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WATCH: CNN Talk - Are we Entering a New Cold War?

16 Mar 2018 at 22:46

Are we entering a new cold war? That’s the question we seek to answer today on CNN Talk.

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Video: Iain Snogs Jacqui Smith under the Sky News Mistletoe

Sky News

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Diary

ConHome Diary: Cometh the Hour Cometh the Woman...

16 Mar 2018 at 12:38

On Monday lunchtime, as my parting shot on CNNTalk I said that in her statement responding to the Salisbury nerve agent attack, Theresa May should ask herself one question: “What would Maggie have done?” And then do it. If I’m honest I thought we’d hear a statement full of diplomatic ifs and buts. What we got instead, both on Monday and Wednesday was a full on Iron lady tour de force. It was May at her confident best. She was robust, forthright but grounded on an inner calm, based on the belief that she was doing the right thing. The nervousness and lack of self-confidence that is sometimes apparent was banished – hopefully for good. There wasn’t a single Conservative MP who wouldn’t have given her their full support. And she got the support of the more sane Labour MPs too. They lined up on Wednesday to tell her she had done exactly the right thing and to subtly stick the knife into their own leader. The relative unity in the Parliamentary Labour Party has been well and truly shattered over this issue.
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While Labour has scored well over the last year on domestic issues, and struck a chord with the electorate, I wonder whether it could be foreign and defence policy that prevents them winning the next election. By rights it should, but then again someone of my age tends to judge these things using old political metrics. We compare things to how it was back in the Cold War, but anyone under the age of 40 has little or no memory of those times. Just as attacks on Jeremy Corbyn for his friendship with IRA terrorists cuts little ice with the Millennials, nor do attacks on Russia. The tendency of many to give Russia a free pass and slumber in the belief that it is America that is the real threat to world peace, rather than the Kremlin, is worrying to observe. Jeremy Corbyn’s utter failure in his response to both Theresa May’s Commons statements this week lay is explained in his fundamental inability to unequivocally condemn any of Russia’s unlawful acts on the international stage. Ukraine was all down to US and EU expansionism etc. This is all fed to him by those reactionary old ‘tankies’ Seaumas Milne and Andrew Murray. They both seem to hanker after a bygone age when Russia really did provide a counterbalance to America. Both their pasts display an apparent hankering after the good old days. The Conservatives must be alive to this, and find a way of persuading Millennials of the dangers of this position.
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Back in 2003, when it became clear that Hans Blix wasn’t going to find any weapons of mass destruction I remember saying that Tony Blair’s willingness to take us into the Iraq War (which I supported) would rebound not just on him but all future prime ministers. I remember touring the TV studios explaining that if our prime minister kept saying Saddam had WMDs I was prepared to believe him on the basis that no prime minister would lie over something as serious as that. I remember saying that a prime minister knows things which he or she can’t possibly share with voters due to national security, but it was our duty, whatever our political leanings, to support our prime minister on issues like this. I believed it then and I believe it now. I still don’t believe Tony Blair deliberately lied, but it is clear that there were serious failings on the part of our intelligence services, and indeed his own judgement. But these failings have had severe long term consequences. They have meant that no longer do people give prime ministers the benefit of the doubt on matters of security and war. They want absolute proof. Social media and the internet more generally have fed a narrative of ‘trust no one, especially political leaders’. Vladimir Putin could have been discovered manufacturing the nerve agent himself and there could be a recording of him giving instructions on how to use it to murder Sergei Skripal, and there would still be people blaming the Americans or the Israelis for what happened. The erosion of trust in political leaders because of Tony Blair’s actions have corroded our entire political system. I wonder if Blair ever reflects on that.
*
My musical tastes are famously ‘well-dodge’ according to many other people. One of the bands I like most of all is Roxette. They are playing at the Hammersmith Apollo in October, albeit without female lead singer Marie Fredriksson, who has retired from touring following recovery from a brain tumour. So I went onto their website to book a couple of tickets, only to find out that the prices ranged from £57 to £68. This comes days after a cinema wanted to charge me £18.99 to see ‘Darkest Hour’. I admit that I could easily afford these prices, but I’ve chosen not to. I don’t ever pay a price which I think is a rip-off. Maybe that’s the going rate these days, but I for one ain’t paying it.

