DALE Iain Krieg illustration square

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

OK, I’ve got to say this. I can’t stand Sir Alistair Graham. Whenever there’s any political scandal, up he pops to dispense his holier than thou brand of puritanism. Yes, Lord Sewel was stupid, yes he broke the law, but for God’s sake, apart from the feelings of his wife and family, no one was hurt, no one was stolen from, no one was murdered.

One day someone is going to top themselves over something like this, and it won’t just be partly the fault of the newspaper who does the sting, it will be the fault of gobs on sticks like Sir Alastair Graham who lose no opportunity to prey on a rotting political corpse.

I mean, he left his role as chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life eight years ago. And yet, we, the media beat a path to his door every time any politician does something wrong, or when there’s a scandal about MPs’ pay.

It’s not as if we think he’s actually going to say anything of interest. We know what he’s going to say. ‘So and so has some serious questions to answer’. ‘They need to look themselves in the mirror’. ‘It shows how politicians don’t get it’. Well thanks for that unique insight, Sir Alastair.

If I never interview him again, it will be too soon.

So glad to get that off my chest.

Back to watching Series 3 of The Newsroom.

- – – – – – – – – -

Somebody on Twitter reminded me of an interview I did with Jeremy Corbyn two days after the election. Scroll in to around 14 minutes and you will hear me put the idea to him of standing for the Labour Party leadership. So it’s all my fault! Don’t you think that deserves at least a Knighthood, if not a peerage, for services to the Conservative Party?

- – – – – – – – – -

I remain of the view that in the coalition Eric Pickles was one of the best ministers, if not the best minister in terms of achieving things. But one thing that I wish he hadn’t done was to change the law to enable office blocks to be turned into blocks of flats. I can see why he did it, because around the country there are many offices that have been empty for years, so why not change their planning use? In London, however, so many office blocks are being converted into flats that the supply of offices has almost dried up and as a consequence office rentals have shot up exponentially. The latest building to be emptied of office tenants is none other than Millbank Tower, previously home to New Labour, and indeed the Conservative Party. The block will be turned into flats and hotels. It won’t be long before smaller companies won’t be able to afford to stay in the capital and will have to move out. My publishing company’s lease comes to an end in August. It has been impossible to find anywhere to move to and we seriously considered moving out of London to Kent. In the end we have negotiated to stay where we are, but our rent has gone up by a massive amount and we will be paying around £50,000 extra just to stay put. I’ve negotiated six or seven leases over the last two decades and each time have got a bit of a bargain deal just by being hardnosed. Those days are over. So now I have to work out how I can find £50,000 of cost savings or extra revenue. Not exactly my favourite activity.

- – – – – – – – – -

Perhaps signing up David Laws to write a new book might go some way to easing the pain of increased office costs. He’s going to write a book called Coalition! to be published in the spring. Snappy title, eh. It’s what I call a Ronseal title. It does what it says on the tin. If it sells anything like his last book, 22 Days in May, I shall be a very happy publisher. I think David is a real loss to Parliament, but I suspect he’s quite relieved that he’s no there are one of the eight Lib Dem MPs. I suspect they’re not enjoying life at all.

- – – – – – – – – -

Well at least I won’t have to write about Ivan Massow any longer. His shambles of a London mayoral campaign was snuffed out by the interview committee last Saturday and we’ll no longer have to endure any of his “butt cock” clenchingly awful videos. He reckons, according to Sterpike column in The Spectator that he didn’t get through because of his outspoken attacks on Section 28 back in the late 1990s. No Ivan, you didn’t get through because they thought you were a bit of a dick. Perhaps the fact that he has 32 portraits of himself on the walls of his London house gave them a bit of a clue.

As predicted by me last week, four candidates went through to the final selection, although Philippa Roe didn’t make it and Andrew Boff did. That, of course, has given Labour a stick to beat the Conservatives with as there are no women in the final four. Roe must have performed disastrously not to make it, as there was little doubt that CCHQ were desperate for her to be on the final list.

- – – – – – – – – -

Do you remember Chris Mullin’s novel A Very British Coup, which was made into a drama by Channel 4? I reckon Jeremy Corbyn is a modern day Harry Perkins…

60 comments for: Iain Dale: Sir Alistair Graham, purveyor of holier-than-thou puritanism, is just a gob on a stick

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.