Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Snippets

* I spent much of Friday night writing an article for the Mail on Sunday. All was well until yesterday afternoon. They liked it. And then the story broke about Gordon Brown's eyes. Article spiked. Hey ho.

* The reaction to the Gordon Brown story did not show the blogosphere in a very good light. Whatever one's view of Brown as a politician, no one can deny that he has shown courage in dealing with his disability. Several commentators interpreted the announcement of tears in his retina as start of a softening up process, which will end in his departure on health grounds. I'm not so sure.

* The death of Stephen Gateley of Boyzone in Majorca was a shock. To die at the age of 33 is a tragedy by any measure. Despite being a hugely successful singer, he had led a troubled life. The circumstances of his death remain unclear. As you might imagine with my musical tastes, I have many of his records. I think I'll listen to a couple today.

* Because of my schedule over the last three weeks I am about four episodes behind with X Factor. But I did catch the moment last night when Danni Minogue aluded to Danyle's bi-sexuality. It was a bottom clenching moment. Hmm. Perhaps that wasn't the best expression to use, but you know what I mean. For a woman who has suffered rumours about her own sexuality over the years, it was an odd thing to say at the very least.

* The older I get the less sleep I seem to need. I can survive on five hours a night usualy, but the last few days have really caught up with me. Over the conference I was getting 3 or 4 hours, and found myself on the last day chairing a breakfast fringe and my eyes nodding. Driving home from the BBC at 1am on Friday I came as near as I have ever come to really falling asleep at the wheel. As a consequence I cancelled doing the paper review with Yasmin A-B last night for fear that on the way home something awful could happen. Instead, Shane Greer did it, and by all accounts had a very heated debate with her. I didn't see it. I was asleep!

* Today, the Eastern Daily Press has revealed the names of the final six participants in the selection contest for South West Norfolk. I cannot understand why the local Conservative Association is so desperate to keep the names secret. Surely they should be proclaiming from the rooftops that they have six excellent people on the shortlist and allow the local population to examine who they are. We live in an age of transparency. Local Tory parties need to recognise that. FYI info the six are Claire Emmett, James Tumbridge, Clare Whelan, Therese Coffey, David Rutley and Elizabeth Truss.

* Yesterday morning I and eight friends stood in Charles Square inBracknell, stirring up apathy (copyright Willie Whitelaw) among the local shoppers. In two and a half hours we met hundreds of people. I was surprised at how many were already aware of the Open Primary and the number who were already registered to attend it. Quite a few others who we talked to promised that they would now attend too. Job done. I was struck at the number of people who mentioned immigration as their main concern - not in a racist way, but out of concern that our borders are porous and our infrastructure cannot cope. I was also impressed by the number of people who mentioned how sad they were that Andrew Mackay is standing down and what a good constituency MP he has been over the years. He will be a hard act to follow, whichever one of the seven of us is selected.


Houdini said...

no one can deny that he has shown courage in dealing with his disability.

Rubbish. What is he expected to do otherwise? Once again, you do Draper and the likes jobs for them.

Look to our maimed soldiers, muilti-amputees, sent to their fate by Brown with substandard equipment and support if you want to quote courage dealing with a disability. Or the child with a leg missing denied disability support because of Browns cut in the system. Or the maimed to come because Brown has cut TA training to save money.

Don't give us any crap about Browns courage though, it is a disgraceful concept, especially from a prospective Tory MP. Be nice, but realistic and not stupid or sycophantic.

Chris Paul said...

* Mail ... mmmm

* Agree with this. On eyes. Some pretty nasty stuff. And also triumphalism I thought on 1 poll. I think Gordon was being toughened up rather than opposite in this proactive news management.

* Gateley? Tragedy.

* Dannii/Danyl - syllable rivalry? There seems to be a lot of seething anger in room. And not much talent. Louis has had a go in papers.

* Falling asleep at wheel, almost - not a good feeling is it. To be avoided at all costs.

* EDP story ... mmmmm

* Bracknell ... mmmmm


Anonymous said...

As ever you are far too kind about your opponents.

Did not see it but I am glad Greer gave Y A-B a going over - she deserves it - as does Baroness Wotsit

Chris Paul said...

Is this Houdini for real? Lots of horrid nasty in that party of yours Iain. And you do well to stay clear of that. Faint praise and back-handed compliments are far enough. Some of the blogging and tweeting last afternoon/evening was toxic I thought.

