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Jerry Hayes Has a New Blog

28 Jan 2013 at 11:42

One of the most popular contributors to Dale & Co was the former Conservative MP Jerry Hayes. He really built up a loyal following, and I am delighted to tell everyone that he now has his own blog, which you can find HERE

Well worth bookmarking.

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Iain Has a Go at Tory Voter Who Voted for Corbyn

A caller gets more than he bargained for!

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Policy

The Cleggs Should Send Their Child to the School of Their Choice - No One Else's

27 Jan 2013 at 22:08

Despite what people seem to think, I did not go to a private school. I went to Saffron Walden County High School which was a secondary modern turned comprehensive. My parents wanted me to go to some minor private school in Cambridge. I passed the entrance exam, but I kept asking them: “Why do I have to go to a different school to my friends? Why?” Eventually I wore them down. In all honesty I should have gone to the local grammar school in the nearby village of Newport, but I stupidly and deliberately messed up my 11 plus. And on such vagaries was schooling decided in those days. Anyway, let me get to the point.

Nick Clegg is coming in for a lot of criticism for having the temerity not to rule out sending his son to a private school. As far as I know Clegg has never suggested that private schools should be outlawed, or criticised anyone else for sending their child to one. He’s certainly not in the same position as Diane Abbott. So if he wants to do it, it’s a matter for him and his wife and no one else.

We need to get away from imagining that all people who send their children to private schools do so for class reasons, or just because they are rich enough to. On my radio show this morning I took a call from Sarah in Croydon whose daughter wasn’t allocated a place at a local school and by the time she was, it was so far away it was totally inappropriate. She reckoned she knew lots of parents who were in a similar situation and had to scrape the money together to send their kids to a local private school. In other words, the state system had totally failed them. Depending on where you live, it can certainly happen, and as a parent you face a choice. Move house or pay up for private education. In an ideal world no parent would face that conundrum.

So it isn’t difficult to see why Michael Gove wants to expand the academy network and encourage schools to leave LEA control. Local Education Authorities have failed generations of children. But to think, as some civil servants seem to, that the answer is direct control from Whitehall is surely to misread the needs of children. I like academies and free schools because they are able to operate independently, or semi independently from state control. Yes, the state provides the money, but in the end it must be down to local schools, head teachers, teachers and parents how the money is spent. Grant maintained schools were great innovation of the 1990s and we need to learn some of the lessons of their success.

In Finland, I was told this morning, private schools have been abolished and there is a uniform system of secondary education. How ghastly. Variety is the spice of life and I have no objection to different kinds of schools operating side by side. The key is that parents have a proper and real choice about where they send their children. The Cleggs should have that choice, and so should everyone else.

We will know state education has succeeded when state schools have lifted their achievements to a level where they are comparable with most schools in the private sector. Interestingly, this is happening in some areas. The standard of state education in many areas of London has been transformed in recent years. Those lessons need to be learned elsewhere.

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LBC Book Club: Iain Dale talks to Alastair Campbell

Alastair Campbell talks about his final volume of diaries BURDEN OF POWER

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day: James Graham

27 Jan 2013 at 20:38

Hey, journalists: when you say “X” is the UK Obama for no reason other than that he’s black, don’t you feel even a little bit … dirty?

James Graham, 27 Jan 2013

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Iain interviews historian Phillipa Gregory

Phillipa Gregory talks about her new book

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UK Politics

Forget Gay Marriage, It Must Be Equal Marriage, And This Bill Is Deeply Flawed

26 Jan 2013 at 17:25

Apparently we are supposed to call it equal marriage, not gay marriage, but just as the government makes clear it is determined to push ahead with legislation, we learn that the resulting marriages won’t be quite so equal after all. In fact, gay people who marry will have rather more rights that straight people. Trust civil servants to bugger the whole thing up, if you’ll pardon the phrase.

Apparently civil servants haven’t been able to come up with a definition for consummation for gay people as they don’t know how to define gay sex. So consummation won’t be a requirement for gay people in order for them to considered to be fully married. Well that’s a relief for all the ‘tops’ out there in the world of gaydom, I suppose. So, one up for the gays.

Secondly, and I suppose it flows from the above, if you can’t consummate, it therefore means you can’t commit adultery. So for gays it means that adultery can’t be cited as a reason to get divorced, This is madness. It therefore follows that if a straight married man has it away with a man, the wife can’t cite it as adultery, although to be fair I guess it would qualify as ‘unreasonable behaviour’.

