DALE Iain Krieg illustration square

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

Well, Craig Oliver’s book has certainly attracted a degree of animosity from Her Majesty’s Press. Robbie Millen in The Times called it “hastily cobbled together”, while James Kirkup in The Daily Telegraph is crueller.

He suggests that “to read this book is to suffer a form of intellectual claustrophobia.” What utter drivel. It’s not meant to be a book for intellectuals. As Kevin Maguire put it on Twitter (and I’m not given to quoting Maguire that often), “revenge is a dish best served cold”. And that’s exactly what Kirkup and others have done. They appear to relish getting their own back on a Government spin doctor who obviously upset them from time to time.

In some ways, this is not surprising. As I say in my own review of the book “I thought he was too concerned with keeping BBC news programmes happy and didn’t seem to get that there were actually other broadcasters who mattered too.” In the beginning, there was certainly a feeling among print hacks that Oliver didn’t understand their needs, or even care.

Whatever truth there may have been in that view when he started the job, I think it is unfair to characterise him in that way at its end. It is so much easier to write a book review that is negative. I made clear some of my own misgivings about Oliver’s version of events, but at least I tried to be balanced. I’ve yet to read a review written by a print journalist that has made any attempt to do the same. They have short-changed their readers.

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Talking of current political memoirs, I am around a hundred pages into Nick Clegg’s book. And boy, am I struggling. So far, it’s one long whinge. I’ll write a full review once I get to the end. If I get to the end…

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It seems I have upset the Welsh. Not difficult with some of them. I saw a tweet from Plaid Cymru saying this: “We have the opportunity in Wales to do things differently – not the ugly politics of British nationalism.”

I responded by tweeting: “The lack of self-awareness in this tweet is incredible. What about the ugly politics of Welsh nationalism?” I thought this was a relatively uncontroversial statement, but from the reaction of some Plaid supporters you’d have thought I’d suggested the complete defenestration of Leanne Wood in Cardiff city centre.

Oh, no they cried, there’s nothing ugly about Welsh nationalism. Why, though, is it OK to be proud of the Welsh nation, but not of the British nation?

Look at the group Balchder Cymru (Pride of Wales), and tell me that a lot of its views and actions aren’t “ugly”. There are plenty examples of Plaid supporters and politicians making exactly the same kind of anti-English comments that some SNP politicians have specialised in over the years. Just do a quick Google search if you don’t believe me.

Caru Cymru, a Plaid-supporting blog, accuses me of being anti Welsh. Nothing could be further from the truth. He judges me on the basis of that single tweet. Let me make it crystal-clear. If I were Welsh or Scottish. I too would be tempted by the nationalist cause. But what would put me off supporting the SNP or Plaid is their blatant anti-British and anti-English rhetoric. It isn’t always “ugly”; but it often is. And that is an indisputable fact.

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Tonight I’m travelling to Norwich from Liverpool Street. If I go on the 7.30, a first class ticket will cost me all of £27.10. If I take the 8pm train, the price goes up to £103.10. Can I get to Liverpool Street in time, given that my LBC show finishes at 7 and I’m in Leicester Square? I’ll let you know.

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I don’t know how many of you watch Dave, a channel on Freeview or Sky which specialises in re-running comedy programmes. Well, on Wednesdays at ten there’s a series called Matt Forde Unspun.

Matt is a politically interested comedian and he’s joined by his house band, MP4 – four MPs who are actually rather musically gifted. It’s a political chat show with a series of satirical features, and it’s rapidly becoming a must-watch.

But Dave has done very little to promote it, and I worry that its audience figures won’t be high enough to warrant them commissioning a second series. Forde is a brilliant mimic – indeed, the only one I know who can do David Cameron. Apart from the satire, he also does a lengthy interview with a politician. So far on this series he’s had Anna Soubry, Alan Johnson and Chuka Umunna. Each of them has been witty and irreverent, and Forde manages to get them out of their normal politician mode. Give it a try. Wednesdays at ten on Dave.

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Can I just refute the rumours that Michael Gove is embarking on a new career as a scary clown?

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