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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.

Trust Douglas Carswell to bring me back from my holiday with a judder! I struggle to work out whether his defection will be a flash in the pan or being of more long term significance. Whatever one thinks about what he is done, he has shown courage and principle by resigning his seat to fight a by-election. I can’t think of anyone else who has done that in recent history. Carswell may be seen as a maverick in some ways but he also has a profound belief in the power of people to change things, as evidenced by his superb book, which I had the pleasure of publishing, called The End of Politics.

I first met Douglas in the mid 1990s when he applied for a job as a lobbyist at the company I was deputy MD of at the time. He didn’t strike me as a people person and I didn’t give him the job. I’ve often wondered how his future might have been different had I done so. Hardly at all, I should imagine. He is a man of great determination. I regard most defectors as chancers, but not Douglas. He’s a one off in so many ways. I suspect he will stand a very good chance of winning the by-election and the Conservative Party machine needs to work out a strategy of fighting him. If I were them I’d run a ‘more in sorrow than in anger’ type campaign and try to kill him with kindness. But frankly, whatever approach they take, I’m not sure I can see it working.

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I am given to understand that while on his summer holidays in France, labour leader Ed Miliband has sprouted facial hair. How I would love it if he retained it. He would be the first party leader since Keir Hardie to sport a beard. Or am I wrong?

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There, that wasn’t a bad starter for ten, was it? Beat that Atticus!

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To be serious for a moment, the Rotherham child abuse scandal is almost too awful to behold. More than 1,400 children were abused and yet no police officer, social worker, council official or politician did anything about it. No one can explain why, and yet no one has accepted responsibility. The truth is, no one person is responsible, but the buck ought to stop with someone. The public expects heads to roll, but few have. Meanwhile, everyone tip-toes around the fact that the perpetrators were virtually all from one racial and religious grouping – Pakistani muslims. Some on the left are using this as an excuse as to why no one came forward. Apparently they couldn’t bring themselves to because they feared they would be dubbed ‘racist’. I doubt that very much. Perhaps we should all listen to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, who has been very strong on this. “White experts and officers have for too long been reluctant to confront serious offences committed by black and Asian people. Such extreme tolerance is the result of specious morality, that credo that says investigating such crimes would encourage racism or enrage community activists and leaders, or, worse, make the professionals appear racist. So, instead of saving children who were being gang raped, drugged, assaulted, threatened and terrorised, they chose to protect rapists, abusers, traffickers and drug dealers. And themselves… Yes, racists will have further ammunition after this report. Blame those who did what they did, not those who are brave and just enough to expose them. I will always fight for the rights of minorities. But I will not defend the indefensible.” Think on her wise words.

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If I knew an agony aunt, this is what I’d be writing:

“Dear Deirdre,

A good friend of mine has asked me to speak at a small political fundraiser to raise money for their forthcoming general election campaign. This presents me with a moral dilemma. Why? Because the politician concerned is a member of a political party I don’t support. However, the party I am most likely to support at the election doesn’t stand an earthly of being elected in that constituency. So should I do this for my friend?

Love Iain

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Bloody hell, no one’s resigned from the Foreign Office this week. Put out the flags!

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I hate to say I told you so, but I always said the Police & Crime Commissioners would prove to be a disaster. Second rate people, often failed politicians, in a job for which they have little aptitude for or knowledge of. What could possibly go wrong? Ann Barnes in Kent is the best example of an incompetent egotist, whose thirst for publicity has made her a complete laughing stock in the county. In the West Midlands there has been a by-election which cost the taxpayer £3.5 million and attracted a turnout of 9 per cent. That works out at £20 a vote. They don’t even pay that in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets! And now we have the example of Sean Wright in South Yorkshire. First he oversaw the Cliff Richard debacle, and now he won’t resign over the child abuse scandal in Rotherham. PCCs may have been introduced for all the right reasons, but they have largely proved themselves to be a shambles. And a costly one at that.

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So in the year to March immigration was up to 243,000. How‘s that promise going, Prime Minister? Apparently Nick Clegg wants to take students out of the immigration figures. Amazing. I can finally agree with him on something! I have never understood why students are counted as immigrants when they are nothing of the sort. Similarly, why are students counted as ‘unemployed’ just because they are available for work but haven’t got any. Er, they are students. It’s one of those great mysteries of our time. We are told that there are still 800,000 young people unemployed when actually there are nothing of the sort.

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Boris for Uxbridge, eh? Now there’s a shock. I’m sure he’ll be selected, possibly because no one else will bother applying. But I’d love to be a fly on the wall at the selection meeting when he explains how his airports policy would make thousands of his constituents unemployed, and when he explains the wonders of HS2 to his constituents who will be badly affected by it. He’s a Teflon politician, but I just wonder if this really is the right constituency for him.

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Right, back to the holiday. Until next week, amigos.

60 comments for: Iain Dale: How I turned down Douglas Carswell

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