Personal

The All New Iain Dale's Diary ... Er, Why?

27 Dec 2012 at 19:03

“You’re like a dog returning to its own vomit,” said a friend when I told her I was going to restart my blog. Charming. But yes, after a two year interlude, I am indeed returning to writing my own blog and winding up Dale & Co. Let me explain.

When I announced, back in December 2010, that I was stopping blogging, people seemed to miss the fact that I said I wasn’t ruling out a return to it when the time was right. At the time I had just been taken on by LBC and there just didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. The blog began to suffer. I’d usually write 5-8 pieces a day, but it wasn’t just about being prolific, I just wasn’t enjoying it. I knew that if I continued by just writing an occasional blog, my readers wouldn’t like it, so I decided the best course of action was to stop altogether.

Six months later I started Dale & Co, a multi-authored site, on which I would write something as and when I felt like it. But in all honesty, Dale & Co never really took off. It only ever seemed to get much traction when I wrote an article myself, and that wasn’t very often. It actually had a lot of talented contributors and several of them took on a loyal following, but I never really enjoyed running the site. So a couple of months ago I decided to shut it down and go back to my individual blog.

Who knows whether I will enjoy blogging again. I know I won’t be as prolific as I was before. I suspect the range of things I will write about will be different. My life is different, with different priorities. I certainly won’t be watching traffic levels as much as I used to, if at all. I’m going to do this my way, in the hope that people will like it.

In terms of commenting, you must log in through your Facebook or Twitter account. I’m not allowing anonymous comments at all. If you haven’t got one, it’ll take you 5 minutes to create one.

You will notice a feature which alerts you to when I am on air on LBC and enables you to listen live, via the blog. We’ll also be having guest posts from one or two of the more popular contributors to Dale & Co.

We’ll be adding a few features over the next few weeks. I am sure you won’t be backward in coming forward in suggesting things you think I ought to add, or write about, or indeed tell me what you don’t like.

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LBC 97.3: Iain talks to Lady Antonia Fraser

Lady Antonia Fraser discusses her new book PERILOUS QUESTION, about the 1832 Reform Act.

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Quote of the Day

Quote of the day: Ed Miliband

27 Dec 2012 at 16:57

If spin doctors could design a politician, I suspect he wouldn’t look like me.

Ed Miliband, 15 Jun 2012

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Maria Tells Iain How Brexit Has Affected Her

And its painful listening

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Personal

Glad to See the Back of 2012

24 Dec 2012 at 19:43

It’s only natural, with Christmas approaching and a new year on the horizon that we all think about the year that has gone by. I will be glad to see the back of 2012. It has been without doubt the worst year of my life. I think 2005 is the only year which could compete with 2012 for twelve months of unalloyed personal misery. I failed to win the North Norfolk seat at the election by a massive 10,600 votes after a campaign which nearly bankrupted me, and then I spent six months working on the failed David Davis Tory leadership campaign. I was glad to see the back of 2005. Seven years on I have the same feeling about 2012. Funnily enough, I have never been more financially solvent, I do a job I thoroughly enjoy, and I had the privilege of attending Super Saturday at the Olympics where I witnessed Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford win gold for Britain. But all that cannot mask the fact that 2012 will always be the year that I lost my mother. That single event means that this is a year I wish to banish to the furthest recesses of my mind, for my life will never be the same. Only those who have lost their mothers will be able to understand what I mean by that. She meant everything to me, and six months on, there is still a tremendous feeling of emptiness. A void that can never be filled. Her funeral was on June 25th. Six months later, on Christmas morning I shall drive to the village church in Essex where she was buried and have a good cry by her grave. I’ll have breakfast with my father and sister, and them drive back home to Kent to spend Christmas with my partner for the first time in the 17 years we have been together. You see, I could never bring myself to say to my mother, “Sorry, I won’t be there for Christmas this year.” Call me a sentimental old fool, but I always thought the first year I did that would mean that inevitably one of my parents would die in the following twelve months. I loved our Christmas rituals. I loved the fact that my mother would put a single Brussels sprout on my plate each year knowing full well that I would immediately put it back on hers. Brussels sprouts – invention of the devil. I loved our present giving rituals, with my mother unable to hide the fact she didn’t like a particular present. I’ll so miss her telling my father to ‘wake up’ as he would inevitably fall asleep by the fire. Christmas Day this year will inevitably be filled with tears, not only for us but for families throughout the country. But thank goodness we are able to show our feelings for those who are no longer with us. It’s what makes us human. A very happy Christmas to you all, and thank you for reading my columns throughout the year.