It makes you wonder whether civil servants are purposely trying to make this as difficult as they can for the government. I would happily advise them on what can be considered ‘gay sex’ if they really can’t work it out for themselves. I might draw the line at showing them though.

And all this is in addition to the fact that gay people will still be able to get civil partnerships but straight people won’t. I never used to think this was a real issue, as I thought registry office weddings were the equivalent, but apparently they are not. Other countries, including Holland, have civil partnerships for straight people, so I can’t see the issue in doing it here. And it would please Peter Tatchell. :).

Equal marriage really must mean equal marriage. The Bill as currently presented seems to deeply flawed and provides any MP even slightly sceptical of it with plenty of reasons to vote against. What an absolute travesty.

So, Maria Miller, what are you going to do about it?

UPDATE:I can’t quite understand why but some people seem to have deduced from this that I am against gay marriage. Not a bit of it. I am fully in favour. But it really must be equal marriage.

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LBC Labour Leadership Hustings Highlights

July 22 2015 with Jeremy Corbyn, Andy Burnham, Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper

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UK Politics

Is David Cameron Just an Enoch Powell Tribute Band?

25 Jan 2013 at 22:26

  • Courtesy of Grant Tucker’s book collection!

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Video: Iain & Yasmin Alibhai Brown debate new media

Sunday AM with Andrew Marr

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Gossip

The Mystery of Michael Portillo's Continuing Conservative Party Membership

25 Jan 2013 at 21:43

I think Michael Portillo had a rush to the brain on ‘This Week’ last night. He denied absolutely that he was still a member of the Conservative Party.

How very odd then that a senior party source maintains his membership is still active and that he diligently renews it every year by direct debit.

#justsaying

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Iain has a Testy Encounter with a Member of the Fire Brigades Union

Iain takes Laurie Brightman to task over the Fire Strike.

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day: Michelle Obama

25 Jan 2013 at 16:23

We all believe that no one who serves our country should have to fight for a job once they return home.

Michelle Obama, 1 Jan 2013

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Oneword Radio: Iain Dale interviews Michael Foot

Michael Foot spends an hour with Iain Dale on his 90th birthday

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UK Politics

Why I am Falling Out of Love With Politics

25 Jan 2013 at 15:40

Last night I watched the second half of Question Time and then This Week. Midway through this week I began to realise how little political to-ing and fro-ing means to me any longer. I tweeted that maybe I was seeing politics and politicians in a similar way to the general public for the first time. I suppose it’s been a process that has been going on for two years, ever since I decided to abandon any future attempts to get into Parliament.

I think doing my LBC show has also been an influence. Watching Question Time I wanted to throw something at the screen. And it wasn’t just Ben Bradshaw’s constant hypocrisy that got me going. The journalist, Angela Epstein, who I can’t say had ever come across my radar before, was just vacuous in the extreme. Nothing worth saying at all. Ian Hislop did his usual playing to the audience, Anna Soubry was just plain irritating, constantly appearing to talk down to the audience without actually meaning to, and Ming Campbell did his best to be above the fray but it didn’t quite work. But the reason this programme has gone down hill is that its host, David Dimbleby seems increasingly to think the programme is all about him. It isn’t. And his constant attempts to mirror a tabloid journalist and paint all politicians in a negative light are becoming just plain tiresome.

This Week wasn’t much better. Alan Johnson spent the whole programme trying to avoid taking a position on anything. He ought to be reminded that’s what he’s there to do. Portillo sat there loftily, talking down to us and subliminally assuring us that he knows best about everything. Even when his powers of prediction were exposed as risible by Andrew Neil, he didn’t even have the good grace to admit he had been totally wrong. He just sneered at Cameron, as he usually does. Neil Hamilton’s film was risible and the ensuing debate with Shirley Williams was mind numbing.

Laura Kuenssberg was the only bright spot in 45 minutes of utter tedium. At the end of it, I just thought to myself that maybe the reason I grew so irritated by both programmes was because I just don’t appreciate politics in the way that I used to. Maybe others in the Westminster Village still think these programmes rule the political roost and are captivated by them. I no longer am. But it’s not just them. I watch PMQs and I find the level of debate, if you can call it that, embarrassing. I watch political interviews with cabinet and shadow cabinet ministers and despair of the vacuity of the questions and answers. Perhaps I now understand what most voters think of the same things.

