UK Politics

UKIP Youth Leader Fired

8 Jan 2013 at 22:15

Twitter was abuzz with rumour and counter rumour about the sacking of UKIP’s youth wing leader Oliver Neville tonight. The story was apparently that he had been sacked because he dared to oppose the official UKIP line on gay marriage. In other words he was being the true libertarian and backing it, while the UKIP leadership were displaying distinctly authoritarian tendencies by telling him that if he didn’t obey the party line they would sack him – and then duly did. The truth, it seems is rather more prosaic and that Mr Neville has cleverly got his spin in first.

Mr Neville has made public an email from the UKIP chairman, Steve Crowther which does seem to lend some weight to his point of view.

However, as usual in youth politics, it seems all is not quite so straightforward. According to a UKIP source who I have been in touch with this evening, Oliver Neville has been the subject of numerous complaints by UKIP members both for his behaviour and his public utterances. The source told me…

He was not actually elected in the first place only appointed but following recent events the NEC did not want him representing Young Independence and have suspended him pending further developments.

YBF chairman Donal Blaney (a former head of Conservative Future) has just tweeted…

Ever since FCS was abolished, right-wing youth wings have been neutered by party machines; counter-productive, stifles activism & fun

He’s right, but speaking as someone involved with FCS at the time of its neutering, it had to be done!

I sense a full on mudslinging battle about to commence. [sits back with tub of popcorn]

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Music

Look, I Just Don't Like David Bowie

8 Jan 2013 at 18:03

Look, I just don’t like him, OK? It’s a free country. We’re all entitled to our opinion. I thought I’d get that out of the way before I come to my main point. Cue the drum roll…

I really don’t like David Bowie. I’m sure he is a very nice man but I can’t stand his music and never have been able to. His voice grates and his songs are particularly unmemorable. Indeed, Changes is the only one which I actually like. Some of you will think that indicates particularly bad taste on my part but so be it. He’s not a patch on Sparks, Roxette, Meat Loaf and Sir Cliff. Just my humble opinion!

And judging from the dirge that he has released today I’m absolutely right. I can’t think that even his biggest fans will think it’s great, although there is a tendency for avid fans of a particular artists are sometimes blind to the lack of quality of some of their songs. Come on Bowie fans, admit it. The song he has released today is pants.

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Video

Mark Pack v Iain Dale on Sky News

7 Jan 2013 at 19:12

This is the video of a discussion I had with Mark Pack this afternoon on Sky News, reacting to the Coalition mid-term review.

courtesy of @liarpoliticians

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UK Politics

A Bit Of a Do In Downing Street

7 Jan 2013 at 17:42

There was something a little underwhelming about the event at Downing Street this afternoon. There they were, the bride and groom (I’ll let you decide who’s screwing who) renewing their vows after only two and a half years, both leaving the impression that they had very few tender words to say to each other. It was very much like that old ITV drama ‘A Bit of a Do’, where the cast spent each episode going to different family weddings and funerals. It was very much keeping up appearances for the sake of the children.

There’s an old truth in politics that if you haven’t got much to say, don’t bother making much of an effort to say it.Cameron and Clegg clearly failed to learn that lesson. They were oh so keen to appear friendly and as if you couldn’t put a piece of paper between them. but the longer the charade went on, the more you started thinking about the reality of the situation they find themselves in. I say this in a caring way, as I was wholly in favour of a full blown coalition right from the start. I thought it was the only way for stable government, and I still think I am right. But for Cameron and Clegg to pretend that the coalition will continue as it is right up to the general election was both fatuous and unbelievable. Even if we discount the need for the Conservatives to define themselves, the LibDems certainly have to – otherwise they face electoral oblivion. Can they really do that in an unchanged coalition? It will be interesting to see them try.

Apart from reeling off a lot of tractor statistics, did either Cameron or Clegg actually say anything of substance? Did they announce anything new? With the exception of a new Freedom Bill (commonly known as a sop to the LibDems) I can’t think of anything that hadn’t already been trailed in the media prior to today. And what about the economy? Nothing new at all.

Indeed, the only think I remember from this ‘relaunch’ was David Cameron committing himself to a TV debate during the next election campaign. That just about says it all.

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UK Politics

A Face Value Resignation?

7 Jan 2013 at 14:26

It’s rather sad to see Lord Strathclyde stepping down from the government. He’s a very charming, likeable and affable character and he’s done good job since he took over the leadership of the Tories in the Lords from Lord Salisbury. Inevitably there will be speculation about why he has gone now and why he didn’t step down at the reshuffle back in September. I’d be surprised if there were any reason other than that given. But it does seem odd that it was announced on the day that the Coalition Mid Term Review is announced.

Strathclyde’s successor, Lord (Jonathan) Hill, is an unlikely choice in some ways. He has the unique distinction of trying and failing to resign from the government in September. Like Strathclyde, he is immensely likeable and he has a wicked sense of humour. He was a key backer of David Davis during the Tory leadership campaign but knows Cameron well from his time working as Political Secretary for John Major. He’s a reformer and has been an impressive School Reform Minister. He has the charm needed to get their Lordships onside and although he’s only been a peer for two and a half years, he has impressed peers on all sides of the House. He’s not someone I would have tipped to get this job. Indeed, I’d have put money on it going to a woman.