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Iain talks to the stars of 'Handbagged'

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Books

Book Review: 'Team, It's Only Radio' by John Myers

24 Dec 2012 at 19:01

I’m a comparative newbie to the world of radio, even though it has always fascinated me. It’s a world full of strong and eccentric personalities, very weird business practices and over-regulation. But it wasn’t always like that. In decades gone by it was even worse. In this stunning book, John Myers tells of his career in radio since the 1970s both as a presenter and businessman. It’s a book that pulls few punches. It’s a book which names names and at the end of it you are wondering how many friends Myers will have left in the industry. But its seering honesty is why it works so well. It’s one of those books you are devastated to finish. You want it to go on and on.

Myers started in local radio in the late 1970s in Cumbria. His tales of getting in at the bottom and trying to work his way up are often side-splittingly funny and anyone looking to get into radio would do well to take note of his perseverance. He spent many years at various radio stations ‘oop north’, as well as in Scotland before eventually becoming head honcho at GMG Radio, where he created a hugely successful radio operation based around the Real Radio and Smooth brands. GMG is in the process of being sold to Global, who own LBC, the radio station I present on. Myers left GMG in 2008 to travel the world and now runs the Sony Awards and Arquiva, as well as heading up the Radio Academy. He carried out reviews into both BBC national and local radio, the first at the behest of the Labour government in 2009 and the latter for the BBC itself as part of its Delivering Quality First Initiative.

To call John Myers ‘Mr Radio’ would not be an exaggeration. I’ve only met him once, but I suspect he’s a marmite character – not devoid of devout acolytes or bitter enemies. And that’s another reason to read this book. Indeed, this book should be read by every broadcast journalism student, producer, radio suit, presenter and regulator. I learnt more about radio from it than I thought possible. It’s full of anecdotes, laughter, a few tears and lessons in how to, or not to, run a radio station.

Five stars

John Myers is on Twitter @JohnMyersTeam

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Iain Takes on Anti Immigrant Caller

And it ain't pretty

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Media

No More Sky News Paper Reviews

21 Dec 2012 at 20:29

Well that’s a bit of a bugger. For at least 13 years now, I have been doing newspaper reviews on Sky News, but that is about to come to an end. In January they are changing the way they do it and I would have to commit to doing both the 10.30pm and 11.30pm slots. Trouble is, I just can’t get to Osterley for the 10.30 slot, as my LBC show doesn’t finish until 10. So my partnerships with Zoe Williams and Jacqui Smith will be no more. No more on screen flirtations! I must admit I am a bit gutted at this turn of events, but there you go. But I will have one last outing on Wednesday 9 January, but after that, you’ve had your lot.

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Sue's Tale of Her Mother's Alcoholism Reduces Me to Tears

Kleenex please

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Random Thoughts

Row the Boat

21 Dec 2012 at 19:53

Don’t laugh, but this weekend I am going to buy a rowing machine. That’s ‘row’ as in oars, not ‘row’ as in an argument generating machine. It’s a last desperate attempt to achieve some degree of fitness. I used to play a lot of sport – squash, tennis, golf. At one point in my life I became quite a ‘gym bunny’. But the life I lead at the moment means I have little time for exercise. Two full time jobs mean that by the time the weekend comes I am too knackered to do much at all. I hate running. It seems so futile and boring. Swimming has the same lack of appeal. But I know I have got to exercise if I am to combat diabetes, so my new year’s resolution is to use the rowing machine at least three times a week, and not stop after the initial few weeks. I know I can lose weight again because I have done it before. But this time I really do have to keep the weight off permanently otherwise instead of taking pills to fight the diabetes, I will have to inject insulin every day. And that is something I really do not want to face!

