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Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

On Wednesday, Joe Biden has announced his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential election. If ever there was a wrong candidate at the wrong time, it’s him. Too old, too creepy, too unmemorable – and totally lacking in inspiration.

I remember his tilt at the Democratic nomination back in 1988, when he was forced out of the race after being found guilty of plagiarising a speech by Neil Kinnock. Since then, it’s difficult to point to anything of note he’s achieved. During his eight years as Barack Obama’s Vice-President, can anyone think of anything the Obama administration achieved and can say, yes, Joe was the driving force behind that?

We also learned this weeek that the actor Ken Kercheval has died. He played Cliff Barnes in Dallas. Those of you who remember his on screen relationship with J R Ewing, played by Larry Hagman, may well agree with the analogy I made on CNN Talk yesterday where I said that Biden is Barnes to Donald Trump’s Ewing. And Barnes never emerged on top of those battles, did he?

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Political parties are like tribes – and member of the tribe do not leave it without a lot of painful thought.

Ann Widdecombe was a loyal Tory for 55 years and yet, on Wednesday, she announced she was standing for the Brexit Party. By definition, that meant resigning from the Conservative Party.

Being a decent sort, the first people she told were Maidstone’s Conservatives, whom she not only served as an MP for 23 years but continued to do as their Honourable President.

Within hours she was sent a letter by Alan Mabbutt from CCHQ informing her coldly that she was now expelled from the party. Andrew Pierce hinted strongly in his Daily Mail column on Monday that La Widdecombe was on the verge of defecting, but in the intervening 48 hours no one got in touch to try to dissuade her.

A semi-competent Whips Office would have identified a senior party figure to “have a word”. It never happened. I have no idea whether it would have worked or not, but to lose someone like Ann, who remains one of the most popular fundraising guests for local associations, says a lot. Successive party leaders have treated her with disdain. Well now, they’ve got their reward.

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Compare and contrast the Brexit Party launch with that of The Independent Group. Or is it Change UK? Or the TIGs? Or the Remain Alliance? How a new party can go by four different names, is anyone’s guess. They can’t even design a logo.

The Brexit Party, meanwhile, has so far got everything bang on. Professional events, innovative social media operation, an interesting mix of competent candidates and a leader who knows what he’s doing.

None of those things can be said about the TIGs. Within 48 hours of them announcing their Euro candidates, two were forced to quit over tweets from several years ago. I did ask Anna Soubry and Heidi Allen how they would vet candidates. “Oh, it’ll be fine,” they said. Ha ha. They’re like the old UKIP in disguise.

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So the 1922 Committee’s executive has proved itself to be as spineless as the Cabinet. I meet very few Tory MPs who think Theresa May is still the right person to lead the party. They all brief journalists that she must go – and yet she’s still there. Nothing. Has. Changed.

The only people who can do anything about this extraordinary state of affairs are the MPs themselves. I wonder whether the potential loss of more than 1,000 council seats next Thursday will be enough to do the trick. Or polling under 15 per cent in the European elections.

If she’s still in situ after that, we might as well get used to May being Prime Minister for the next decade. If she loves the party as much as she says she does, surely she now has to set out a firm timetable for her departure. And this must include dates, not just vague pledges. We know how easy it is for her to blur red lines…

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I caused a minor stir on Newsnight on Wednesday when I was discussing Scottish independence and the effect of Brexit on the future of the United Kingdom with Chris Wilkins, Kate Williams and Angela Haggerty.

I’m a quarter Scottish myself – well, my middle name is Campbell and Iain is spelled with two ‘I’s, so go figure. If I lived in Scotland, I would probably be quite sympathetic to the idea of an independent Scotland. It’s the left-wingery of the SNP that puts me off. Emily Maitlis’s eyes were on stalks when I said: “There is nothing wrong with nationhood… with people believing their nation should be independent. If I lived in Scotland and I was 100 per cent Scottish I think I would be very tempted by the idea of Scottish independence.”

She asked: “So you believe in Brexit and Scottish independence?” Well, 38 per cent of Scottish voters voted to Leave and I imagine quite a proportion of them were SNP supporters. Surely it is wholly consistent to believe in independence per se. The SNP’s main failing is that they don’t seem to understand what the word ‘Independence’ actually means. There is an inherent constitutional hypocrisy in the SNP position of wanting independence from the UK while at the same time insisting on remaining in the EU. Yet they don’t see the conflict. Strange.

160 comments for: Iain Dale: The Conservatives treated Widdecombe with disdain. They will pay the price in lost votes next month.

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