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LBC Book Club: Iain Dale talks to Simon Jordan

Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan discusses his book BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

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WATCH: My Interview with Politics UK

13 Mar 2018 at 13:49

This is a 25 minute conversation with Steven Edginton from Politics UK. We cover Brexit, BBC bias, my five years on Drive at LBC and much else besides.

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LBC 97.3: Iain Dale interviews Conrad Black

Half an hour with the former Telegraph publisher, talking about his new memoir, A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE.

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WATCH: CNN Talk: What Should Theresa May Do About the Russian Spy Poisoning?

12 Mar 2018 at 12:02

CNNTalk goes five days a week from today, every day at 11am for the next two weeks, then back to 12 noon. Today we discuss Russia and the poisoning in Salisbury. We have a lovely new desk too! Afua Hirsch was sitting in for Ayesha Hazarika.

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LBC Book Club: Iain Dale talks to Lady Pamela Hicks

Iain talks to Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter of Lord Louis Mountbatten, talks about her new book, DAUGHTER OF EMPIRE

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Sport

Idiots, Thugs & Knuckleheads - The "Fans" Who Embarrass the Real Supporters

10 Mar 2018 at 18:06

When I woke up this morning I must have had a premonition. Having been looking forward to the West Ham Burnley game all week, I just couldn’t summon up the enthusiasm to go. Perhaps it’s just that I’m knackered after a very long week, but I didn’t even get out of bed to do the Tunbridge Wells park run either.

So I can’t write a match report because I wasn’t there, and judging by what I have heard, I’m glad I wasn’t.

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I listened to the BBC London commentary for most of the first half and from what they said we were unlucky to go into half time without a goal. Both Lanzini and Mario might have scored had luck been on their side. Again, I must have ad a premonition because instead of listening to the second half commentary I decided to watch an episode of OUTLANDER (highly recommended!). It was only when my phone kept pinging with messages from my Arsenal supporting friend Matt that I realised things were going very awry. I knew we were 2-0 down, but what I hadn’t reckoned with is some of our idiot fans disgracing themselves. Again.

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I have attended fewer home matches this season than any other of the 25 seasons I have had a season ticket. I have two season tickets but it’s rare that I can persuade anyone to come with me. It’s not that I smell, or my friends don’t want to watch West Ham, they’re put off by what they’ve heard about the ‘incidents’ in the crowd. And who can blame them after what happened today. It’s embarrassing. At the last game I attended – and remember, I sit in the 1966 seats – there was an actual fight ten rows above me. West Ham fans, fighting each other.

I’m told a fan ran on and stole one of the corner flags. Others ran onto the pitch. One “fan” even confronted Mark Noble.I imagine there were no doubt a few fights too. Em-barassing, with a capital E.

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What do these knuckleheads think they’re achieving apart from dragging our reputation through the mud yet again?

They can blame the sodding board or Karren Brady all they like, but in the end there are 11 players on the pitch, and if they aren’t performing, there’s nothing the Board can do about it. The team that Moyes put out today should have been capable of beating Burnley. Even at 2-0 down it might have been possibel for them to salvage something out of the game. But the action of a minority of idiots in the crowd soon put paid to that. So well done, guys. great work. You absolute w**kers.

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Perhaps these people think that these actions will force Sullivan and Gold to sell the club, and if that happened, everything would be rosy in the garden. Well be careful what you wish for. New owners are no guarantors of success. Ask Leeds fans. Ask West Brom fans. Ask Southampton fans. I could go on. Does anyone think a new owner from China, Russia or Azerbaijan is going to care about the club as much as lifelong fans like the two Davids? Don’t get me wrong, they’ve made a fair few mistakes in their time, but they have made decisions which they thought were right at the time.

Look at this headline on the Sport Bible website…

Burnley Substitutes Let Kids Sit On The Bench To Escape Mayhem From The Stands

The kids were West Ham supporters. When they get home their parents will probably resolve never to take them to another game. Well done knuckleheads.

