Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of BitebackPublishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.
Tuesday night saw the tenth anniversary dinner party to celebrate ten years of the Guido Fawkes blog. There was something rather incongruous about the fact that it was held deep in the heart of clubland, and that those attending were a rather good sample of the Westminster establishment.
Quite how the Prime Minister was persuaded to send a video message, God alone knows. I’d love to have been present during the discussions. Craig Oliver must have taken leave of his senses.
Having said that, David Cameron did it very well, although not quite as well as Boris, who was there live in person to kick the event off – before trying to leave through a door which led into a cupboard. He has so much in common with George W Bush, does Boris.
The evening was compered by Paul Staines and Harry Cole. I’m still not sure which of them was in the Amanda Holden role, but it’s probably best not to think about that too much.
Watching Harry introduce Boris was like watching an adopted son realise he was in the presence of his real father. The only difference was the Harry had had a very dapper haircut. I have to say I rather miss the carefully cultivated unkempt look which he used to such good effect with the ladies.
I’m delighted to see Harry doing so well. He doesn’t just write for Guido, he also writes for the Spectator and GQ, and has become an accomplished broadcaster too. When he first joined Guido, I was a bit cruel to him, believing that watering down the Guido brand wouldn’t work and that no one could emulate the original. I was wrong.
Clearly Paul and Harry had had a good lunch when they drew up the seating plan. The first people I saw at a table when I walked in were Lynton Crosby and Douglas Carswell – sitting next to each other: awkward.
Rumour has it that Paul tried to persuade Crosby to present Carswell’s award to him – but if that’s true, Lynton wasn’t for persuading. He remained stubbornly stuck to his seat, unlike Stewart Wood, Ed Miliband’s chief adviser, who somehow found himself on the stage accepting Damian McBride’s prize for something or other. He seemed rather lost for words. Which is probably just as well, because anything he had said would no doubt be taken down and used in evidence…
The excellent UK General Election 2015 blog informs us that, in September, UKIP’s was the most visited political party website, followed by the SNP, with the Conservatives in third place and the LibDems trailing back in sixth behind the Greens. It doesn’t mean a lot, but I just thought you’d like to know. Another sign of which way the political winds are blowing.
I am sick and tired of people spotting racism where none exists. The furore over Mike Read’s UKIP-supporting UKIP Calypso showed the Left in their true colours.
There was nothing remotely racist about it. Yes, it was shockingly bad – but not racist. I’ve got to know Read a bit over the last few years. My first encounter with him was when he was doing the Radio 1 Breakfast Show in about 1979 and I took part in his Beat the Jock competition. I didn’t. Beat the jock, I mean.
I next met him about eight years ago when he was considering running for London mayor, and I interviewed him for an hour on 18 Doughty Street. And a few months ago, my company published his autobiography. His accusers say he’s racist for singing the Calypso in a fake West Indian accent. I ask you. A calypso is not a calypso unless it is sung in a West Indian accent. If I sing Je t’aime in a French accent am I being racist against the French? Of course not. If I fake a German accent, am I being xenophobic against the Germans? Natuerlich nicht. If I tell an Irish joke and use an Irish accent, am I being paddyphobic (cue p.c insults)? No.
This is an anti-UKIP storm in a teacup, and Read has been used by the left to try to reinforce in people’s minds that there is something a bit whiffy about UKIP. Yes, UKIP does indeed have its so-called closet racists and fruitcakes. But so does every political party. But the Left know the political media loves to highlight those belonging to UKIP. That’s what this stupid incident is all about. Furthermore, shame on the British Red Cross for saying they won’t accept any money that was raised via the sales of Read’s song on iTunes. I look forward to them explaining to the children that money that could have helped them won’t be doing so. Political correctness at its worst.
Conservative MEPs have always been flaky, with very few of them showing any sort of spine whatsoever. This week they did a LibDem and voted three ways on the ratification of Jean-Claude Drunker as head of the European Commission.
Six of their number voted to ratify him. Shame on them. Several of the six are first time MEPs. Didn’t take them long to go native, did it? I’d have expected Richard Ashworth and Tim Kirkhope to vote that way: they have form. But shame on Julie Girling, Kay Swinburne, Anthea McIntyre and Sajjad Karim, who have betrayed the very people who selected them in the first place.
I look forward to the next European selections where they can held accountable for that vote. Perhaps by then the party will have come up with a selection system which isn’t stacked in favour of the incumbents. I won’t hold my breath, though.