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Can anyone explain what our revered Deputy Prime Minister was doing at the Nelson Mandela Memorial Service on Tuesday? No, me neither. I thought his job was, er, to deputise and run the country in the Prime Minister’s absence. He said that he had never met Nelson Mandela, so quite why he thought his attendance was necessary is anyone’s guess. Mind you, I’d love to have been earwigging his conversation with Bill Clinton. I can imagine Clinton thinking to himself: “Who the hell is this guy? Security!”. Perhaps the saddest sight was seeing Tony Blair sitting on his own with no one talk to – something which cannot be said of the pushy Danish Prime Minister, Thorning-Schmidt. I cannot imagine Birgitte Nyborg taking a selfie…
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Here is an advert from the civil liberties group Liberty, headed up by Shami Shakrabarti. It appeared as a full page ad in tonight’s London Evening Standard. It is a disgrace. It’s inaccurate and partial and does Liberty a great disservice. It’s so partisan and inaccurate that it deserves to be reported to the ASA.
It quotes Theresa May saying: “The next Conservative manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act.”

It is an accurate quote, so far as it goes. Because as Liberty know full well, it’s only half the story. Because far from scrapping all human rights laws, which Liberty try to insinuate, the Human Rights Act would be replaced by a British Bill of Rights.

Frankly, I would expect better of Shami Chakrabarti and her organisation. They fought a noble battle against Labour’s various attacks on civil liberties but I don’t recall any similar adverts to these. These are party political and totally misleading.

 

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David Cameron has put on a bit of weight, hasn’t he? By way of contrast, having lost a stone in the last month, I am but a mere shadow of my former self. Weight gain for politicians goes with the territory in some ways ,and it’s possibly yet another reason why I didn’t succeed in my political ambitions. I’ve always had a tendency to be a fat bastard, but the lifestyle of an MP would have probably meant I’d be 19 or 20 stone by now – the British equivalent of Governor Chris Christie.
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It comes to something when the head of a state broadcaster tries to intimidate an elected politician into silence. No, I am not talking about what is happening in Ukraine, I’m talking about the warning of Chris Patten, the BBC Chairman, to Conservative MP Rob Wilson that he might be sued if he makes public a recording of the head of the Pollard Review – in which he apparently undermines the conclusions of his own report. Wilson should publish and be damned. There would be many people who would contribute to a legal fighting fund if it ever came to it. Invariably, those who issue libel threats are trying to bully people into submission, and they very rarely amount to anything. Do it, Rob. Just do it.

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In a naked bit of plugging one of my books, can I recommend an ideal Christmas present for the discerning Thatcherite? In May I published a collection of more than 200 Memories of Margaret Thatcher. It’s a doorstop of a book, running to more than 500 pages and Amazon have it on sale for £22.50. But you can get it from Biteback for £15.  There, Christmas sorted for you. It’s a particularly good present for a socialist mother-in-law.
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I’d love to shake the hand of the person who thought Norman Tebbit’s birthday was the ideal date to allow same-sex couples to get married for the first time. It’s what he would have wanted.
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Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of IPSA, is one of the more ridiculous Quango heads. He is so full of his own puffed up self-importance that he thinks that, in constitutional terms, he outranks the Prime Minister – or at least, that’s the impression he gives. In its short existence IPSA, has done nearly as much to undermine confidence in parliament as the reason for its creation – the expenses scandal. It uses every opportunity that comes its way to paint MPs as money-grabbing – even going so far as to publish details of claims it has rejected, even if they were simple administrative errors.

I visited IPSA once. It inhabits a suite of offices in Victoria that would befit a monarch. The only office I have visited which has been fitted out more plushly is a merchant bank. IPSA is also very choosy about when it chooses to be accountable for its own actions. I have lost count of the occasions when I have asked Kennedy or one of his minions to come on my show to explain themselves. I think once in three and a half years I have been successful. As I write this my producer has asked Sir Ian Kennedy to come on my show tonight [Thursday]. I am not holding my breath.
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Next Wednesday I do my final Sky News paper review before Christmas with Jacqui Smith. Last year, I surprised her with a bunch of mistletoe live on air and gave her a smacker on the lips. I’m debating how I could go one further this time. Tongues? God alone knows what I would then have to do next year. Gulp.
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Nothing to do with politics, but I thought I’d get it off my chest anyway. The right-hand leadlight on my Audi went this morning. I phoned up the local dealer and explained I needed a new headlight bulb. No, they said, you’ll need a whole unit. And what’s more you have to replace the one on the other side too. That’ll be £850. Oh, I said, hardly surprised, but rather resigned. I’ll bring it in now. We haven’t got any in stock, they said. It will take five to ten working days. At this point I rather lost it. “So you’re a main Audi dealer that doesn’t stock headlights and you can’t get them for five to ten working days, by which time it’ll be after Christmas. How do you suggest I drive my car at night?” A short silence ensued and the robot continued: “We haven’t got them in stock, Sir. It’ll take 5-10 working days.” That’s what passes for Vorsprung Durch Technik. Half an hour later my local village garage had sourced a pair for £350 and can fit them tomorrow. Job done. Glad I got that off my chest. And I am sure you are too.

129 comments for: Iain Dale: It’s my year for snogging Jacqui Smith

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