I’m rapidly getting to the point where I genuinely wonder whether I will renew the season tickets I’ve had for 25 years. Not because I don’t like the London Stadium because I do. Not because I can’t cope with seeing the team I love underperform – I’m used to it. No. The reason I may not renew is entirely because I don’t want to attend games which are ruined by idiots and thugs. I don’t want to be embarrassed anymore. That’s not what being a West Ham fan is all about.

Before the match a tribute was made to Bobby Moore. The great man will be turning in his grave tonight.

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LBC 97.3 Book Club: Iain talks to Charles Moore

Charles Moore discusses his authorised biography of Margaret Thatcher

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WATCH: CNN Talk - Trump Meets Kim Jong Un: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

9 Mar 2018 at 23:31

Twelve hours after Donald Trump accepts an invitation to meet Kim Jong Un, we discuss the likelihood of success on today’s CNN Talk.

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In Which Iain Is Offered a Modelling Contract...

Sort of.

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Diary

ConHome Diary: Some Advice for DD, The Rise of Penny Mordaunt & Henry Boltonski

9 Mar 2018 at 13:34

Henry Bolton announced on Wednesday that he was starting a new political party called ONE NATION. Better than EIN VOLK, I suppose. It was a pretty amateurish start, given that his logo was low res, the ‘1’ inside the ‘O’ in ‘One’ was off centre and the website was unsearchable on Google. It got worse. I invited him to come on my LBC show only for him to tell me that much as he’d love to, he’d already committed to give his first exclusive interview to Russia Today. Well that tells us all we need to know, doesn’t it.
Yesterday we learned that UKIP needs to find £100,000 by the end of the month otherwise they will go bust. Bolton left them with quite a mess to clear up, didn’t he. It would be easy to come up with a conspiracy theory about this shambles, and several have. The most entertaining is that given Henry Bolton used to be a LibDem member, he was a LibDem plant. Obviously preposterous. I suspect we’ll hear some rather more serious allegations over the coming weeks.

Theresa May’s biggest strength has been the lack of a serious alternative to her leadership. I still think that she will still be PM at the end of the year, partly because of the non-emergence of any serious contender. Michael Gove, I’d say, would probably be the ‘under the bus’ candidate at the moment, but it is now up to other cabinet ministers to put in good performances and therefore be seen as possible successors. One cabinet minister who has had a ‘good war’ in the last few months is the International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt. Her handling of the Oxfam scandal was exemplary. She had a strategy, a firm position and was articulate in explaining it. One to watch, I’d say.
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So the British Communist Party says it will support Jeremy Corbyn and not stand candidates against Labour. Well knock me out with a frozen leg of pork…
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The Draft EU Negotiating Guidelines are a disgrace. They offer literally nothing to negotiate on. Their way or the highway is the message they’re clearly intent on sending. If I were advising David Davis I’d be advising him to make a very robust response, along the lines of ‘come back to us when you’ve got something sensible to say’. At some stage their bluff needs to be called. We’re not Greece, and we’re not going to be treated like Greece.
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On Wednesday I interviewed Marina Litvenenko on my radio show, following the poisoning incident in Salisbury. I am always aware that for her, whenever there something like this happens, it must bring back all the pain of what happened to her husband Alexander. At the time of writing, we don’t know exactly what happened but it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that Russian state involvement is highly probable. Given that Mr Skirpal’s wife and son were both killed in separate car crashes in Russia, and the fact that there have been at least 14 killings of Russian nationals on British soil in the last few years, you’d have to try very hard to think of an alternative explanation. The big question is that if it’s proven that there is Russian state involvement in this incident, what does the UK do about it? Answers on a postcard to the Foreign Secretary, please.
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On Wednesday it was announced by CNN that CNNTalk, the show I appear on at midday on Mondays and Fridays is going 5 days a week. Obviously, I’m delighted that CNN think the programme has been such a success, but I am greatly amused by some of the comments on Twitter. Some nutters really do believe that because I appear on a CNN programme I must be told what to say. Others ask how I can work for such a network, which Donald Trump delights in dubbing the home of fake news. Very easily, and I am proud to do so. Their coverage of international affairs is unrivalled and they have a superb team of highly professional and often brave journalists. I became addicted to watching CNN during the first Gulf War, and if you’d told me then that 25 years later I’d be part of one of their most highly rated shows, I’d have never believed you. It’s a simple format in many way – half an hour’s discussion on one topic between three people – me, Ayesha Hazarika and Liam Halligan – who clearly like and respect each other but aren’t afraid to mix it when necessary, with a host – Max Foster – who knows when to just let us get on with it. For the next two weeks, because of the time difference with the US, we’re on at 11am on CNN International or you can stream on their Facebook Live page but at the end of the month we revert to our normal time of 12 noon. If you’ve never watched, give it a try – channel 506 on Sky.

