Quote of the Day
6 Jan 2013 at 21:15
“In Brussels, no one can hear you scream.”Kaspar Juul, Borgen, 5 Jan 2013
Quote of the Day
6 Jan 2013 at 21:15
“In Brussels, no one can hear you scream.”Kaspar Juul, Borgen, 5 Jan 2013
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
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.
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.
Quote of the Day
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
5 Jan 2013 at 13:11
You can just imagine the scenario around the table in Portcullis House…
Andy Burnham: Right guys, Ed’s said we have to come up with an eye-catching policy to grab the headlines in the new year. Let’s have a brainstorm.
Researcher 1: Increase spending on the NHS by 10%?
Researcher 2: Reopen all the hospitals you closed when you were Health Secretary?
Researcher 3: Stop all that privatization you started when you were Health Secretary?
Andy Burnham: Not quite sure you’re all on the same page here. No, we need something which will get everyone talking around the breakfast table…
Researcher 1: I know, let’s make porridge mandatory at Breakfast. Far better for you than those simply ghastly cereal thingies.
Researcher 2: You may be on to something. Polly would love it if we banned Coco Pops. Lets face it, Owen Jones didn’t get his looks from eating Frosties, did he?
Andy Burnham: I like it, my eyelashes are twitching. Always a good sign.
Researcher 3: Shouldn’t we focus group it?
Andy Burnham: Nah, it’s just the sort of thing Ed will love. He likes to ban things. And Ed Balls will love it to. If it saves money on obesity he can spend it all three times over on a new jobs initiative!
Researcher 2: Bitch. What do you think your wife and kids would say about banning Cocopops?
Andy Burnham: Sorry, I don’t get your point. If Labour says it’s a good idea, it’s a good idea. They’ll understand. We know what’s good for them.
Well in case you have missed it, Labour’s health team have come up with two ideas today to make us all healthier. Andy Burnham wants to ban breakfast foods with high sugar content and Diane Abbott wants to ban fast food shops from opening close to schools. They really can’t help themselves, can they? But it’s not just Labour politicians who think they know what’s good for us. Tory health ministers are just as bad. It’s the Nanny State writ large and I hate it. Coco Pops and Frosties have been around for decades. If banning them really is the answer we have some very desperate politicians indeed.
4 Jan 2013 at 20:47
A couple of days ago I was emailed by a friend who wanted to draw my attention to an appeal launched by 25 year old Duke Safo. He wants to raise £5,000 in order to be able to finance, er, his mother’s funeral. His Mum died in November at the very young age of 48. He is auctioning his in a very unique way in order to raise the funds. He’s set up a website. He writes…
For those who may not already know, my mother Mary Safo, sadly and unexpectedly passed away on 9th November 2012 aged only 48. For 25 years I have been blessed with a wonderful mother whose kindness resonated through every fibre of her being. My mum had an unrelenting happiness which was infectious, a smile which filled your heart with warmth, and a heart so pure she didn’t know how to not be genuine. Although I’m devastated not to have my mum here with me anymore, I’m happy she is in a better place where she deserves to be. I owe my mum everything, she was a wonderful example of the type of person I still aspire to be like, which is why I want to give her a respectable goodbye.
Despite my family and I pulling together all our resources, due to the unexpected nature of her passing, it has been difficult to acquire all the necessary funds for her funeral. All I want to do is give my Mum the best farewell that I can. Unfortunately I am struggling to contribute as I am in the middle of my post grad studies. I need to raise £5000….This has led me to take the decision to raffle my car! My aim is not to make any money personally but to contribute as much as I possibly can to my Mum’s service. I have been pondering over the decision to be so public with my mums death as it is such a personal and sad circumstance however after some careful thought I came to the conclusion that I not only wanted to raise money for my Mum’s funeral but to let people know about this wonderful woman that I was blessed to have as a mother. Should by any miracle there be any resdiual funds at the end of the raffle I will donate this to MIND, one of the charities, supporting an illness which affected my mum.
The reason for the delay for my mums funeral is because my mum will be repatriated to Ghana, and this requires a lot of time to prepare. A funeral service will be held in London mid Jan , then subsequently a few days later her body will be flown to Ghana where my mum will finally be laid to rest next to her dad. The time I am having to wait to gain closure has been extremely difficult to say the least, but what I am trying to do for my mum has kept me going for her.
So far Duke has raised £736 and has six more days to get to £5,000. I made a donation earlier, partly because I was moved by his story and also because I rather admire his initiative. If you’d like to do the same click here and then tweet or share the page on Facebook. Let’s hope he gets to his target.
4 Jan 2013 at 11:13
As readers of old will know, I have constant battle with my weight. A couple of weeks before Christmas I had my flu jab and promised the doctor I’d get down to 16 and a half stone by mid March. That would entail losing a stone. Having been ill most of Christmas and the New Year, I got on the scales this morning with a sense of trepidation. Why? Because the last two weeks have been spent spluttering my guts up while lying on the couch watching Homeland, Borgen and The Killing (am now on series 3!), and to be honest I haven’t exactly eaten healthily, I thought I might have a nasty surprise. But not a bit of it. I’ve actually lost 6 pounds. So that’s got the new year off to a good start.
