Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and the For the Many podcast with Jacqui Smith.
Just when you think Donald Trump can’t sink any lower, he does just that. His speech to his unholy bunch of supporters on Wednesday afternoon in Washington can’t be interpreted in any other way than as inciting them to march on Congress.
He didn’t actually instruct them to take over the building, but the signals were there. Obviously, we’re now being told that it wasn’t really the President’s supporters who rushed the building or committed violent acts – they were people bussed in by Antifa, pretending to be the President’s supporters.
What a shame that so many people fall for this outright lie, even in this country. And then of course the insults on social media start.
I’m thus a “cuck Conservative”. I apparently cannot be a true Conservative if I don’t support Trump. Apparently, I’ve gone over to the dark side.
No: I made my feelings about the President clear from the outset. I described his inauguration speech as one which Mussolini could have made, in terms of style and bombast. And it’s all gone downhill from there.
I just pray that the next two weeks, leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration, will be peaceful and that even Trump manages to reconcile himself to the fact not only that he lost, but he lost fairly and squarely.
If an election is close, candidates always imagine that fraud might have denied them victory. But this election wasn’t close – either in terms of cumulative votes or electoral college votes. Biden got 306 and Trump got 234.
The President has had two months to produce evidence of widespread electoral fraud, but has failed to. He has lost 61 out of 62 court cases he has brought. There’s a reason for that.
Yet his vocal supporters on social media continue to say that any fool can see the election was stolen. If it had been, and if there had been fraud on an industrial scale, I’d have been the first to call ‘foul’. In any election there are always crooked people who will try to cast a few votes which shouldn’t have been allowed.
It happens in this country too. Impersonation will take place in every constituency. Dead people voting happens, too – but neither of these phenomena are enough to skew an election in the way Trump alleges. We’re not talking about Biden winning by 100 votes in a state – we’re talking thousands, often times tens of thousands. Biden won fair and square.
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Speculation about a January reshuffle is now ebbing away, and understandably so. If you’re pressing a reset button, it’s not a good idea to do it in the middle of a lockdown.
I think the earliest a reshuffle could happen now is after the local elections in May, assuming that they aren’t cancelled again. In the event that they don’t go ahead we may even be looking at October or November.
The longer it goes on, the more wide-ranging it is likely to be. However, it also gives those on death a row an opportunity to give themselves a bit of a reprieve.
It has nonetheless been claimed that there may have to be a reshuffle this month – though if Alok Sharma decides to leave his post to devote himself entirely to the organisation of COP26 at the end of the year, that vacancy would need to be filled with a big hitter.
I am mystified as to why Sharma would want to leave Cabinet of his own volition, unless he has worked out he’s likely to be a casualty anyway. Whoever takes over at BEIS will have one of the most important jobs in government in the post-pandemic era.
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There has been a lot of controversy over the power of social media companies, with Youtube deleting the account of talkRadio and then reinstating it, no doubt after an intervention by Rupert Murdoch.
Then Twitter censored Trump’s tweets and latter banned him from the platform for 12 hours. Facebook and Instagram have banned him until after inauguration. Instinctively I am wholly against this sort of behaviour.
The social media companies continually maintain they are not publishers, but platforms. If so, then they shouldn’t behave like publishers. In the UK, it is up to the broadcasting regulator to determine whether a broadcaster has transgressed the rules.
I wholly deprecate the stance taken by some of the station’s presenters on lockdown and other aspects of the Covid crisis, but do I think that they should be banned from adopting what maybe a controversial position? No, I do not. Do I think it’s the role of social media companies to censor what an American President says, however objectionable it is? No I do not.
Because if they do, they have to adopt the same rule for everyone. Have they ever once tried to censor anything President Xi has said? No they haven’t. I rest my case.