Friday, February 18, 2005

Tipping a Winner

Just got back from a marathon debate in Cromer. Richard Lawson, the chairman, made the mistake of believing the time of the clock on the wall. We didn't actually finish until gone 9.30. Astonishingly most of the audience stayed until the bitter end.

Spent all day at the Countryside Alliance Day at Fakenham Races. I was asked to judge the best groomed horse in the 3.50. I picked Hoh Nelson, which amazingly then went on to win the race. Shame I hadn't put a bet on it. Also made a short speech over the PA system where I explained the timetable for overturning the hunting ban.

Tomorrow I am out in Horning in the morning and Stalham in the afternoon. Frighteningly, tomorrow is the last Saturday evening I will have off before the election.

17 comments:

DM Andy said...

So Iain, what do you think of the violence shown to the MP Dan Norris and his assistant at Badminton on Thursday? Are you in favour of the Countryside Alliance line that he was "asking for it"? Do you believe that areas of Britain should be off-limits to MPs of the "wrong" political hue?

Iain Dale said...

I don't know anything about this. Is there an Internet link? I haven't read about it in the papers.

DM Andy said...

Yes, glad to be of help Iain.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/gloucestershire/4275339.stm
A Labour MP has been pelted with eggs and claims a member of his staff was punched during a debate on hunting.

and the CA response
http://www.countryside-alliance.org/our_news/hunting_news/Labour_MP_visits_home_of_hunting_to_%93gloat%94./
The Countryside Alliance has condemned Labour MP for Wansdyke, Dan Norris, following his visit to the foxhunting village of Badminton to gloat on the eve of the hunt ban coming into force. Badminton residents are appalled by the misleading spin and accusations made by Mr Norris.

Anonymous said...

Iain
I am not quite clear - do you actually believe in the rule of law or is it, in your view, something that we can be selective about?
Robb

Iain Dale said...

I've now read the two reports. The Labour MP is clearly a prat who was looking for trouble. There is nothing in the Countryside Alliance statement which says 'he was asking for it' but you'd have to be pretty stupid to go to a hunt meeting outside your own constituency purely to "gloat". I'm not surprised people got angry. If politicians do stupid things like this then they can hardly be surprised if a few eggs are thrown. That's not condoning it, it's just facing reality. If any law was broken by anyone I am sure the Police will take the necessary action.

DM Andy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DM Andy said...

I think I said it better in my blog yesterday evening.

Okay, lets look at this. BBC Points West decided to do an interview/debate between Dan Norris, an MP who has been vocal in his support for the hunt ban, and a member of the Beaufort Hunt. Dan Norris accepts and the BBC decide to hold the debate in the Beaufort's home village of Badminton. Before the BBC could actually do the interview, Norris was pelted with eggs and cream and, Norris says, his assistant was punched. The CA deny that she was punched but in the general confusion of the event, I've seen clips on TV, I can't see how anyone can say that no punches were thrown. So he didn't come to Badminton to gloat, he visited to take part in a civilised debate, the venue of which he did not choose.

Even if he had gone there to gloat, are the CA really saying that there should be parts of Britain off-limits to people who hold certain political views? Some lovers of freedom they are.

Iain Dale said...

I don't condone violence of any kind and if any law has been broken I am sure the Police will take the necessary action.

I still think Norris was stupid to do it. It's a bit like a Conservative Minister going to Orgreave during the Miners strike, I would have thought.

DM Andy said...

So Iain, you think that Dan Norris should have refused to take part in the debate? How do you think "we invited Dan Norris to defend his anti-hunting views but he refused." would have gone down on the BBC.

Neil said...

To pose the question in a way which enables you to give a simple yes or no answer:

Do you condemn people who throw eggs and cream at someone simply because they disagree with a change in the law they have vocally supported?

Iain Dale said...

I refer the Right Hon Gentleman to the answer I gave above - "I don't condone violence of any kind". Clear?

Anonymous said...

Iain
Your answer to Neil is very clear. You condemn the Countryside Alliance for their actions. By definition you presumably also support the right of a Labour, or any other, MP to speak his mind with the freedom of speech that is part of our heritage. But fair is fair - well done you for condeming the actions of the Country side Alliance' and supporting the rights of a Labour MP.
Robb

Iain Dale said...

I think if I want words put into my mouth I will put them there myself, if it's all the same to you.

Anonymous said...

Iain
I've known some politicians to sit on the fence but really mate, you take the biscuit! You have said that you don't condone violence from which I extrapolate the hypothesis that you do not condone the violence seemingly inflicted on the MP by the members of the Countryside Alliance. Put another way, you condemn the violence allegedly shown by the Countryside Alliance. What can be simpler?
Or is that, in your eyes, some violence is ok and some violence is not ok? So why not say, what in reality you have already said,that you unresevedly condemn the violence displayed by the Countryside Alliance against an elected MP. Siting on a fence on issues you find difficult to face up to makes you appear weak and ineffective - is that what you want?
Robb

Iain Dale said...

This is becoming very tedious. I have said I do not condone violence of any kind. How exactly is that sitting on the fence? If I wanted to learn how to sit on a fence I would copy Norman Lamb who does it with great regularity.

Anonymous said...

Iain
Just cannot bring yourself to be strong benough to say it can you, mate
Robb

Anonymous said...

Iain
In view of the debacle at the By election do you still think you were wise to spend all Friday at Fakenham races. Many Conservatives are dismayed by your lack of judgement.
in Sorrow
Robb