Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.
Congratulations to Jackson Carlaw for becoming leader of the Scottish Conservative Party. It’s without doubt one of the most demanding jobs in British politics.
And what an act he has to follow. When Ruth Davidson became leader of the party in Scotland, no one rated her chances of success. She was a ‘rookie’. A ‘political knave’. She lacked experience.
Well, everyone was wrong. She was an outstanding success who grabbed the party by the scruff its neck and gave it a good shake. She took the Conservatives to a level of electoral representation they had previously only dreamed of. Their opinion poll ratings are still far higher than anyone could have expected at the time.
So Carlaw starts his tenure with a fantastic legacy. He may not have the charisma of Davidson, but he’s a formidable debator and operator and like his predecessor, her should not be underestimated.
If I were him, I’d do two things. Firstly, do everything to go after the Labour unionist vote and, secondly, articulate the case for the Union better than anyone else.
It’s no good just slagging off the SNP or just undermining their case; Unionists need to win hearts and minds by being positive about Scotland’s role in the UK. And I say this as someone who not wholly opposed to independence for Scotland.
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Whatever you think about Priti Patel’s new immigration policy, I do not understand why a succession of Government ministers have not been not flooding the nation’s airwaves explaining how the new system is going to work, and why it’s right for the country.
All we had yesterday was Patel doing a morning round – excluding The Today Programme and Good Morning Britain, natch.
The media world has changed. There are many more outlets now, and they all need to be serviced. The Home Office has seven ministers. They should all have been out there selling the policy on any show that would have them.
Instead, so far as I know, only Patel did any interviews at all (though I stand to be corrected). If Ministers aren’t going to explain their policies on the nation’s airwaves, who do they think will do it for them? Message discipline is all very well, but there has to be someone to promulgate that message.
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Hands up if you’ve read David Frost’s speech in Brussels. If not, do yourself a favour and do so. Future historians will look back on it and regard it as just as significant as Margaret Thatcher’s 1988 Bruges speech.
t’s actually a speech that Boris Johnson should have made, and quite why cameras weren’t allowed to film it, God only knows. It articulated the Government’s plans for a post-Brexit Britain better than anyone else has done. It set down its approach to the free trade deal negotiations in a way that that no one could misunderstand. It set some red lines which Brussels will actually believe we won’t cross.
And if they don’t believe in them, well, yet again they may be in for a big surprise. Barnier and his little helpers are tying themselves up in knots with their utter hypocrisy over their about turn on offering us a Canadian-style deal, and they think we can’t see it.
It’s obvious that both sides do a lot of chest-beating at the start of any negotiation, so this one is no different. There will be an element of compromise on both sides but one thing I don’t see Johnson’s government compromising on is the notion of regulatory alignment. If Britain doesn’t have the right to make its own laws after Brexit and is obliged to mirror EU legislation, despite having no input into its drafting, we might as well not have left.
That doesn’t mean that regulatory equivalence on some (but not all) issues isn’t something that we shouldn’t consider. One other red line that must not be crossed is the arbitration method for resolving disputes. This cannot involve the European Court. The EU has arbitration methods with Canada and Japan which do not involve the supremacy of the European Court. Canada wouldn’t stand for it. Japan wouldn’t stand for it. Nor will we.
The grandstanding of Barnier on proximity demonstrates their fear that Britain will outcompete the EU on the world stage. And they will use any means – fair or foul – to prevent that from happening. Reading David Frost’s speech, it is clear to me that he understand that.
This site has the full text of David Frost’s speech. It’s well worth your time reading it. Once you’ve done so, spread the word on social media about its brilliance.