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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.

I remember thinking at the time: “this could be big”. Four months ago, I did a phone-in on LBC on the growing rumours of a child sex ring at Westminster and asked why the Met handn’t taken any action.

I then took two completely spontaneous calls from ex-Metropolitan Police Officers, both of whom had been investigating child sex abuse involving politicians. Just as arrests were about to be made, orders came down from on high ordering the investigations to be dropped. You can listen to their calls here.

I must admit my blood ran cold. We have kept in touch with these two men since, and I very much hope they will tell what they know to the new IPCC inquiry. It seems that this insidious activity wasn’t just confined to Cyril Smith, but that there was a lot of it going on. It needs to be uncovered and names need to made public – no matter who they were or how high they climbed in the political world.

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Half an hour after I filed my ConservativeHome Diary last week, I had to go to A&E. I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice it say it was not pleasant. So unpleasant, in fact, that later that day I had to have a two hour operation under general anaesthetic. I’ve been off work since then, although I managed to crawl back to do my LBC show on Wednesday.

I’ve never had to stay overnight in hospital before, and wasn’t looking forward to the experience. Overall, I cannot speak highly enough of the care I received. Waits were kept to a minimum, everything was explained to me in language I understood, and everyone seemed genuinely caring. There is nothing I can think of that I could complain about, apart from the egg mayonnaise sandwich that I had for breakfast. Toast is banned, apparently.

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One observation, though. I reckon that about 80 per cent of the nurses and doctors I saw at the hospital were not from this country. Every single one of them really cared about their work. They came from countries such as Bulgaria, Iran, India and the Philippines. The male nurse I saw earlier today when I went back to have my wound dressed was from Portugal.

I told several of them that I had written a book about the NHS, which led to some very interesting conversations. They were all immensely proud to work at the hospital, and they put their all into it. One of the nurses reckoned that English people don’t like to do the kind of work that they have to do.

That may have been an over-generalisation, but there’s clearly an element of truth in it. The NHS would cease to function without its foreign-born staff, although I still think it is rather unethical for us to be taking medical professionals from underdeveloped countries which clearly need them.

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My erstwhile nemesis in North Norfolk, Norman Lamb, was featured in most of the Sunday newspapers after the Sunday Mirror had the story of how his family were being blackmailed over his son’s alleged use of cocaine. The way he handled this story was an example to any politician who has to deal with a story that intrudes on their family life. Handling this sort of thing without the glare of media publicity is difficult at the best of times.

Ten years ago, Norman ended my parliamentary ambitions. I hold absolutely no bitterness about that at all. In hindsight, maybe he did me a favour. He’s always been a first-rate constituency MP and in my opinion has probably been the most effective Liberal Democat minister in the Coalition Government. If the LibDems have any sense, they’ll elect him to succeed Nick Clegg.

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This week, I published Nigel Farage’s new book The Purple Revolution. I always had high hopes for the sales of this mighty tome, but even I was surprised that it reached Number 26 on the Amazon bestsellers chart two days before it came out.

Indeed, we’ve already sold out of the initial print run, and aren’t far off selling out of the reprint. WH Smith have taken more than 5,500 copies; Amazon have sold well into four figures. I have always been totally supportive of Waterstones (together with them we have weathered the recent changes in an absurdly dynamic industry) and enjoy an excellent relationship with what is, after all, Britain’s only proper bookshop chain.

However, I can’t help but find it deeply frustrating that they have taken fewer than two copies for each of their 300 branches. It’s had a massive serialisation in the Daily Telegraph and has a proven bestselling sales record on Amazon – but we can’t persuade Waterstone’s to treat this book as the bestseller it already is. It’s the kind of thing that makes a publisher want to bang his head against a brick wall – something I am prone to doing every day. Most publishers do, to be honest.

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There’s little doubt that people are beginning to buy shares in George Osborne again. His political stature has rarely been higher. He’s had his ups and downs over the years, but as the General Election approaches there is little doubt that he is a politician at the height of his game. It’s therefore natural that speculation will start about his political future.

If there is a Conservative-led government after the election, what happens to him? Well, I guess the choice is as follows. He stays where he is – or moves to the Foreign Office to handle the EU treaty negotiations.

If the Conservatives lose, and Ed Miliband walks into Number Ten, then things will get trickier. Osborne ought to be a leading contender to succeed David Cameron, and may well be, but some will see that he is tainted by the Cameron brand – indeed, some say it is he who more Cameroon than Cameron himself.

In a recent Evening Standard interview, the Prime Minister told Sarah Sands, its editor, while he was more of a “traditional” Conservative, George Osborne was more of a “metropolitan market Conservative”.

Osborne’s best chances of leading the Conservative Party lie in the Tories winning the election, him moving to be Foreign Secretary and then successfully renegotiating Britain’s membership of the EU. It would be a very tricky path to the leadership, but who’s to say it’s impossible?

I’ll be interviewing the Chancellor this afternoon on LBC from 5pm. I’ve got him for half an hour, which by my reckoning will be the longest broadcast interview he’s ever done. If you have a DAB radio, tune it to LBC, or if you’re near a TV you can listen on Freeview channel 732 or Sky Channel 0112. Or of course via the LBC app or online at www.lbc.co.uk.

53 comments for: Iain Dale: A foreign nurse tells me that Brits don’t want his NHS job. He has a point.

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