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Video: Iain & Yasmin Alibhai Brown crossexamine Martin Bell

18 Doughty Street: Crosstalk, 2007

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TV/Film/Theatre

CNN Talk to go Daily - Hit CNN International Show to Run Five Days a Week

7 Mar 2018 at 10:00


This is the press release CNN have just issued announcing that CNN Talk is going 5 days a week from next Monday. I’m incredibly proud to be part of this show and even prouder that it has become so popular the world over. Last May we launched it and in September it went two days a week. It works because all four of us – Ayesha Hazarika, Liam Halligan, host Max Foster and me all get on well and gell together in a unique manner. We have had some feisty debates but the audience knows that even if we sometimes exchange some firey words we all have an innate respect for each other.

CNN Talk with Max Foster is to run five days a week from Monday March 12, the network announced today.

The panel show, which airs on CNN International and live streams on Facebook simultaneously, was launched in May 2017; in addition to CNN International’s global TV audience, it reaches up to two million Facebook users. Programmes stimulate thousands of comments online from across the world, many of which are added live to the debate on air. Topics reflect the major news stories and talking points of the day

Host Max Foster will be joined by regular guests Ayesha Hazarika MBE, former UK Labour Party Special Adviser who is a columnist for The Scotsman and London Evening Standard as well as a comedian and broadcaster; UK radio station LBC presenter and political publisher, Iain Dale; and Liam Halligan, known for his regular columns in Britain’s Sunday Telegraph, The Spectator and Unherd.com. CNN correspondents and other experts will also regularly join the show as guests; Christiane Amanpour, Nima Elbagir and Fred Pleitgen have all featured in recent shows.

Gill Penlington, Senior Director, News & Events Programming, at CNN International, said: “From the very beginning this show has struck a chord with audiences. The level of engagement we’ve seen has been phenomenal. Having a daily edition of the programme will allow us to get into a wider range of topics through the week and broaden what is already a diverse and highly flexible agenda.”

Recent CNN Talk shows have focused on topics including Donald Trump’s presidency, Brexit, gun control, international terrorism, sexual harassment and the #MeToo movement. The show has travelled to Berlin, Brussels and Paris, covered the royal engagement from outside Buckingham Palace, and discussed the Parsons Green bomb attack in London from the scene.

CNN Talk airs Monday to Friday at 6am ET/11am GMT/12pm CET*, from 12 March.

After the clocks change it will switch to its regular time of 7am ET/12pm BST/1pm CET, from Monday 26 March.

If you’ve never seen an edition of CNNTalk, here’s what you’ve been missing. By the way, we have the cameras on for 5 minutes before the show starts for the Facebook audience, and they stay on during the ad break in the middle.

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Iain interviews Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown's new book is a World War 2 military history book

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WATCH: CNN Talk - Does Hollywood Politics Make a Difference?

5 Mar 2018 at 22:09

A look back at The Oscars and whether Hollywood poliics is virtual signalling or really can make a difference. Ayesha and Liam get a little bit feisty.

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Video: Iain speaks to the BBC College of Journalism about his media work

BBC College of Journalism, 10 May 2011

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WATCH: The Andrew Marr Show Paper Review & My Red Suit Jacket (But Not the Trousers)

4 Mar 2018 at 13:10

The Marr Show paper review from earlier today with me and the New Statesman’s Helen Lewis. Most people on Twitter were more concerned with what I was wearing that what I was saying, it seems. I bought it online from Empire Outlets. Just so you know!

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Iain Interviews David Cameron

Full 16 minute interview with the PM, mainly on Brexit.

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