Spartacus Mills said...

RIP Steven Gately.

I was disgusted to see Kevin MuckGuire on BBC Breakfast reviewing the papers and making the outlandish comment that the Boyzone band members were flying out to where Steven died simply to get their pics in the papers.

A disgraceful suggestion.

Anonymous said...

"I was struck at the number of people who mentioned immigration as their main concern - not in a racist way, but out of concern that our borders are porous and our infrastructure cannot cope."

Infrastructure is one thing, but what about jobs for 5 million British people who should/could be working.

Paddy Briggs said...


Boyzone and the X Factor? Oh my God!!! but at least you are honest about it! - I wonder if Dave (First Class Honours) shares your taste! Did you catch "When Boris met Dave" - hilarious! Cameron came out of it rather well I thought - bit of a Nerd though.

Westerly21 said...

You have made an interesting observation about the genuine concerns the people you met in Bracknell have on immigration.
To be a concerned citizen is not to be a racist or a member of the BNP.
All politicians need to face up to acknowledging that fact and bring the subject out of the closet once and for all.

Dick the Prick said...

Danni Minogue's still beautiful but perhaps too fond of astringent. When i've been to public stuff or when people talk to me, immigration is always up there and you're absolutely right - not even slightly racist. I was chatting with an ex miner who won't be voting Tory but couldn't get his head round the cack handed way mass immigration has been managed and I couldn't help. Hmm.

Anonymous said...

well said houdini 10.28.michael.

JPT said...

Gately went out for a drink went home went to sleep and never woke up apparantly.

JuliaM said...

Chris Paul: "Is this Houdini for real?"

That's what lots of people ask themselves about you...

Houdini said...

The usual wander out to make a stand for Labour.

Noticeable they attack the comment without supporting the premise over our troops. Pity that people who like to portray themselves as having an IQ into double figures don't even see what was said but just take the opportunity to make a bipartisan comment.

dazmando said...

Been on a few walkabout in bracknell myself. Too me it does seem odd but immigration is perhaps the biggest topic in bracknell. There r some aficans and a few poles and some western europeans but not that many. I have an afican family above me in my flats and while english is not there first language I can tell u there great neibours compared too others I have had. They even sweep the stairs and clean the areas around brilliant.
I'm surprised its not benefit culture as bracknell is seen by the surounding area as having a high benefit culture and a high ammount of single mu

Glad you left the trip I also don't get enough sleep and also feel asleep while driving woke up very fast when I hit a curb. Very scary

Elliot Kane said...

Whatever one thinks of Brown, either personally or politically, it is surely right to have sympathy for anyone in poor health. I can think of few things worse than having one's sight threatened, so I wish him well and hope he can recover fully.

Laurie said...


it's always very sad when a person dies at a young age - but isn't it Dianafying things to describe it as a tragedy? Ostensibly healthy people die every day.

I'd call the story of the young lady sentenced to 28 months' prison the other day a tragedy. Othello's a tragedy. Jimi Hendrix wasn't.

The reaction to the PM's latest news was spiteful, cruel and juvenile. You would be less surprised if a similar, if not worse, response followed any bad news regarding a former PM.

Middle-class people are becoming a little tired of being told to do the right thing (or you're just as bad as they are). Why can't we throw a tantrum? Most of us aren't practising Christians any more (small wonder, given the stance of the Church on just about everything), so why turn the other cheek?

If Miss Minogue has any questions about female bisexuality, there will be a rather long queue of people (primarily gentlemen) offering to assist her to adopt a more modern approach.

True Belle said...


You have had an exhausting week. Sadness can also be very draining.

Re 'To die at the age of 33 is a tragedy by any measure'- well the Almighty had been very kind to Gately in a modern material fashion.

ALL death is a tragedy, a 23 yr old soldier was killed in the past 24hrs in Afghanistan going about his duties.

People die lonely and alone in their beds whether in hospital or where ever. We are all mortal!

Who knows what next week will bring , but you are needed back on top form, here and everywhere else. Your tiredness is showing through. x

Anonymous said...

'The death of Stephen Gateley of Boyzone in Majorca was a shock. To die at the age of 33 is a tragedy by any measure.'

No, it's not a tragedy, Iain. It's a terrible shame that a life is cut short at such a premature age but it's not a tragedy.

