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I hate the Daily Mirror. Always have. Always will. It employs people who laughingly call themselves journalists but effectively just contribute to a Labour propaganda sheet. And their editor is no better. I hadn’t heard of him until Wednesday evening. His name is Lloyd Embley. He’s the one who constantly calls Cameron a public school toff in his rag of a paper. Mr Embley, it turns out, was educated at a top public school, Malvern. Obviously a man of the people himself, and totally in touch with his working class readers. Maybe that’s why the Mirror’s circulation is falling like a stone. I found myself in a Twitter spat with Mr Embley over their front page on Thursday, which had a picture of IDS leaving the front bench during a Commons debate on food banks. I had a fairly loud row with Jacqui Smith on the Sky paper review about it, when she said it showed IDS didn’t care about the poor. I am afraid I saw the red mist and let her have it in no uncertain terms. If any Tory politician cares about the plight of the poor it is IDS, as he amply proved in the years following his leadership when he set up the Centre for Social Justice. But back to the Mirror. Why on earth would they have a front page seeking to diminish IDS in the eyes of their readers when a serial paedophile had just been sentenced to 35 years in jail? Strange priorities.

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Talking of left wing rags, I had to laugh at The Guardian’s front page yesterday. It had a story on the sharp fall in unemployment, but in typical Guardian fashion, far from giving these statistics an unequivocal welcome it sought to pick out the one possible negative result of falling unemployment – a possible future rise in interest rates. I suppose no one should be surprised. Of course, they are right in the sense that any rise in interest rates will have a negative effect on anyone with a mortgage. But for people with savings an interest rise will be very welcome indeed, after several years in which deposit accounts have been made almost redundant. Indeed, I am told that some current accounts now offer higher rates of interest than deposit accounts. That way lies madness.

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I see ConservativeHome is running its usual end of year awards. It’s been an odd year in politics in some ways. For Ed Miliband it’s been a very up and down…then up and now down year. For Nick Clegg, it’s been a year of treading water without quite sinking below the surface and for David Cameron it’s been a year that he ends in as good a position in the polls as he could have expected. For the Tories in general it is a year in which Plan A finally seems to have brought about some positive economic results. So the overall Tory winner of 2013 may be George Osborne. The Chancellor is a little like Ed Miliband in that his political fortunes swing from one extreme to another, often for no apparent reason. 2014 will be a crucial year for him in determining whether he is a serious candidate to succeed David Cameron when the time comes.

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If you appoint a paid up member of the establishment to chair a commission on airport capacity, don’t be surprised if he comes up with a classic establishment fudge. I am of course talking about Sir Howard Davies, a man who has slithered up the greasy pole of public life and left little trace. His solution to the ‘Boris Island’ problem was not to include it on the shortlist of possible new runway sites, but not to exclude it either. He needs to think about it further. Presumably while sitting in the long grass. He’s had a year. How much deep thought does it need? The only reason ‘Boris Island’ wasn’t excluded from the shortlist altogether was because Sir Howard knew that it would provoke Boris to launch a judicial review of the decision. Sadly, Boris doesn’t seem able to comprehend that his project is a dead duck. Unless of course he becomes Prime Minister…

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As the year comes to a close we all start asking ourselves if it’s been a good year or a bad year. I suppose my personal highlight has been the growth of my radio career and being asked to present the LBC Drivetime show. It’s very rare that anyone gets to do what they feel they were put on this earth to do. I know now that I am a far better radio presenter than I ever would have been a politician. Perhaps the good citizens of Bracknell had a narrow escape. I know I’d have loved the constituency side, but I now think I’d have been frustrated by what goes on in Parliament.

I hesitate to describe it as a highlight of the year, but the most memorable programme for me this year was where the news of the Woolwich murders broke just before I went on air. It is moments like this where as a presenter you either sink or swim. Bear in mind I have no broadcasting or journalistic training; I will tell you that I was as nervous as a kitten. A minute before I had to utter my first word, I had no idea what I was going to say. But when that red light goes on, the adrenaline kicks in and off you go. I was told that the BBC held some sort of inquiry later questioning why their coverage was so lacklustre and ours was so on the ball. I was proud of what we did that day – four hours of informative breaking news, without, I hope ever becoming sensationalist. As for my worst moment of the year, well, I think we can all guess what that was – what is now referred to as the ‘incident in Brighton’. It’s a weird feeling – and not a nice one – that that scene is what most people will remember me for. If they remember me at all.

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Happy Christmas to you all. I’m taking two weeks off over Christmas, so I’ll be back on Friday 10 January.

79 comments for: Iain Dale: A lousy Christmas to you, Daily Mirror. And a rotten New Year.

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