Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.
Amber Rudd, in her evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on Monday, declared that she was aware of individual cases related to Windrush children, but hadn’t joined the dots and realised that something systemic had gone wrong.
I suppose I would gently ask how many cases does it take for the dots to be joined? Naturally, Labour are calling for her resignation, just as Tories would if they were in Opposition. The Home Secretary is arguing that she’s best placed to sort it out – the very same argument that Gordon Brown used after the financial crisis. He got away with it. Will she?
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In a week’s time, we will know the results of the local elections. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these are on – not that you would know it, given the lack of posters on show. I wonder if the day of the political poster is over. It’s getting more and more difficult to persuade voters to display their political affiliations in their window. It’s easy to understand why given the aggression shown on social media who advertise their political wares.
I don’t think a poster display ever changed a single vote, but there’s no doubt that seeing a good poster display energises a political tribe, and makes it feel good about itself. It also makes people realise that they are not alone in holding the views they do.
I well remember back in 1983 the poster display at the very left-wing University of East Anglia, where I was a student. The placed was plastered with Vote Conservative posters – much to the horror of the local Labour Party. It was the first indication that the two Labour MPs in Norwich were about to be beaten by two insurgent Tories.
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Given that the BBC is supposed to be the guardian of public service broadcasting I was rather surprised to learn that they will not be doing a full election results programme on either Radio 4 or Radio 5 Live next Thursday.
They have also cancelled Andrew Neil’s This Week programme. They will be doing a local election results show on BBC1, hosted by Huw Edwards, but with no role for Andrew Neil.
Bizarre – given that, on a night like this, Neil is surely one voice you really want to hear from. Anyway, the whole point of this section of my column is to tell you that I’ll be hosting a six hour-long local election night show on LBC with Jacqui Smith from 10pm through until 4am, so I do hope you’ll join us for at least some of it.
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One of my jobs this week at Biteback was to convince a best-selling author that they should publish with us, rather than the much bigger publisher that they went to for their last two books. Given that our pockets aren’t as deep as the publishing big boys, it’s not necessarily the easiest of tasks – though it was the author that approached me, rather than the other way around.
So many authors are getting tired of the contempt which is displayed towards them by their publisher. Their main complaint is that they can never talk to anyone there. No one is ever at their desk, and the phone always goes to voicemail.
It’s almost as if authors are an inconvenience to the publishing process. Even when they are as famous as this particular author is, they are made to feel like a small fish in a very large pond. Big publishers need to rediscover the personal touch, otherwise the trickle of authors seeping to independents will become a stampede.
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I keep trying to think of a joke to make about Dominic Raab’s ministerial diary secretary who was revealed in Thursday’s Daily Mirror as a £750 a time high class hooker. Unfortunately, even my smutty mind has failed to come up with anything for you. She revealed that Dominic orders exactly the same meal for lunch from Pret every day – seemingly thinking that was very odd. Not half as odd as her activities, I’d say. Takes all sorts, I guess. No one could ever say she wasn’t on her game…
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I started with Rudd, so let me finish with her. Timing is everything in politics. Guess who was guest of honour at yesterday’s Lobby Lunch in the press gallery? Yup, she is. When it rains, it pours for her at the moment. The thing is, she seems to take it all in her stride. Fortitude counts for a lot in politics. All she can do is take Churchill’s advice and Keep Buggering On.