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Archive for April 11th, 2010

Today I am talking to Iain Dale, former parliamentary candidate, political commentator, pundit, blogger, founder of Total Politics and the managing director of publishing company Biteback Publishing.

Iain is also well known for his regular appearances on BBC and Sky News commenting on the political events of our times.

Today I’m not going to ask Iain to guide us through the intricacies of Tory policy – but, consistent with the rest of my series of political podcasts with a small ‘p’, we covered a number of issues including the role of partisan blogging, the dangers of Twitter, why Iain interviewed Nick Griffin, David Davis & David Cameron, voter engagement, negative campaigning, an English Parliament, how new MPs can improve parliament and the prospect of a hung parliament and would George Osborne stand aside for Vince Cable?

Listen to the podcast

Iain Dale’s Diary

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Podcasts coming up this week: Twenty Minutes with Old Holborn (Independent), Tom Harris MP (Labour), @LazyHyena (Ed of GuyNEWS, disaffected anarcho-feminist or something) Geoffrey Woollard (Independent) and Tom Williams (Labour) who is too young to vote at this election but who has demonstrated considerable enthusiasm for politics.

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Dear Reader,

Last week it was Basil Grayling, a potential home secretary, revealing a deep understanding of the law when he said that B&B owners should have a ‘right to ban gays’ – which is against the current law, of course ….and this week we have former Tory Leader, Iain  Duncan Smith, appearing to talk nonsense about brain size and criminality.  Ah well…. these things happen.

Iain Duncan Smith ‘distorted’ research on childhood neglect and brain size

The Guardian: Research focusing on effects of extreme abuse was ‘grossly misrepresented’ by former Tory leader, neuroscientist says

Good to see ‘Britain’s national Atheist’ doing the business as the Easter Week celebrations come to an end with his latest plan…

Richard Dawkins: I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI

The Times reports: “RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.”

I think this is a marvellous idea – to underscore the revulsion felt by many at the way the Catholic Church has condoned child abuse for years in the name of preserving the ‘good name of the universal church’.  I hope they succeed in framing an appropriate charge.   The Times noted: “They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action. The lawyers believe they can ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court. Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Labour hit by cancer leaflet row

I was not impressed by Labour’s behaviour in this rather sordid episode as reported in the Sunday Times.  I’m not sure that dirty tactics, spreading alarm and repeated negative briefing goes down well with British voters.  This election campaign seems to be shaping up to be rather dirty.  Extremists on both sides of the main political divide may well justify this type of campaigning on the ‘for the greater good of the  party’ principle but I find it rather unpleasant.  I am certain that I am not alone on this.

Sunday Times: “LABOUR has become embroiled in a row about the use of personal data after sending cancer patients alarmist mailshots saying their lives could be at risk under a Conservative government.”

Politics Home is reporting this morning…“Mr Davis refused to be drawn on whether he’d be willing to serve as home secretary in a Conservative government, but said that the real Conservative Cameron has come out more in the past weeks with the NI plan and the marriage tax break proposal.

“We’re beginning to see a bit of the real Conservative Cameron – he’s a nice man, but he’s a Tory,” he said.

I am a bit baffled by David Davis’s remark.  It would make more sense if Nick Clegg had said it.  Is David Davis talking in code?  Is there a hidden message within the phrase… perhaps it is an anagram and revelation will come with careful study?

It appears that I was a little over refreshed on twitter last night. Just as well I am not a prospective parliamentary candidate or Gordon would sack me.

With all this serious stuff and even a bit of law on the Lord’s Day… I knew that I should have read The News of The World first as I took breakfast at the cafe… as is my usual practice.  I have caught up on my reading.  As ever, it didn’t take long for me to read NOTW and I didn’t even find something to laugh at which is most unusual….

I have a plan – a series of political podcasts

Rioja has many beneficial properties and through judicious self prescribing I came up with a plan to do a series of podcasts with political commentators, pundits, bloggers and future MPs. The angle is not to cover ‘policies’ – for others can do that far better than I would be able to and there is, in any event, a lot of coverage elsewhere… but to look at issues about politics, why the podcastees find politics so interesting, what their thoughts are on people abstaining or not bothering to vote, whether there will ever be an ‘English parliament’, whether they think the next Parliament will repair the damage to the reputation of Parliament and a host of other matters which come up in  the podcasts which I can’t predict. Politicians and political commentators are used to talking, so it will be difficult to predict – I shall do my best to keep them off pushing too much party line stuff!

So far I have invited

Iain Dale (Tory commentator), Old Holborn (Independent), Tom Harris MP (Labour), @LazyHyena (Ed of GuyNEWS, disaffected anarcho-feminist or something) Geoffrey Woollard (Independent) and Tom Williams (Labour) who is too young to vote at this election but who has demonstrated considerable enthusiasm for politics.  I am interested in the why not so much the what – so, hopefully, the podcasts will be interesting from a very different point of view.  I do plan to ask others – I just haven’t had time to do so since yesterday.

And I just have to end with this...Hat Tip to BenjaminFGray

Caught in the act… in flagrante delicto…?

Back later… but there is a bit of sun out there… a glass of wine for a late lunch

Best, as ever

Charon

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