A tragedy when a brave man or woman signs up to put their lives on the line for the country with the expectation that their politicians only ask them to fight an honest fight.

A tragedy is when one or more are killed on the basis of a lie from the political elite.

And it's nearly as big a tragedy that the man who sent these brave people to their deaths is not brought to account in front of an international legal court.

You, along with the whole media class, have just lost the plot of what's important and what's not.

Gordon Brown said...


"The older I get the less sleep I seem to need. I can survive on five hours a night usually"

You may be an expert on politics, but D minus for this comment Mr Dale!

You are probably catching up on all your sleep either during the day or at the weekend or whenever. The human body needs about 7 to 8 hours sleep a night to repair damaged cells, rest etc. Lack of sleep has been shown in studies to be linked to obesity - so its not going to help your diet either. Also, with your diabetes, it's important that you get regular rest and do not wear yourself out. As for falling asleep at the wheel, you don't want another dent on your Audi, do you? Especially if........

Go to bed earlier, switch off the laptop and get some sleep. I know you are very busy at the moment but you will campaign better if you have had a good night's sleep. And your health will improve. Now, am I right or am I right?

roman said...

My partner went blind in one eye three years ago, and has severe problems with the other one. He is also a patient at Moorfields.

His comment on hearing about Brown's latest problems yesterday?

"I wouldn't wish what I've gone through on anyone - but in Brown's case, I'm prepared to make an exception."

And by the way, my partner isn't a Conservative.

The King of Wrong said...

JPT: "went to sleep and never woke up"

It happens - happened to my uncle, in fact. No doubt there'll be an autopsy and it'll explain that he died of something that he'd had for years but nobody had noticed.

It's tragic, but people do just drop dead from time to time. Make the most of what you've got.

Anonymous said...

Whatever one's view of Brown as a politician, no one can deny that he has shown courage in dealing with his disability.

What does this actually mean? It's a warm but meaningless sentence completely devoid of any objective point of reference.

Brown is half-blind. This is a fact and he has to deal with it, whether he is a superhero or a poltroon. For my money, I have seen no particular courage from Brown on this topic and, in fact, on the general issue of his health (mental and physical), I have seen a great deal of moral cowardice, dishonesty and obfuscation.

john miller said...

I have been saying since Mandy came back over at Coffee House and for months on here that Brown will retire due to his failing eyesight.

I will apologise to him unreservedly if, after his resignation, he does not land a top job in finance/economics at a scintillating salary, despite being an utter failure as Chancellor and PM.

Anonymous said...

roman - no he is just a deeply unpleasent person.

Houdini said...

All this faux outrage from the people and party, and others, who wished and hoped, openly for Maggie Thacthers death and suffering...

Par for the course for the nasty Labour party and their nasty supporters.

Laurie said...

@ john miller

Good point about GB's future.

Doesn't anyone else feel a flutter in his heart when you think what Sir Fred's been through, and that the political class seems to egg things on?

Why are the politicians allowed to fail, then draw their full pension? So they want to impose terms on people who do something productive (merchant banking _is_ productive) to ensure that they don't take decisions which will benefit themselves in the short term to the detriment of anyone else later on?

Am I the only person out there to see this hypocrisy?

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Brown leaves "due to health issues" - eyesight is mentioned, but the reasons are sufficiently fuzzy and nobody dares delve.

No opposition member will dare criticise him - the excuse is bullet proof. New broom is elected, and Labour voters decide to "give him a chance". Temporary blip in the polls due the the extra exposure a leadership contest gives. Bingo! New Leader calls a snap election and Labour squeezes under the wire with a fag paper thin majority.

Well, that's the plan anyway.

Brown makes a miraculous recovery, just like Ernest Saunders, who made a miraculous recovery from Alzheimer's after the Guinness affair. Brown lands big job with eyesight intact.

Alastair Campbell is coming back into the bunker. His mission? Find a clever way to get Brown an exit strategy and save the Project.

Brown has already been told he must go.

It will be no later than January.

bobthedog said...

Courage is something that Brown writes books about but knows nothing about.

If you want to see an example of courage you needed to watch the programme a couple of weeks ago on BBC 1 about our wounded servicemen being rehabilitated in Selly Oak and at Headley Court.

Headley Court is a marvellous establishment partly funded by Charitable donations, shouldnt that be the responsibility of government led by our "Brave and Courageous Leader"?

