Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.
Following his ill-judged retweets of three Britain First tweets, Donald Trump is now turning his ire onto Theresa May. He tweeted yesterday: “@Theresa_May don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive radical Islamic terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!”
Further evidence, if we needed it, of the President’s warped narcissism. The basic trouble is that the man has so little respect for the office he holds. The Prime Minister was absolutely right to call him out on his tweets. As Piers Morgan told me, Trump either retweeted Britain First because he didn’t know what it is, or he knew exactly.
If it was the former, he is an idiot. If it’s the latter, it is a clear sign that he is Islamophobic. I’d say in either case that it demonstrates that America has a President who provides succour to racists, Islamophobes and white supremacists.
Furthermore, one of the videos has been proved to be a fake, and the perpetrator of violence in one of the others was sentenced to death for his actions. Tweeting three videos like this is clearly designed to cause division between Muslims and the rest of the community.
It’s meant to persuade Americans that because one radical Muslim cleric deliberately smashes a statue of the Virgin Mary, then all Muslims would approve of such action. It’s just despicable that a man who holds the office of President should do this. We don’t solve the problems we have with radical Islam by playing into the hands of those who would do us damage.
May could have gone further and described Trump’s actions with such words as ‘despicable’ and ‘contemptible’, but diplomatic niceties mean that she didn’t. At least she is someone who respects the presidency, but I suspect like most of us, she has little respect for the man.
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Sajid Javid, a Muslim himself, went much further than the Prime Minister, and I suspect he didn’t get any permission for his tweet.
“So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”
I think he was entirely justified in going that little bit further. Good on him.
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On Monday evening. I took part in a panel in Norwich which sought to answer the question: “What does it mean to be English?”
John Denham, the former Labour Cabinet Minister who now leads the Centre for English Identity at the University of Winchester was one of my co-interlocutors, and did a far better job of answering the question than I did.
Indeed, we agreed on so much (such as believing in creating an English Parliament, for example) that we nearly formed our own political party there and then.
The event took place at the Forum in the centre of Norwich, and there were around 120 people there. It was a very engaged audience which asked some quite challenging questions. However, I’m still not sure I answered them very well…
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During the last few months, arch-Remainers have made the point that Britain must agree to pay the EU what it owes in a divorce payment.
On Wednesday evening, the Daily Telegraph’s Peter Foster revealed that the UK government and the European Commission had reached an agreement on this issue, and the UK had indeed agreed to pay a fee of somewhere between £35 billion and £45 billion.
So what do those same arch-remainers say now? That the government has been totally humiliated! Typical.
I’d love to have paid the wretched organisation nothing at all but, in the end, all negotiations are pragmatic compromises. However, before we all rush away with the thought that the trade negotiations will now be easy, I suspect the very opposite is true.
Remember, any trade deal will have to be ratified by the national parliaments of all 27 member states. I still reckon No Deal is a distinct possibility.
In which case, it must be made clear that the EU won’t be getting any money at all. I see that Michel Barnier is now trying to make out the two things aren’t linked. If the government gives way on that, we might as well give away on everything else now.
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I’m halfway through reading Tim Shipman’s new book, Fall Out. It carries on from his first book, All Out War, and is just as good. The level of detail is astonishing. It’s the sort of book I’d like to have written myself, but know I couldn’t.
It details the Brexit negotiations and the election campaign, and finishes in October. I saw Tim on Tuesday, and told him he would have to write a third, taking the story up to Brexit Day on 29 March 2019.
He visibly blanched. I’d say it was his public duty. He can console himself by knowing that he will have written The Shipman Trilogy: the British equivalent of Robert Caro’s series of biographies of Lyndon Johnson. And I can’t give his books any higher praise than that.
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That famous political philosopher Noel Gallagher is someone you might think would be rather impressed by Jeremy Corbyn. Not a bit of it.
He’s given an interview to the NME in which he talks rather endearingly about the Labour leader. He says: “Fuck Jeremy Corbyn. He’s a Communist”. I think that would make a rather good-selling T-Shirt, don’t you? Maybe one for CCHQ…