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UK Politics

Instead of Insulting UKIP Voters, Cameron Needs to Hug Them Close

6 Jan 2013 at 21:37

He’s like someone with an itch who just can’t stop scratching it. Why is it that the Prime Minister just can’t help himself? You’d think he would be trying to attract support from as many people as possible, yet he delights in insulting UKIP members and supporters. A few years ago he told my LBC colleague Nick Ferrari that UKIP were a mix of ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’. Today he was at it again, saying that UKIP is full of very odd people. He’s right. There are indeed some very odd people in UKIP. And do you know what? There are some very odd people in the Conservative Party too. The Conservative Party also has its fair share of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists. And do you know what? So do Labour and the LibDems. Political parties attract some very odd people.

Nigel Farage, never knowingly underoutraged, took great offence and has never really forgiven David Cameron. He’s not someone he will ever do business with. Cameron doesn’t care and regards Farage as a spiv. This is a huge misjudgement on the part of the Prime Minister. Instead of insulting UKIP’s leaders and its members, he should be developing a strategy for attracting them back into the Conservative fold. If he doesn’t realise it yet, he will soon have to recognise what is obvious to the rest of us, that the Conservatives simply won’t be able to win a majority at the next election without the extra 3-10% of the vote UKIP supporters could give them.

UKIP is on a roll at the moment. I don’t for one moment believe they are really on 16% as the Mail on Sunday says today, but I do believe they are approaching double figures. It’s not a flash in the pan when a political party consistently polls 7-12% for six months. And as the 2014 European elections approach, the Conservatives need to develop a strategy for coping with what may well be a UKIP victory at those elections. It’s highly likely the Conservatives will come a poor third. I’d say 50% of my Conservative friends intend to vote UKIP in 2014, and although they will virtually all stay loyal to the Tories in a general election, David Cameron ought to recognise that if you’ve strayed once, it’s so much easier to do it again a second time. And a third.

It’s no good developing a strategy for dealing with UKIP after June 2014. It needs to start now. And being nice to UKIP might just be a start.

UPDATE 10pm: Paul Goodman has some similar thoughts in an excellent article on the Telegraph website.

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day: Kaspar Juul, Borgen

6 Jan 2013 at 21:15

“In Brussels, no one can hear you scream.”

Kaspar Juul, Borgen, 5 Jan 2013

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Will Britain Lose It AAA Rating & Does It Matter?

6 Jan 2013 at 15:58

This morning on Andrew Marr David Cameron sidestepped a question on the likelihood of Britain losing its AAA credit rating this year, almost as if he was accepting the inevitability. An hour later I interviewed Ed Balls on my LBC show and much to my surprise he failed to make hay with the prospect. He reckons it has already been discounted in the financial markets and it wouldn’t really matter anyway as no one really takes any notice of the credit ratings agencies. It would merely be a further sign of George Osborne’s failure to reduce debt. Personally, I think it would be an unmitigated disaster and a huge embarrassment for this country.

Balls was in jaunty mood this morning, airily dismissing Peter Mandelson’s criticism of him and Ed Miliband. We had an interesting exchange on child benefit. I asked him if he considered himself rich, which seemed to momentarily floor him. He stuck to the position that child benefit should be universal even for families like his, with a combined income of more than £135,000.

The 14 minute long interview can be heard HERE

And if you would like to hear my interview with the Danish Ambassador about the popularity of Borgen and The Killing, click HERE

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Sunday Morning From 10am...

5 Jan 2013 at 18:55

A new feature on this blog will go live tomorrow at 9.59am. Instead of the book banner above, you’ll see a banner which tells you what is on my LBC show and a LISTEN LIVE button, so you can read the blog and listen to me live. For those of you who don’t know I present a radio show on LBC 97.3 from 10am till 1pm on Sundays and 7-10pm Monday-Thursday. The Sunday morning show is meant to be a mix of politics, humour and a little bit of culture thrown in for good measure. Weeknights it’s predominantly phone in. Anyway, here’s what we have in store for you tomorrow morning…

10am NHS Reforms
1030am What has the EU ever done for us with Petros Fassoulas from the European Movement
1100am On the centenary of Richard Nixon’s birth: Was he all bad? With Jonathan Aitken
1115am Live interview with Ed Balls MP
1130am Siobhan Benita previews the next 7 days and nominates her Communicator & Miscommunicator of the Week
1145am The Danish Ambassador joins me in the studio to talk Borgen & The Killing
1200pm Sunday Debate: Why is there so much homophobia in football – Matthew Todd from Attitude, Michael McManus and Chris Basiurksi
1230pm Mark Mason joins me in the studio to talk about his book ‘Walk the Lines: The London Underground Overground’.
1245pm A new series called ‘Secret Lives’. Nick de Bois MP is my guest.

And if you’d like to phone in at any point and take part, you’d be most welcome. Tel 0845 60 60 973, text 84850, tweet @lbc973 or email iain@lbc.co.uk.

It’s what Sunday mornings are for :).

Oh, and I will only be previewing my Sunday show on here, so don’t worry, you won’t be plagued with adverts for every show I do. I know how some people get annoyed by that.

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day: Murdo Fraser

5 Jan 2013 at 14:08

“Ed Miliband, you can take our lives, you can take our freedom, but you’ll never take…. our FROSTIES!”

Murdo Fraser, 5 Jan 2013

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