Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and the For the Many podcast with Jacqui Smith.
“We did it!” trilled the Labour Party Twitter account, insinuating that it was Labour who had forced the Government’s U-turn on free school meals during the school summer holidays.
They later claimed credit for discovering the atom, plus a cure for cancer, as well as a vaccine to prevent Coronavirus and the mix for Cadbury’s Crème Eggs.
Absolute muppets. Anyone with half a political brain could have spotted the inevitability of what the Government announced on Tuesday.
It was Marcus (or was it Daniel?) Rashford who tipped them over the top, with his eloquent exposition of his own experience of free school meals and the impact that they had on his family.
Rashford’s power of persuasion was a classic example of using logic, emotion and the sheer force of argument to make his case. It was patently genuine, and without exaggeration. He didn’t indulge in over the top language or try to portray the Tories as evil, heartless bastards.
There was no anti-Boris Johnson rhetoric. He was cool, calm and collected. I wonder how many former Remain campaign managers were thinking to themselves: “If only we had adopted those tactics”? Eh, Alastair Campbell? Andrew Adonis? Anna Soubry?
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Quite what Boris Johnson was thinking when he admitted at the Government’s Tuesday press conference that he only knew about Marcus Rashford’s campaign shortly before he gave way to it, God only knows.
Assuming it is true, you have to wonder why. I don’t blame him at all. I don’t expect the Prime Minister to be trawling social media all day. But I certainly expect his communications advisers to a) know what’s going on and b) to alert the Prime Minister to it. Is that too much to ask?
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The death of Dame Vera Lynn is yet another sign that our links to the World War II generation are loosening as every year passes.
She wasn’t just the Forces’ Sweetheart. She was the nation’s sweetheart. I described her yesterday as a “very Great Briton” and I think it’s a description she would have both loved and rejected.
Gyles Brandreth said yesterday that Winston Churchill gave voice to the nation’s courage and Vera Lynn gave voice to its heart. Even now, whenever I listen to “We’ll Meet Again”, my eyes become moist. I was born in 1962 but even then, 17 years after the war ended, the country was still dominated by it.
At primary school, we’d buzz round the playgrounds pretending to be Spitfires bombing the Germans. War films and programmes about the war dominated the three TV channels. As time passes, things change and current generations regard the 1930s and 1940s as a distant age, with precious little relevance to the 2020s.
It’s understandable, but so very wrong. In terms of public figures, the Queen is now the nation’s symbolic link to those times. When she departs this mortal coil, it will be as if a rope that symbolises the link between the 2020s and World War Two has been severed.
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Earlier this week, I came close to quitting Twitter. It has become an absolute sewer.
I used to think that the internet was a great democratising phenomenon and in many ways it is, since it allows people to air their views to others in a way that wasn’t possible previously.
Unfortunately, it also gives a platform to the bigots, racists and dregs of society. And when you have a large Twitter following, anything you do or say attracts the bile of the bitter and twisted.
The trouble is that I need Twitter to do what I do. I could just use it as a marketing medium and just post tweets about my radio show or writing, but how boring that would be.
My trouble is that I won’t let a lie stand. If someone insults me or lies about me, I feel I need to set the record straight. Sometimes it results in a meeting of minds, but too often it just results in an escalation.
But am I just supposed to lie back and take it? I address these issues in my forthcoming book Why can’t we all just get along?, but I feel that increasingly on Twitter that I am failing to live up to the very advice I give at the end of the book.
The Germans have a phrase ‘Immer mit der Ruhe’. It translates as: ‘Keep Calm’. A bit difficult when someone insists that you’ve turned into some sort of virtue signalling, woke socialist. Or worse.