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

So serial party defector Winston McKenzie has joined the Big Brother house. What could possibly go wrong?

He’s been a member of just about every political party other than Labour. During the autumn, he left UKIP to join the poor old English Democrats. What on earth did they do to deserve that? In a parting shot, he accused the UKIP’s top echelons of UKIP of racism for failing to see the merits of selecting him as their candidate for Mayor of London. This was a repeat of what happened in 2008 when he inexplicably lost out to Boris in the Conservative mayoral selection.

When he announced he was joining UKIP, I remember speaking to Nigel Farage and suggesting he might find Winston too hot to handle. It was one in a series of warning to the UKIP leader about several people who decided to use UKIP to further their ambitions. He ignored every one of them, and has lived to regret it. I have little doubt that McKenzie won’t last the course in the Big Brother house. His loathsome character will be the undoing of him.

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At the end of last year I looked back to see how my 2015 predictions had turned out and amazingly I got 8 out of 10 right – somewhat better than my general election seat prediction! Anyway, here are my ten predictions for 2016:

1. The EU Referendum will be held in July.

2. The Remain Campaign will prevail, but by a margin of 55-45 or less.

3. Nigel Farage will not be UKIP leader by the end of 2016.

4. Labour will experience a net loss of council seats in May.

5. Donald Trump will not be the Republican Candidate for President.

6. In terms of seats and/or vote share, Labour will come third in the Scottish Parliamentary elections.

7. Arsenal will win the Premier League.

8. Philip Hammond will not be Foreign Secretary by the end of the year.

9. The Liberal Democrats will be all but wiped out in the GLA, Welsh Assembly & Scottish Parliament elections, retaining less than half of their existing 12 seats in the three bodies.

10. Malcolm Turnbull calls an early election in Australia and wins an increased majority.

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So Keith Vaz deleted his Twitter and Facebook accounts, leading to all sorts of speculation about why he has done it – given the size of his ego and willingness to comment on any issue at the drop of a hat. I imagine he was quickly suffering from cold turkey syndrome – because yesterday morning he created a new Twitter account. Curiouser and curiouser.

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The last time I did a major interview with Alex Salmond it got him into a bit of trouble with the reptiles north of the border – since, during it, he had the temerity to suggest that Margaret Thatcher wasn’t all bad.

Cue stooshie after stooshie in the Scottish press. It dominated the headlines for three days. So I was more than gruntled to announce last week that from next Wednesday he’ll be doing a weekly phone-in with me on my radio show on LBC. So excited is Chris Grayling by the prospect that he told the Commons during Business Questions yesterday that he’ll be listening.

Whatever you think of Alex Salmond’s politics, he will be a class act on the radio. He pointed out to me that maybe our station moniker of ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ should be changed to ‘Leaving Britain’s Conversation’. Boom boom. Anyway, do tune in on Wednesday at 16.00.

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It’s difficult to know what to write about Jeremy Corbyn’s reshuffle that hasn’t already been said. Rarely has so much been written about so little. One person was sacked; one was moved. Big. Effing. Deal. And that took 38 hours to sort out. Corbyn seems to be even more indecisive than Gordon Brown.

I was, however, profoundly shocked by one thing – the sacking of Pat McFadden. Corbyn has every right to form his team in his own image and get rid of troublemakers, but to tell McFadden he was being sacked for his comments on standing up to terrorists beggared belief. In case you’ve forgotten, the latter stood up in the Commons after the Paris attacks and asked the PM this -

I don’t understand how any sane person could disagree with a word of that. The fact that Corbyn does tells you all you need to know – and further fuels the Tory narrative that he can’t be trusted with our national security.

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What lessons can we draw from the fact that North Korea claims to have set off a hydrogen bomb? Simple. That anyone who continues to support unilateral nuclear disarmament is either not living in the real world, doesn’t understand the nation’s defence needs, or is a traitor to their country. Or all three.

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Just as a final treat, I interviewed Charles Moore about the second volume of his Margaret Thatcher biography recently. It’s well worth a listen. You can do so by clicking here.

66 comments for: Iain Dale: As this new year begins, I gaze again into my crystal balls

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