3 Jan 2013 at 22:03
It really is something that there is not a single ‘out’ footballer in the world of professional football, not just in this country but throughout Europe and probably the world. West Ham winger Matt Jarvis is this month’s cover boy on Attitude Magazine, the UK’s leading glossy gay magazine. Jarvis isn’t gay, he’s married, but for whatever reason he has decided to speak out. I’m not sure Sam Allardyce, his manager, will be overjoyed, but it will certainly be interesting the watch the fallout from this. Jarvis is not the first footballer to appear on Attitude’s cover – David Beckham did so in 2002 and Freddie Ljungberg did so in 2006.
In an interview with the magazine, Jarvis said he thought it was time that a gay footballer felt comfortable enough to come out…
“It’s everyday life. It’s not something that’s going to be a shock. I’m sure there are many footballers who are gay, but when they decide to actually come out and say it, it is a different story. It’s one that I’m sure they’ve thought about many times. But it’s a hard thing for them to do… There’d be support everywhere within the football community, whether it be players, fans or within the PFA [Professional Footballers’ Association]. There would definitely be groups of people who would be supportive and help them through it.”
You would hope that would be the case, but if a footballer does decide to take this step, I hope there will be many others that follow his lead, because being the only one would certainly not be a comfortable position to be in.
Homophobia is rife in football, both on the pitch and on the terraces. If Matt Jarvis helps combat that in any way, he should be congratulated.
You can see the full story courtesy of The Guardian
3 Jan 2013 at 13:15
Mark Pack has reviewed my new book THE BLOGFATHER on his own blog. He’s kindly given me permission to repeat it here, warts and all.
A selection of Iain Dale’s blog posts from 2004-2012, The Blogfather is a potted history of one of the pioneering political blogs in the UK which helped take blogging from idiosyncratic niche into a mainstream format for covering politics. To his credit, Iain Dale has included several posts where subsequent events showed up his political judgement and he doesn’t stint in recording his heavy defeat at the hands of Norman Lamb in North Norfolk – even including his post from the day before when he wrote, “I just heard Channel 4 has tipped us to gain the seat”. It is a more interesting book for him having avoided the temptation many writers succumb to of omitting such events.
What is missing, perhaps inevitably, are the more ephemeral posts which were part of the rapid-fire cyber news cycle when his blog was at its peak. A reader of the book but not the original blog therefore gets a limited view of what the political blog was like, with more of the more substantive stories and less of the passing political Punch and Judy blogging. It is doubtful how many of the latter would interest readers now save for those named in them (yes, I did check to see if any of Iain’s posts about myself were in there!) so their exclusion is logical, even if it means we don’t quite get a full flavour of political blogging from the book. But then missing too are the comments on his posts, an omission which also probably suits the reader whilst also extending the degree to which the book takes blog posts and presents them in a different format, turning them into a different form.
Amongst the posts that are included, even the briefest usually have a serious message in them, as with the blog post from 4 May 2006 which may appear trivial at first glance yet actually touches on a deeper point about how much of political communication on TV is about appearance, with people often remembering someone’s appearance far more than their precise words:
While watching Question Time:
Me: Isn’t that Julia Goldsworthy just appalling?
Partner: Yes, but she’s got lovely hair.
Iain Dale’s Conservative views come out clearly in the book but he can at times be generous to politicians from other parties, as when he wrote in 2007:
I’ve been listening to Any Questions on my drive to Upton Park. Lynne Featherstone said something quite profound. On the question of gay adoption she urged people not to think about the generality of the issue but to concentrate on individual gay people you know and think about whether they would, as individuals, make good parents.
Overall the selection of posts makes for an interesting political history of the years, with plenty of issues that are still relevant. The selection of posts, exclusion of comments and absence of hyperlinks means it doesn’t quite give a real feel for what the blog, as a blog, was like. But then this is a book, not a blog. What it does have in common with the blog is that there is much of interest and, given the pugnacity of its views, much that will also annoy or trigger disagreements. But then bland writing is usually boring writing.
If that’s got your juices flowing, you can buy THE BLOGFATHER via Politicos.co.uk
Mark Pack’s book 101 WAYS TO WIN AN ELECTION is available now too from Politicos.co.uk
2 Jan 2013 at 22:09
Watching Labour Transport spokeswoman Maria Eagle touring the TV studios today, you’d think Labour had never put rail fares up during their time in office. If only that were true. Since 2004 fares have risen by inflation plus 1% under a formula put in place by, yes, you guessed it, the then Labour Transport Secretary. There’s a word for Maria Eagle’s weasel words today and it begins with H and ends in Y. OK, this is the sort of thing oppositions do, everyone knows that, but her words will cut little ice with an electorate which has a longer memory than Ms Eagle and her colleagues might imagine.
The thing is that many people are actually noticing that their railways are getting better. That’s certainly the case on the line I use – Tonbridge to London. New rolling stock and relatively reliable performance mean that although none of us want to pay more, we can at least see an improvement on what the service was like a decade or so ago. I am sure that this is not the same on every line, but credit where credit is due, on Southeastern Railways the extra investment is being put to good use. One thing though, the car parking is an absolute rip-off!