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

Over the last 48 hours I’ve experienced a Twitter pile-on, and all because I had the temerity to suggest that people inside the M25 have a bit of a warped view of Boris Johnson’s popularity outside it.

“I bet Iain Dale has never been outside the M25”, said a fair few of them, dropping the odd swear word in along the way – the very same people who in their next breath condemn the Prime Minister for his use of choice language.

They cite the fact that some random person has assailed him on a visit to a northern town as proof of his unpopularity. When I made the claim, I referred to opinion polls which show that even now, even after several weeks of apparent political disaster, Boris’s personal opinion poll ratings continue to climb, just as Corbyn’s continue to plummet in the opposite direction.

The ‘Absolute Boy’ is now more unpopular than any other Opposition leader in history, with ratings of -64 per cent. That’s worse than Michael Foot at his nadir. Also, in the latest Survation poll for the Daily Mail 41 per cent of voters say Boris Johnson would make the best prime minister compared to 18 per cent for Corbyn. Jo Swinson now outpolls him at 23 per cent. No wonder Corbyn doesn’t want a general election.

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I have to say attending this year’s Labour conference was quite an experience. There was a very strange atmosphere. It certainly didn’t feel like a pre-election conference, which would normally have the feel of a rally. And it was so different from the Labour conferences of the Blair, Brown or Miliband years.

It really has been taken over by representatives of the far left. They were easy to spot. What is it about people on that side of politics that they often feel the need to wear ill-fitting t-shirts sporting offensive slogans, no matter what their age? Anyone would think they were Liberal Democrats.

I stood at the back of the hall listening to John McDonnell giving his oration. He was like a mother blackbird feeding its children scraps of communist food. I’ve never heard a speech so full of far left dogma and policy. It was the kind of speech Hugo Chavez would have been very proud of, and if even a fraction of it was ever implemented the economy would crash into oblivion.

People talk of crashing out of the EU. Labour’s economic policies would make any economic consequences from a no deal Brexit look like a cakewalk. Given the Shadow Chancellor’s desire to roll back all of the Conservative trade union reforms it really would be ‘Back to the Seventies’. God help us all.

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It’s very dispiriting to see the number of people on my side of the Brexit argument who don’t seem to understand anything about the role of the judiciary and the Supreme Court in particular. And they are generally people who haven’t even bothered to read the Supreme Court judgment, delivered on Tuesday morning by Baroness Hale.

I always took the view that it the whole case was not justiciable, but the conclusions of the 11 Supreme Court Judges displayed why I was wrong. This wasn’t a 6-5 decision – it was 11-0.

It is wholly wrong to accuse Supreme Court judges of being politically motivated. They leave their own views at the door of the court. Even if all 11 had voted Remain, I doubt whether any of them would have been prepared to sacrifice their professional reputations for a ‘higher cause’.

If Conservatives aren’t prepared to stand up for the independence of the judiciary, God alone knows where this country is heading.

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I’ve been busy compiling this year’s Top 100 Conservative Influencers list over the last couple of weeks. It’s in its twelfth year and I hope to publish it on Monday on ConHome.

Obviously with a change of party leader, there are lots of departures from the list and lots of new entries, but I am still wondering if I have covered all the possible new entries. So if you have suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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I’ll be travelling up to Manchester on Saturday for what might be a rather odd Tory conference, give that it looks like Parliament will be sitting during the event.

Having said that, I know very few MPs who were planning to go at all. It was the same at the Labour conference. I doubt there were more than 15 or 20 Labour backbenchers attending. They were too busy back in their constituencies fighting Trigger Ballots.

I hope to see a lot of you in Manchester and do feel free to say hello! Here are some of the things I’m doing…

  • Sunday: Host ‘Meet the Chairman’ interview with James Cleverly, main conference stage, 4.30pm
  • Monday: In Conversation with Dominic Raab, Onward, ConservativeHome tent, 3.30pm
  • Monday: IEA Balloon Debate, IEA tent, 5.30pm
  • Tuesday: In Conversation with Michael Dobbs, main conference stage, 11.30am
  • Tuesday: Chair IFG/PWC event on the Future of Taxation, Exchange Room 1, 12.45pm

193 comments for: Iain Dale: Beyond Westminster, Johnson’s stock with the public remains high

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