We are brushing over the fact that 2 weeks ago Brown was on TV explaining that his eyesight was ok and hadnt deteriorated in years, yet yesterday suddenly we are seeing announcements about his retinal tears. That makes him
dishonest in my book, as he knew of the deterioration when he was interviewed in the "shocking" Marr interview.

Anonymous said...

Here are two other snippets that are in the papers.

1) Lord Paul accused of 38,000 false claim of expenses. Another Labour Lord accused of fiddles and this one is worth 500m.

2) Report into the Damian Green arrest, so bad Normington wants sections redacted. Why and what, another Labour cover up.


Irene said...

Are you suggesting No10 announced it because of transparency?
I don't think so.

Bitter & Twisted! said...

"The reaction to the Gordon Brown story did not show the blogosphere in a very good light. Whatever one's view of Brown as a politician, no one can deny that he has shown courage in dealing with his disability."

Sorry to have to say this Iain, but this just shows that you have been having it too easy during the last 12 years of Labour missrule. In that time, I have been on short contracts and temp jobs, and now, I am without work. If I had the chance, I would poke Brown in his remaining eye!

Anonymous said...

"He will be a hard act to follow, whichever one of the seven of us is elected."

A note of complacency creeping in ?

Iain Dale said...

I actually meant to say 'selected' - ie on Saturday. have corrected.

Francis said...

I'd just like to say its not "racist" to object to immigration from a principled/moral/ideological etc point of view rather than in terms of implications on infrastructure and so on.

It is self evidently immoral and uncivilised to settle millions of alien people in our country. It is something we would view as uttely abhorrent if perpetrated on some other people (such as the Tibetans). The actions of the socialists betray both their ignorance of our country and nation and their deep seated hatred of us.

My guess is that the socialists are motivated by a mixture of spite, stupidity and ideological fervour: if they cant absorb nations states into their vision of international socialism then can alter individual states so that they represent a microcosm of thew world.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Iain if we are really concerned about climate change and sustainability, The subject on the top of the agenda should the growing size of the worlds population, and also this links to just how many people can we sustain on this small islsnd of ours. It has nothing to do with race just the numbers but is never disscussed.

Houdini said...

I must admit to wondering come the press got details of Browns completely private medical details?

It couldn't be because he allowed them to have it could it? Very brave move.

Chris Paul said...

Oh Houdini. Obviously troops show courage. That is their job. The idea that troops oin theatre under Tories were perfectly equipped is pretty silly actually. And the medcare and pensions and so on are far better than in 1997, even if there's headroom for greater improvements.

But this doesn't mean that Brown hasn't had a fight to overcome some considerable physical adversity and to best his rivals within and outside his party. And it certainly doesn't mean that Iain is wrong to beg some restraint on ad hominem attacks that go beyond banter. Or that some of the vicious Tories were right yesterday to play the man not the ball.

Banter on IQs -> Pathetic, nul poins.

JuliaM - LOL

Paddy Briggs said...


your post revealing your partner's comments is just about the nastiest I have read on Iain's Diary. You should be ashamed . Disgusting.

Chris Paul said...

Bobthedog - the small retinal tears were it seems identified on friday. You are quite wrong to suggest PM knew about them ahead of Marr. And also that there is a deterioration, where there is not.

Anonymous said...

It may not be racist to oppose uncontrolled immigration but it cannot surely be the policy of anyone who claims to support free market economics, the socialist policy here to close the borders in the name of protectionism. Open up to all its the only way to go

Anonymous said...


Best of luck on Saturday and if you are selected best of luck next May.

I hope if you are selected, The Tories will appoint you to do something with new media, I think the fact that you have been blogging for years qualifies you to do a job in that area.

Hmmm, I can see it now BBC BREAKING NEWS- Iain Dale has been appointed Seceretary for Culture and Media.

Iain Dale said...

LOL, I suspect it will be a cold day in hell before that appointment is made!

Pete said...

Old but apposite:

Gordon Brown visits a primary school and sits in on one of the classes, which is in the middle of a discussion of words and their meaning.
The teacher asks Gordon Brown if he would like to lead the discussion of the word "tragedy".
So, the illustrious leader asks the class for an example of a "tragedy."
One little boy stands up and offers: "If my best friend, who lives on a farm, is playing in the field and a runaway tractor comes along and knocks him dead, that would be a tragedy.
"That's wrong," Gordon Brown says. "That would be considered an accident."