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale Has a Row With an Argie Apologist

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Quote of the Day

Theodore Dalrymple

18 Dec 2012 at 11:31

Only the peaceful and law-abiding fear the law today

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Video: Iain & Jeremy Nicholas Discuss Their West Ham Books

YourThurrckFilms

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Books

Total Politics Becomes Part of Dods

17 Dec 2012 at 17:13

Four and a half years ago we launched Total Politics magazine. Most people thought it would sink without trace. Who would buy a political lifestyle magazine, let alone advertise it, sneered the cynics. Well, today the magazine was sold to Dods. For me it’s a bittersweet moment as I have decided not to travel with it. The deal makes total business sense and will enable the magazine to grow in a way that might not have been possible otherwise, but I’d be lying if I said I won’t miss it. Shane Greer and Ben Duckworth and their team will be moving to Dods head office off Victoria Street in the new year, and Shane will be overseeing not just TP but a newly created division of Dods. I, meanwhile, will stay behind at Westminster Tower and continue to look after Biteback Publishing, which is not part of the deal. In some ways today marks the end of an era, but also the beginning of a new one. I wish everyone at TP well with their new owners, and look forward to another year of expansion for Biteback Publishing. This year we have published 127 books, a phenomenal achievement. And we have some great titles lines up next year, as you will soon discover!

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Iain Hosts a Discussion on Suicide After Clarke Carlisle Tries to Take His Own Life

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Personal

My Sartorial Elegance

13 Dec 2012 at 21:33

Just got this email from an LBC listener…

Hello Iain,
If there was an award for the most smartily dressed man on sky news press review, you would win in by a country mile. Every week you are always immaculately dressed in your tie and suit and you put to shame alot of other male presenters who I wont name but appear on sky press review in their scruffy jackets,jeans and open top shirts and in some cases wearing cowboy boots,i think you should accept this compliment with grace. Stuart from west London.

I do Stuart, I do. Can’t say I have ever had a compliment for my sartorial elegance before, And you’re not surprised, are you?!

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Video: Iain's Short Documentay on the Rwandan Genocide

Iain reports from Rwanda for 18 Doughty Street, July 2007

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Policy

The Compassion of Angels

11 Dec 2012 at 22:17

Ann Clwyd came on my programme for an hour tonight to talk about the treatment her husband received in hospital in Cardiff in the weeks before he died. She moved many to tears last week in PMQs when she asked David Cameron why so many nurses lacked compassion nowadays. Her voice quavered with emotion. It reminded me of the terrible time my family went through when my mother was in Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge earlier this year. I wanted to complain about the lack of care and lack of compassion but by the time the funeral was over to be quite honest I couldn’t bear it. I didn’t want to relive those hours all over again. I now feel ashamed. I talked about it a bit on the radio, but thought most people would think I was being unkind to poor, overworked nurses. Ann Clwyd, though, was made of sterner stuff and was far braver than I was. She has unwittingly hit on something though, judging by her postbag and those who called my show tonight. Jeremy Hunt has asked to see her next week to discuss the issue. No one is saying all nurses lack compassion. Far from it. But too many do. Is it systemic? Has it got something to do with training and the fact that all nurses are now graduates? Is it lack of support or staff numbers? I don’t know. But what I do know is that this issue is becoming a real problem and needs to be tackled by NHS managers before it gets out of control.

So good luck to Ann Clwyd. She’s been a tenacious campaigner on many issues in the past and I hope she gets somewhere with this.

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Iain Interviews Gibraltar's Chief Minister

Fabian Picardo on Gib and Brexit

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