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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 can’t pretend that I have read every newspaper every day, but it seems to me that there is one broadsheet that has trumped its rivals every single day, and that’s The Times. Its range and depth are simply unrivalled and, with its star team of columnists, it is unmissable. Its App is so much easier to navigate than its main rivals, too. And I love Ann Treneman. Sketchwriting can be a bit hit and miss, but she has a consistency which is difficult to match.

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For hard working people #ArentWeAllDear

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Readers may remember that I wrote about the death of Sir Anthony Garner in a recent column, who was director of the party’s organisation from 1976-1988. His son Christopher has asked if I can pass on details of his memorial service. It is to be held on Tuesday 12th May at 2.30pm at St Mary’s Church in Old Amersham. He is keen to keep track of numbers, so if you plan to attend could you please email chris@chrisgarner.co.uk.

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I was chatting to a former Conservative MP the other day about Sir Anthony Garner, who was bemoaning the state of the party organisation and the fact that many of his members had died in the last few years or had buggered off to UKIP. “The policy on gay marriage has had a bigger impact that Number Ten realises locally. They’ve even driven away our more useful bigots.” Surely a front-runner for quote of the campaign?

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It’s all part of our Long Term Economic Strategy #CourseItIsLove

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Last weekend, I got yet another of the wretched press releases from CCHQ informing me that the Labour campaign was in chaos.

Thanks for that insight. Having lost every single week of the campaign to Ed Miliband so far, if I were them I’d be looking in the mirror a little more. This election is slipping away from the Conservatives, and no one seems to realise it. It’s all very well warning of the danger of an SNP-Labour arrangement, but to do it every hour of every day to the exclusion of almost everything else is ridiculous.

Michael Forsyth has said that the effect if to big up the SNP and make Scottish independence ever more likely. He certainly has a point. Indeed, had David Cameron agreed to do a repeat of the three TV debates from last time, the SNP wouldn’t have had sniff at the exposure they have had courtesy of the two TV debates so far. That’s not to say they wouldn’t still be way ahead in Scotland, but it comes to a pretty pass when you have people in England clamouring for SNP candidates to stand in England next time.

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Only one party can guarantee you an EU referendum. #YeahWeveHeardItAllBefore

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I was having lunch with a senior newspaper group representative the other day and he showed me an email he had just received from one of the biggest media analysts in the business. These people are paid to provide independent advice to big companies. He said to me I should read the final sentence. “We have discounted the possibility of a Conservative-led government”. That’s quite something for anyone to predict at this stage, but that a well-respected city firm Is now doing so ought to send a shiver down the back of any Conservative strategist.

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Maybe it’s too early in the campaign, but I get the impression the political poster is dying a slow death. I Screen shot 2015-04-23 at 06.42.13spent the weekend in Norfolk, and barely saw one. In Norwich North I saw one Labour poster, in North Norfolk I saw the usual LibDem poster display on the main road into North Walsham, and in Broadland Keith Simpson has a reasonable display. In Norwich South I’ve seen more Green posters than any others and in all four of those constituencies I’ve only seen one UKIP poster. Perhaps the best-sited poster of all is this massive one for Keith in the village I live in. Everyone who drives through the village is confronted with it. I first saw it when I came home on Friday night last weekend – and no wonder, since it had been plonked in my garden! Further investigation revealed it had been put there by none other than Mrs Simpson herself. Nice to be asked!

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Steve Riley is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Broadland. Let’s face it, he was never likely to get my vote but, having received his election address, he most certainly won’t be now.

It is illiterate, with numerous grammatical and spelling mistakes. He even manages to get his own phone number wrong, as it has three too many digits. I know that the LibDems have leaked members in recent times, but it seems they don’t even have enough people to proof-read a leaflet.

At one time the LibDems thought they could win Broadland, with the Norman Lamb effect rippling southwards from North Norfolk. They had always been strong on Broadland District Council.

But their leader, the former blogger Nich Starling, resigned and quit the party, and they’ve never been the same since. I predict a greatly increased Tory majority in Broadland on 7 May – not exactly my most controversial prediction.

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Would you ever vote tactically to keep Labour, or in Scotland the SNP, out? It’s a question a lot of people are asking themselves in this election. For instance, if you live in Hornsey & Wood Green, would you lend your vote to Lynne Featherstone of the LibDems, since the Conservative candidate has no chance? If you live in Stirling would you vote Labour to keep the SNP out, or for Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire for the same reason? Sir Malcolm Rifkind told me on Tuesday that he understood anybody who would vote for a unionist party over the SNP. He hinted he would do so himself, if it really mattered. Quite an admission from a former Conservative Scottish Secretary.

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We’ve got two weeks to save the NHS #ThatWorkedWellIn1992DidntIt

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Quote of the week by Boris Johnson (who else?): “I’m on all fours with Theresa May”. I will leave it to your imagination to guess what the context was.

 

 

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