Iain Dale is an LBC presenter, a commentator with CNN and the author/editor of over 30 books.
When you are fighting a political battle it’s a good idea to identify who your target audience is. I’m therefore somewhat perplexed by the Prime Minister’s strategy to embark on a whistle-stop campaigning tour of the country to sell her Brexit deal to voters.
The point is that the electorate as a whole won’t vote on December 11th – 650 MPs will. Shouldn’t Theresa May’s time be spent convincing her own MPs, rather than the generality of voters, to support her? After all, they will now decide the fate of her Brexit deal, and indeed her own too.
There are echoes of 1990, when Margaret Thatcher thought her time would be better spent in Paris at a summit of world leaders than in the Commons tea room convincing her backbenchers. That worked out well…
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Almost as baffling is the Prime Minister’s decision to offer to debate the Leader of the Opposition on TV about the proposed Brexit deal.
Given its importance, I’m not saying that it’s wrong to seek to do so but, given her lack of willingness to debate Jeremy Corbyn directly during the last general election, it shows how desperate Number Ten have become. I suppose it’s the ‘sh*t or bust’ strategy.
Once again, her audience in this debate has to be her 315 colleagues rather than the country at large. A lot of hot air has been expelled on this debate by people desperate to muscle in on it. In the last few days we’ve had the ludicrous sight to both Boris Johnson and the People’s Vote campaign pleading to be let onto the stage too.
No doubt the Liberal Democrats, Greens and UKIP think they should have a representative there too, not to mention the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the DUP. How utterly ridiculous.
May and Corbyn are the only two possible people who can negotiate a Brexit deal at present – the current Prime Minister, or the man who might be were a general election to take place. It would be preposterous to have anyone else on the stage apart from the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.
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I was on Politics Live on Tuesday with Rosena Allin-Khan, the Labour MP for Tooting, and Alan Duncan, the Europe Minister.
Rosena is seen as a rising star in the Labour Party and is appearing everywhere in the media. I was, however, slightly disappointed that all she did throughout the programme was trot out the party line and a few vacuous soundbites.
OK, she’s a politician hoping to be promoted, but it was disappointing nonetheless. She argued that there was an exodus of companies leaving this country for the EU, and jobs are leaving the City of London in droves.
Patent nonsense – so I decided to take her on. I simply asked her to name one big company that had left the country because of Brexit. She couldn’t name a single one. Had I been quicker witted, I could have talked about the major Dutch publishing group which has relocated to London, or the fact that Chanel is moving here from Paris.
Alan Duncan also disappointed me by making specious claims about the links between Breitbart, the Leave campaign and the Russians. So I’m afraid he got the benefit of my views as well!
It’s the second time I have been on Politics Live, and I have to say I think it has really found its feet. It’s very different to its predecessor, the Daily and Sunday Politics, and no doubt cheaper to make, but in many ways it is much more watchable, and I suspect it has more ‘stickability’. If you like the guest lineup, I suspect you’ll stick with the whole programme rather than tune out halfway through.
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It’s entirely right for the Bank of England to look at what effect the various forms of Brexit would have on the UK economy. What is not right for it to be partisan.
Mark Carney said he was not making predictions but looking at ‘scenarios’. Utter rot. If that was his aim he’d have modelled the various ‘best scenarios’ too, but those didn’t get a look in.
What about if the Eurozone collapses? What if the Italian banking sector collapses? Wouldn’t we be better off out in those circumstances? I’m afraid I take the Governor’s warnings with a respectful pinch of salt, because we’ve heard it all before.