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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 feel a bit like a dog returning to its vomit, as each week I write about the Conservative London mayoral selection – but how can I possibly let Ivan Massow’s new campaign video pass without comment? (See above.) Delusional is one word to describe it. Creepy is another. Quite which of his campaign team (I assume that he has one) came up with this ridiculous idea, I’d love to know so I could ridicule the s**t out of them.

But in the end a candidate is responsible for his own campaign and Massow is responsible for this abortion of a video. If he really doesn’t know what Londoners want, then you’d think he might actually visit a few areas and ask people in the street. Bearing in mind that D-Day for all the candidates is Saturday, when they all face their interviews, he only had about five nights to spend with Londoners anyway, after the release of the video.

But frankly, what kind of weirdo would invite Massow to spend a night with them anyway? (Nudge, nudge, arf arf?) After all, this is a man who has 30 paintings of himself adorning the walls of his house. I mean, what kind of narcissist would even think of doing that? I’m not exactly known to be shy in the ego stakes, but I don’t have a single picture, let alone a painting of myself on display in Simmons-Dale Towers. I don’t like to frighten any visitors.

When I first saw the video on Sunday night I tweeted that I found it “buttock-clenchingly awful”. Unfortunately the person who runs the LBC twitter feed didn’t quite read that correctly and tweeted out that I had said it was “butt-cock clenchingly awful”. There are plenty of jokes there if you look hard enough. So many that I won’t even try. Luckily the tweet was removed rather quickly. Shame the video wasn’t.

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Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall at the mayoral interviews tomorrow. Especially the bit when someone questions the fact that of the seven declared candidates they’re only allowed to put through two or three. I’d be willing to bet that in the end four candidates will go through the final, and they will be Zac Goldsmith, Syed Kamall, Philippa Roe and Stephen Greenhalgh. We’ll soon see.

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One of the post-election pleasures that many of us look forward to is buying a copy of the Times Guide to the House of Commons. I can’t be the only one that is that sad. Come on, admit it. You agree with me, right? However, as a Conservative I don’t much like change. I hated it when they changed the format and didn’t include biographical details of the losing candidates. I hated it when they changed the size. Call me semi-autistic, but I like symmetry on my bookshelves.

So I was less than gruntled when I got my 2015 edition this week to find that instead of the nice shiny paper they used to use, they now use a form of Izal Medicated loo paper. When you’re paying £60 for a book you expect a bit quantity as well as quantity. The 2010 edition had 30 essays analysing the election; the 2015 edition has four. The photographs of the new MPs are miniscule. And – absolutely unforgivably – the constituency results don’t include the majority of the winning candidate.

They’ve also gone all tabloid in the biographical details. And they misspelled Tracey Crouch’s name in the Chatham & Aylesford section – forgetting the ‘e’. Though if that’s the only error, they can be forgiven. When you undertake compiling a mammoth reference work like this you wouldn’t be human if the odd error didn’t creep in.

In our own Politicos Guide to the New House of Commons we said that Chris Stephens, the new SNP MP, had been a loan broker. He got in touch to say that this was news to him. Wrong Chris Stephens, apparently. He was a good sport about it. Anyway, if you can’t afford to pay £60 for an inferior Times Guide, fine, but you may think the Politicos Guide is more of a bargain at £19.99!

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On Wednesday night I hosted a Labour Party Leadership hustings debate with the four candidates. Having watched several of the TV hustings, I was determined that we’d spice it up a bit, seeing as had turned into boreathons – or had been largely about the interviewer/presenter and how clever they could be.

If you missed it you can watch the whole thing below. I decided to let them slug it out and quiz each other for quite a lot of the 90 minutes,  and it really seemed to work judging from the comments I read afterwards.

It was clear to me that Jeremy Corbyn won, in the sense that he was the one that gave consistently clear answers which appealed to the selectorate who will be voting. It’s astonishing that he’s made so much headway, and is now considered a real contender to win.

I am starting to wonder if Liz Kendall really might pull out in order to stop him in his tracks. I’d imagine Yvette Cooper would be the beneficiary of that. Yvette’s trouble is that she has become the Ronan Keating of this campaign, believing that she says it best when she says nothing at all. It’s the kind of safety-first approach that Stanley Baldwin would have been proud of. But it may prove to be very clever in the end, as I suspect she could well win on second preferences.

80 comments for: Iain Dale: Massow’s campaign video – butt-cock clenchingly awful

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