouldn’t come. I don’t like making speeches from a set text, but in this case I thought I better had, seeing as I was so out of practice. I thought there would be about 50 people there but when I arrived it was more like 130. I was 45 minutes later than everyone else, and they were quite clearly well oiled. With drink, ahem, that it. The event took place at Harvey Nichols – I mean, how gay is that?! I’ve just had a look through the speech to see what I could relate here, but frankly it was 90 per cent pure smut, and I know how ConservativeHome readers hate that sort of thing. Anyway, it seemed to go down well and afterwards three members of the audience came up to me to tell me what I had said had really touched a nerve with them. And they weren’t referring to the smut.

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I’m told Birmingham has declined to hold any more political party conferences after next year. Good. Let’s go back to Bournemouth. I’d also love for the conference to be held in Cardiff, but apparently there aren’t enough hotel beds. I suppose we could all bunk up. There’s lovely.

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Having broadcast 24 hours of live programming I really feel in need of a week off, but the show must go on. My first show back in the studio featured an hour on Marxism. Not something I ever thought I’d broadcast when I started on LBC, but it was actually rather enjoyable. That’s the great thing doing this show, you never know what you’ll be talking about one day to the next. Yesterday it was Marxism, tonight it’s coping with terminal illness. A friend of mine was disagnosed this week with terminal kidney cancer. She’s got two months. How on earth do you cope with news like that? It puts conference spats into a bit of perspective.

41 comments for: Iain Dale: What on earth could I have done to upset Adam Boulton?

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