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.

I was asked last week to fill in for Adam Boulton while he’s on holiday and write a column for the Sunday Times. My mum would have been very proud. It is by far the best Sunday newspaper for comment and opinion pieces, and it was the first time I had written a column for the main part of the newspaper (although I had written for its News Review before).

It may come as a surprise to you that I have absolutely zero confidence in my ability as comment writer. I had a column on the Daily Telegraph for two years, yet each time I pressed send I always expected it to whizz its way back into my InBox with the message “it’s crap: do it again”. It never happened, but right to the very end I expected it to.

Anyway, I duly trotted off 1,100 words on where internal opposition to David Cameron might come from, and sent it off. Then came the anxious wait… And, hey presto, no it didn’t come back with any negative comment at all. In fact, apart from one minor fact I got wrong, they didn’t change a word. I almost basked. Anyway, you can read it on my blog if you really want to.

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I’ve just booked to go to the Edinburgh Festival next week for four days. I’m flying up on Sunday on a plane from Norwich International Airport – it’s very important to include the word ‘international’ – which seems to have about 16 seats. Propellertastic.

I’ve planned my itinerary very carefully and will be seeing 15 shows, a lot of which have a political tinge. Could you resist seeing UKIP: The Musical or Margaret Thatcher: Queen of Soho? Or Tony Benn’s Last Tape? Or Boris World? Nope, me neither.

But in order to try to convince the world I am not wholly obsessed by politics, I’m also going to see a talk by one of the Bay City Rollers, a play about Bob Monkhouse and a very funny German comedian called Christian Schulte-Loh. But the highlight will be seeing Gyles Brandreth’s Word Game. He is such a star and his Edinburgh shows are always sold out.

Anyway, I shall report back next week, and I warn you now that the whole column will be an Edinburgh Special’. Or maybe not so special. Assuming the propeller plane actually gets me there and back in one piece.

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According to reports, David Laws has been barred from a peerage by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. What a disgrace. OK, he’s a friend of mine – and one of my authors, so I am biased. But compared to many existing members of the Lords he’s a saint. He paid a heavy price for his expenses misdemeanour, but now he’s being punished for a second time by an unelected committee of the so-called ‘great and good’.

Knowing David as I do, I suspect he will look back on this in a few years’ time and thank his lucky stars it happened. The sooner we have an elected Lords the better – although even I have got to the point of wondering if we shouldn’t just get rid of it altogether. and bolster the committee system in the Commons.

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Arsenal 0 West Ham 2. What a day. We mullered them. But knowing West Ham as I do, as sure as eggs is eggs, we’ll lose at home to Leicester on Saturday.

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You know when you think of someone as a friend and you confide things to them because you trust them and are trying to help them. And then they betray you. Publicly. That happened to me this week. It’s something I find hard to forgive. They say all’s fair in love and politics, but when you have bent over backwards to help someone and they repay you with lies, half-truths and spin, you wonder why you gave them the time of day in the first place. If I never have any contact with this person again, it will be too soon.

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Talking of s***s, Jose Mourinho hit the headlines this week for effectively constructively dismissing the Chelsea team doctor. Why? Because she rushed on to the pitch to help an injured Eden Hazard.

Perish the thought she should do her job. Mourinho is a bully who, whenever Chelsea fail to win, deploys a deflection gambit to keep media attention away from his team’s all-too-apparent failings. And the media fall for it every time.

The shame of it is that in this case a perfectly competent woman has pretty much lost her job over it. He should hang his head in shame and apologise to her. Trouble is, he isn’t man enough. He’s probably got a small dick, too.

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The UKIP London mayoral candidate selection may turn out to be rather more interesting than I first thought – not to mention one which Vladimir Putin would be proud of. The two leading contenders are Suzanne Evans and Peter Whittle, their culture spokesman, but there are several others who have thrown their hats into the ring, too.

In any normal world Suzanne Evans would win the nomination by a country mile, but this is UKIP we are dealing with here. The putative candidates will face a selection panel at the end of the month, and it is this that will decide the winner. Yes, you heard that right. UKIP’s London members will have no say whatsoever. The concept of one member one vote seems to be alien to them.

Quite how the UKIP national executive think this is an acceptable way of conducting a London mayoral nomination election is anyone’s guess. From what I hear, the selection committee is stuffed full of Nigel Farage’s placemen (and virtually all of them are men) so whoever is chosen will certainly have the Farage rubber stamp. If Evans isn’t selected, that should tell us all we need to know about what future the party leader thinks she has in UKIP.

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