It’s also the standard of political journalism and comment that turns me off. Take this morning’s comments about the fact that David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson spent some of last night in a Swiss pizza restaurant. Here’s the Mirror’s James Lyons…

And there were plenty more like that. Are people seriously saying that politicians should hide themselves away in their hotel rooms? I suppose James Lyons would have then made a fuss about the room service bill. Just imagine if they had been out in a posh Davos restaurant.

Our public life is being corrupted by a permanent sneer and cynical outlook by those who report on it. Yes, to some extent it’s the fault of those who serve in public life. The trouble is that the way politics is now reported in the print and broadcast media, it’s a wonder anyone wants to go into it. And this is why increasingly we will get a political class made up of geeks and obsessives. Normal people, people who actually want to do good, will turn their efforts elsewhere, and who can blame them?

I look at some of my friends who got elected in 2010 and wonder what’s happened to them. Several of them are so far up their own arses that they don’t even bother to reply to text messages any longer. Now that one or two have becomes ministers they’re so very important (at least in their own eyes) that they forget about those who helped them get there.

I remarked to someone a few weeks ago that in 25 years of being involved in politics, I could probably count on the fingers of two hands the number of real friends I have made in the political arena. That perhaps says just as much about me as it does others, but It just shows how transient political relationships can be. People befriend you when they think you can be useful to them. As soon as you can’t, they drop you like a stone. Perhaps I have done it myself. I’d like to think not, but I can’t look myself in the mirror and say it categorically hasn’t happened.

Politics is like a drug. It’s very difficult to pull yourself away from something which is capable of giving you the equivalent of a massive adrenaline rush. I suspect I will never lose an interest in politics. But I know now that I am falling out of love with it.

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Iain Leads a Discussion on Female on Male Domestic Abuse

An emotional and revealing discussion

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Poll

Poll Result: How You Voted on an In/Out Referendum

23 Jan 2013 at 22:43

Earlier today I asked in a previous pot (scroll down) how you would vote if there were an In/Out Euro Referendum tomorrow. OK, I know there isn’t, but I wanted to test the temperature of my readers. More than 800 of you have voted. Here’s the result…

Stay in 22%
Leave 75%
Don’t know 3%

I also asked your voting intentions…

Conservative 52%, Labour 11%, LibDem 5%, UKIP 23%, Others 9%

I can’t quite believe that UKIP figure. I suspect someone somewhere in UKIP directed people to the poll. I doubt very much whether 23% of my regular readers vote UKIP, but you never know. We also did a similar poll on my LBC show and it too came out with a similar result, 80-20.

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LBC Book Club: Iain talks to Peter Snow

Just a bit of fun! Peter Snow talks about his new book on the burning down of the White House.

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Media

Why Are We So Obsessed By Non-News From America? What About the Rest of the World?

23 Jan 2013 at 17:28

Last night, while I was broadcasting my LBC show, I noticed a Sky News flash come up on Twitter.

The thought occurred to me that it is doubtful whether any news organisation woud even cover it if it had happened in a country other than the US? Shooting in school. No one dead. hardly earth-shattering, is it? But it’s like bad weather. We get lengthy reports on terrrible snowfalls on the East Coast of America which would never even make it to a planning meeting if they had happened anywhere else. Just because the main broadcasters have camera crews and reporters in the States, it doesn’t mean that everything that happens is necessarily a story for a UK audience. What about the terrible floods in Jakarta? Why do we have endless coverage of US elections, even midterms, when elections in most other countries barely get a mention? I could go on.

Al Jazeera English puts our news organisations to shame with its coverage of news around the world. If you’ve never watched it, give it a try. It does exactly the sort of thing the BBC should do, used to do, but doesn’t any longer. It’s such a shame. I read that Sky are opening a new bureau in Los Angeles. Their Washington Correspondent, Greg Milham, is moving to the West Coast to head it up. I’m sure they will do a great job, but what about having a bureau in Rio? Just a thought.

I’m not having a go at the BBC, before anyone says it. It’s the same with all UK broadcasters. If you compare the coverage of world events on German TV to what we get, you will see what I mean. Newspapers are going the same way. The World News sections seem to be getting smaller with every year that passes.

End of moan.

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Iain Interviews Gibraltar's Chief Minister

Fabian Picardo on Gib and Brexit

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