Thanks to Andrew Woodman for alerting me to David Blunkett's pisspoor column in today's Super Soaraway Sun. How this man gets paid a penny for his weekly column I just do not know. It's unreadable bilge which would do well to get a spot in the Ilkley Bugle, let alone Britain's best selling tabloid. Quite what he's got on Rebekah Wade we can only speculate. Anyway, before this develops into a Ronnie Corbett style monologue, let me get to the point. And the point is, the bearded wonder had a go at me in his column today for having the temerity to talk about immigration on the BBC on Sunday. His remarks deserve a bit of a 'fisking' if you ask me - my comments in italics. Do make sure you read the last para...
Fancy my surprise when I heard the Conservatives raise the issue of [Eastern European immigration].
Well, David, we certainly wouldn't expect you to raise the issue, would we? After all, it was you who reassured us that only 13,000 Eastern Europeans would come here. Remind us, what was the final number? 600,000, was it? Ah yes...
But which Tory? Was it David Cameron? Was it their Shadow Home Secretary? Was it even someone close to them, like the doorman at their head office? No, it was someone described by the BBC as a "commentator on behalf of the Conservative Party".
Oh David, you really are jealous aren't you. Desperate for another go in the limelight perhaps? And that wasn't how I was captioned on screen, as you well know. I was titled as "Conservative Commentator". But let's not split hairs.
This "commentator" was Iain Dale, famous for running a Westminster bookshop and being a (failed) Conservative candidate at the last election.
Banged to rights guv.
Nothing wrong with that.
But if this is Conservative policy why didn't one of their big guns lead the charge instead of tagging along like the women who used to follow armies in the old days.
Well, sorry to burst your conspiracy bubble, Dave, but there was a very simple reason why I did this interview. I was already at the BBC to do their Sunday paper review. I was asked by Jo Cockburn to do a quick piece to camera for their morning news bulletin. Damian Green was already lined up to go on Sunday AM but they wanted a Tory comment on the Sunday stories about a new Tory line on immigration policy. I wasn't speaking "for" the Conservative Party in any official capacity at all. Indeed, I made the decision to do it without having spoken to anyone at CCHQ. I tried to speak to Damian and David Davis but neither were answering their phones - not surprising at 11pm. So, no plot, no conspiracy, I just happened to be there. Simple as that.
Perhaps it was because they felt Iain Dale might be able to raise the fear of the new immigrants brininging Aids into the country - without the Tory leadership being accused of scaremongering or scurrilous and outrageous exaggeration. A cheap shot if you ask me.
A cheap shot indeed David - and beneath you. Seeing as no one in the Conservative Party had the faintest idea that I was appearing they could hardly have "felt" anything. My decision to do it was based on the fact that Jo Cockburn was running her story anyway and I felt it best to have a Tory voice on it. As to your accusation that I "might be able to raise the fear of the new immigrants bringing Aids into the country" that is preposterous, as it was not something I was either asked about or even mentioned in my piece. As a gay man it's not a subject I would seek to make political capital out of, as you well know. As you say David, "a real cheap shot, if you ask me." But then, that's rather typical of you, isn't it? Best not do it again, or I might be forced to reveal how you used taxpayers money to buy copies of your own books from Politico's, wouldn't I? And that would never do, would it? No, we'll save that one up for your third resignation, shall we?