Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another Train Story

From a reader called Cart...

" My father was sitting on a train waiting to leave King's Cross a few years ago, when Lord Falconer sat down next to him. After considering the dilemma you mentioned, Iain, my dad said"Excuse me, but are you Lord Falconer?"Falconer (beaming at being recognised)"Yes"At which point my dad said "'Scuse me", got up and went to sit somewhere else on the train... "

Well it made me laugh, anyway!


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be boasting that I had such an ignorant father! :(
Iain---you showed so much more class with your decision!

Anonymous said...

I am quite sure that "Labour Lord Puffball" would think that the other passenger felt too humble to sit with him !!

Anonymous said...

Freind of mine was travelling back to Haslemere in a first-class, no-mobiles compartment a couple of years ago. The egregious Geoffrey Robinson got in - accompanied by a 4-pack of Stella - and, having popped two in a row, started taking and making phone calls. Friend remonstrated with him. Robinson got pompous, huffing and puffing about how very important he was and how very rude my friend was to dare to reprimand him. This was, incidentally, after he'd resigned in the wake of Mandelson's Mortgage. He even did the "do you know who I am?" routine.

"Yes, I know perfectly well who you are, and that makes your behaviour even more inexcusable. I've paid for and chosen a quiet compartment, so I'd be very grateful if you would obey the rules and make your phone calls outside."

Robinson snarled and blustered, but eventually went into the corridor, where he unsuccessfully juggled briefcase, lagers, telephone and "very important" papers.

Anonymous said...

Cheerful Charlie, Lord Flatmate of Falconer: I'd forgotten him. Is he still alive? If so, why?

Anonymous said...

No such chance of engaging with our grand rulers when I shared a carriage with Cherie Booth (aka Mrs T Blair) - I use the term 'shared' loosely since she had commandeered the entire first class compartment for herself and her minder. A compliant train guard spent the entire journey ensuring that us hoi polloi remained packed like sardines in the remaining section of the carriage. And I'd hoped to ask Mrs B if she had ticket.

William Gruff said...

Doctor (?): Will you explain, please, what you base your assessment of the elder Mr Dale's knowledge on?

William Gruff said...


I missed the introduction: 'From a reader called Cart'

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the full story of Dennis Thatcher on the train to the Westcontry.

Anonymous said...

I used to see Big Lawson on the tube at Notting Hill (no, not Nigella)!


David Boothroyd said...

We should all remember the story when Tories next tell us how they are polite people while Labour are just rude. Not true, obviously.

Anonymous said...

I came across SIR BOB behind me, at a London airport check-in (economy class) about 25 years ago.

Believe me it was not a nice sound, pretty sight or fine smell.

More F this and F that, then a devils kitchen rant.

More stubble, bad dress sense, alcohol breath, and BO, then a West End bum.

Must say that at least he did grunt "sorry" when he threw up over his sleeve, while standing on my foot.

So there is at least one good reason why the powers that be, gave the rude, drunken, no-talent a knighthood.

When I was growing up my grandfather would have given him the price of a extra large vodka and wished him a swift and painfully terminal liver disease. In the most polite manner possible.

Fully knowing that the vagrant would still thank him for the contribution.

But then, he had the type of working-class CLASS, only found in an East-End gangsters dreams.

Anonymous said...

I have written several emails - nothing odd just general comments, points and suggestions - to a blogger. I have never even got a reply to any of them.

Iain, people in glass houses should not throw stones. You could ackowledge your emails, it is what people with manners do.

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous, are you saying you have sent emails to me and that I haven't replied?

I always acknowledge emails, even if it sometimes a couple of weeks late!

If you really haven't had a reply to several emails it would suggest that I haven't had them.

Anonymous said...

To Anon of 7.43pm (originally in The Daily Telegraph)

Sir Denis once found himself in rather an odd situation during a train trip to Bristol to play golf for charity. Staff at Number 10 had failed to make a reservation for the Prime Minister's husband and when he boarded the train at Paddington, it was packed.

"When he got on the train, he found it was full and so were the corridors," recounts Sir David.

"He was 74 years old and didn't want to stand for two hours. Neither did he want everyone joking about him being the Prime Minister's husband and not being able to get a seat.

"Then he came across a compartment which was absolutely empty except for a sign saying 'Reserved for Reading Psychiatric Hospital.' There were eight empty seats. Sir Denis couldn't believe his luck and in he went and sat down. Then the train arrived in Reading," continues Sir David. "The compartment door opened and the Reading Psychiatric Hospital group came in. Their minder looked around and said 'There are too many people here... ' He counted '1, 2, 3, 4... who are you?' Denis replied: 'I'm the husband of the Prime Minister.' And the nurse said: 'OK... 5, 6, 7, 8.' "


Anonymous said...


I did mean that I have sent you email and had nothing in return. If there has been a cock-up on the email system then sorry for saying that you ignored me. If I say I emailed you more than once does it make me sound sad?



Anonymous said...

Charlie Falconer may be mistaken in his politics but he is charming, gracious and good company; the father of your correspondent missed what could have been an interesting journey.

Iain Dale said...

Peter, try emailing now to see if it works. iain AT iaindale DOT com

Kris said...

I saw Charlie F. the other day. It was pissing with rain. I was walking down Upper Street when he pulled out of the Shell station in his shitty Rover and tennis whites.

Anonymous said...

William Gruff-----There is no ? after my title.
I don't understand your post at all. However, let me advise you----
you should never end a sentence with a preposition.

Anonymous said...

Zendo "... never end a sentence with a preposition"

Warum nicht - especially if it sounds elegant

I have the honour (err ... in Nord-Amerika - "honor") to remain your obedient servant


Anonymous said...

Geoffrey Robinson is a nob.

Anonymous said...

doctor, I'm not sure it's ignorant simply to prefer not to sit next to someone who you felt was involved in stuffing the economy, the constitution and the Falconer was in charge of the financial disaster the Millennium Dome at the time.

As for david boothroyd's assertion that it was rude, I hasten to point out that my father did say "excuse me" before leaving, and by contrast at no point did Falconer apologise for being a pompous twat.

Yours &c.

Anonymous said...

Although it is a great put-down to be remembered for other occasions, I agree that the father may have missed something in not talking to Lord F. I have heard from civil servants whom I respect that he was one of the most courteous and civilised Ministers with a sense of humour and preparedness to put forward his own ideas as well as respond to others'. These points in his favour put him about 300% above the average Labour Minister (writing as a Tory).

The "abolition" of the Lord Chancellorship was a bad idea, very badly executed, but I am not sure that that was entirely his fault.

He also deserves credit, I feel, for refusing to pursue the MP route because Labour selection committees demanded that he send his children to State schools (although it has never been even Labour policy to ban private schooling). He had his priorities right and it is that reason, not being Tony's crony, that resulted in this capable man being appointed to the Cabinet from the Lords rather than probably entering it in the usual way from the Commons.

I agree that his pursuit of a Lord Chancellor level pension is not edifying, but no-one is perfect.

William Gruff said...


I must assume that you are also Doctor since you do not say so. Where did you learn the absurd 'rule' that one should not end a sentence with a preposition? Even that linguistic horror of horrors the currently de rigueur split infinitive is sometimes preferable to a clumsy or inelegant phrase.