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Iain Dale is an LBC presenter, a commentator with CNN and the author/editor of over 30 books.

A good example of how The Sun manipulates its readers could be found in Wednesday’s edition. Matt Dathan had a story about how the foreign aid budget will now top £14 billion. In The Sun’s eyes, this is clearly a disgrace. Dathan wrote: “Data buried in the budget said that spending would rise £230 million next year and £190 million in 2019-20. The combine sum is £20 million higher than the £400 million given to schools for “’little extras they need’.”

He failed to point out that the money for schools is an extra in-year allocation payable in this financial year. It’s hardly comparing like with like. A more legitimate piece of political criticism would have been to criticise the tin-rated Treasury politicians, advisers and civil servants who failed to spot that spending  £20 million more on potholes than schools might just rebound on the Chancellor. Say what you like about Damian McBride, but he would have spotted that one a mile off.

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This week, the editor of the Waitrose Food Magazine, William Sitwell, was forced to resign. In other words, he was sacked.

His crime? Well, Selene Nelson, a vegan writer, emailed him a suggestion for a series of articles on Vegan food. He responded with a tirade against Vegans, and suggested they should all be force-fed food and killed one by one.

This was clearly not meant seriously – but in this day and age, obviously, one has to take offence. Nelson did what any person would do in the circs and went to the press.

Result: Waitrose took fright at the Vegan onslaught on social media and let Sitwell go. This really is the age of the snowflake. And I say this as someone who for health reasons now has to eat some Vegan food. However, in solidarity I shall be having a steak for dinner tonight.

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I’m in the middle of preparing to write a very long read profile/interview with a Cabinet Minister for a national newspaper. I’m at the stage in the process where I wonder why I ever suggested doing it.

I’ve done nearly all the interviews, done most of the background research, I know roughly what themes will run in it…but I haven’t yet written a word. The only thoughts that go through my head are: “this is going to be rubbish, I can’t write as well as other people, should I just ditch it?”

I won’t of course. Because I’ve been through this so many times that I know that once I start writing, it’ll be fine. It’s just getting to the point where I write an actual sentence. I’d love to tell you who I’m writing about, but then, in the words of William Sitwell, I’d have to kill you. And that would obviously that mean Paul Goodman would fire me from this column for offending snowflakes. And you wouldn’t want that. Would you???

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It seems to me the big winner from the Budget, if we’re talking about politicians, is the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson. No one thought he could get £1.8 billion out of the Chancellor, especially after going to public on his demands. But get the money he did. Now let’s see what he does with it.

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Caroline Nokes is rapidly gaining a reputation as the most hapless and gaffe-prone minister in the government. Which is a shame, since she’s actually in the charge of the country’s borders.

Her performance in front of the Home Affairs select committee this week was buttock-clenchingly embarrassing. If you don’t believe me, watch it. For the immigration minister not to know her own Government’s immigration policy post-Brexit was simply unforgiveable.

Shona Dunn, The Home Office’s Second Permanent Secretary, then went on to say that the Prime Minister has made clear that, in the event of a no deal, that free movement would end on March 29 2019, and she imagined – yes, imagined – there would have “to be a few bits of secondary legislation” passed before then.

Sajid Javid then appeared on Peston the next day, and completely contradicted his  most senior civil servant – saying that in these circumstances there will be a “transition period” for EU citizens, explaining that “if there was a no deal, we won’t be able to immediately distinguish between those Europeans who were here before March 29 and those who came after.”

He’s right, of course, but why is that so difficult for both his Permanent Secretary and Immigration Minister to understand? In 2006, the then Home Secretary, John Reid, caused a massive political row by saying that he believed the Home Office was not “fit for purpose”. We’ve had five Home Secretaries since then, and it appears that little has changed. It’s still too unwieldly.

Here’s a suggestion. Post-Brexit, let’s take immigration out of the Home Office, and create a new Department of Border Security with a seat in the Cabinet.

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If you’re into podcasts, check out my new Book Club podcast, which this week asks how we can mend our broken politics. I’m joined by three political political experts with books out – Isabel Hardman from The Spectator, Philip Collins from The Times and Tom Baldwin, who now runs comms for the People’s Vote campaign. It’s a great listen, even I do say so myself. And as a bonus you can also listen to me interviewing Giles and Mary from Gogglebox!

129 comments for: Iain Dale: After Sitwell’s sacking, will I be the next journalist to be fired for offending snowflakes?

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