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Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publications, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

Each summer, it’s the same. David Cameron disappears on holiday and Nick Clegg then does the same. Do their diary secretaries not talk to each other? The clue is in Clegg’s job title of Deputy Prime Minister. When the Prime Minister is away, he should deputise. But he never does – because he chooses to go away at the same time. Just when he had an opportunity to shine and lead Britain’s policy over Iraq, he flunks it and buggers off to Spain. Maybe he’s just given up already.

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I’ve never met Mark Simmonds but, honestly, what a moron. Does he seriously think that anyone will have any sympathy for his apparent plight of not being able to survive on £120,000 a year? I ask you. I have some sympathy with his complaint that a Parliamentary lifestyle doesn’t really mix with a family life. But my sympathy is tempered by the fact that he must surely have known this before he applied to be a candidate. And if he didn’t, he’s even more of a moron than he appears to be. Does Simmonds realise how he comes across to a family of four who exist on £30,000 a year? And we wonder why people think politicians are out of touch.

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The response of the government to developments in Northern Iraq has been little short of pathetic. Compared to Cameron’s robust stance on Syria, his administration now risks being seen as even more lily-livered than France. At least France has committed itself to supplying arms to the Kurds, so that they can defend themselves against ISIS. What have we done? Ah, yes: we’ve supplied a couple of helicopters full of bottled water and lanterns. Well, woopadedoo. Yes, there is a terrible humanitarian crisis, and we should play a full role in alleviating the suffering of all those who have been forced to leave their homes. But this would be to deal with the symptom, not the problem – which is that Iraq is a failed state and doesn’t have a functioning government. There is a power vacuum and some terrible people are intent on filling it. They must be stopped, otherwise the people of Iraq will face a very bleak future indeed. We must support and augment US military strikes against ISIS with strikes of our own. That’s not warmongering. It’s not adopting a neocon stance. It’s being hard-nosed and realistic. The only way to rid Iraq of ISIS is to stand up to them and ensure that they understand that if they don’t stop their torture and murders they will be blown to bits.

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I see the BBC has started referring to ISIS and IS, i.e. the Islamic State. There is no such thing as the Islamic State, and we need to pray to God that there never will be – or at least not in the form that ISIS intend. Because if we allow it to happen, we shall reap what we sow.

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I’ve got a book coming out in September titled The NHS: things that need to be said. I got the proofs back from the publishers, Elliott & Thompson a couple of days ago. I expected them to query a lot of what I had written, or for there to be lots of typos and grammatical errors. I was pleasantly surprised to find only four queries and three typos. I wish all my Biteback authors delivered such clean manuscripts!

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Shazbot.

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My views on the list of new peers are probably best kept to myself. While there are several good people on the list, in general it reinforces the view of many that appointments are all about cronyism and dosh. Of course donating to a political party shouldn’t exclude you from getting an honour, but the number of party donors (from all parties) who are getting peerages is beyond all reason. Yet another argument for an elected House of Lords. I’m very pleased to see Sir Stuart Rose become a peer – exactly the sort of person who will make a difference in the Upper House. Karren Brady is a very talented woman, but does anyone seriously suppose she’s going to turn up very much? I doubt it. A vote on Clause 2, subsection 3 of the HS2 Bill, or a seat in the directors’ box at West Ham v Liverpool. I know which I’d choose, and I know which she would too. Conservative whips be warned. I could go on. But I won’t.

84 comments for: Iain Dale: Coming – The NHS: Things that need to be said. My new book.

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