Then a little girl raises her hand: "If a school bus carrying 50 children drove over a cliff, killing everyone inside, that would be a tragedy."

"You are completely incorrect" says the PM. "That would be what we
would consider a great loss".

The room goes silent. No other children volunteer. Gordon Brown searches the room. "Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"

Finally at the back of the room a small boy raises his hand. In a quiet voice he says: "If a plane carrying you was struck by a missile and blown to smithereens, that would be a tragedy".

"Fantastic !" exclaims Gordon. "You are absolutely right. Can you tell me why that would be a tragedy?"

"Well," says the boy, "because it sure as heck wouldn't be a great loss and it probably wouldn't be a f*cking accident!"

Culture Starved said...

"Hmmm, I can see it now BBC BREAKING NEWS- Iain Dale has been appointed Seceretary for Culture and Media."

Come to think of it, just the type to champion the artistry of Mika and Anton du Beke and Granham Norton and Ronan Keating.

The Ghost of Mr Gately said...

What do you mean by saying that Stephen Gately had 'had led a troubled life'?

I thought he had a rather wonderful life: good looking, sweet voiced, deeply loved and personally and professionally successful.

bobthedog said...

Chris Paul, on his own admission on Sky News they were identified earlier in the summer. The guy is a mendacious liar, its apologists like yourself that are supporting him, I certainly am not, I would rather support our servicemen than ever the leadership of a party that has committed our troops to an illegal war in Iraq and singularly failed to equip our troops adequately for the task in Afghanistan.

Brown has a choice - if his health is failing he can get out now.

Unknown said...

Houdidi very well said. Blunkett was a prat (blind or not) and Brown is as well.

Star Struck said...

Oh please Ian.

The singer's death is sad but it is not a tragedy.

Gordon going blind is sad but it does not make him courageous.

Danni got p@ssed in a lap dance club but it does not make her bisexual.

You got tired driving home from going on the Telly but it does not make you any different to the rest of us.

You are fast becoming a media whore and thinking people in the media are more important than those who are not.

Houdini said...

Oh Houdini. Obviously troops show courage. That is their job.

No it isn't. Their job is to DEFEND the UK against threats. That needn't mean they need to put themselves at increased risk, and certainly doesn't mean they are under an obligation to BE risked by politicians looking at the next vote winning headline.

The idea that troops oin theatre under Tories were perfectly equipped is pretty silly actually.

No it isn't, and I know this for fact as I was one of them, Were you?

And the medcare and pensions and so on are far better than in 1997,

And you know this because all the specialist BMH's have closed down do you? There was no need to open special units here and there, just lately, because we had military hospitals before this Government closed the last of them.

even if there's headroom for greater improvements.

Great improvements? The premise being there have already been improvements? You sonny live in cloud cuckoo land where your mate Ainsworth does too, warriors on the ideological battlefield only.

The question was about Browns courage BTW. He has none.

Houdini said...

Bobthedog - the small retinal tears were it seems identified on friday. You are quite wrong to suggest PM knew about them ahead of Marr. And also that there is a deterioration, where there is not.

Then why did Brown reveal the medical condition? There is no problem apparently and no need to worry, so why release the news except to gain a headline and have mongs come to his defence like a cute kitten?

He made the news of his medical condition an issue and deserves every bit of stick he gets as a result.

Spdier said...

..."no one can deny that he has shown courage in dealing with his disability..."
eh? I'm sorry I couldn't disagree more. Has he struggled to maintain his chosen career? has his employer turned down reasonable requests to ensure he can continue to make a living? Has he had private detectives follow him to ensure he really is disabled?

Try fighting for your country and see how Browns government treats you when you're injured.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Gordon Brown over just about anything. Frankly if he told me the time I would check but gloating over a man's incipient blindness is not a thing a gentleman should do and I therefore refrain from doing so. Mr Brown's record on providing for our Servicemen and Women needs little comment from me. Suffice it to say that I consider his actions are reprehensible in this area.
I regret that my I/d is anonymous but trust my comments may be seen as valid anyway.

Anonymous said...


Can we take it then that your issue with the Mail over Peter McKay's column has been sorted out? It would seem strange for someone who has been so maligned by the newspaper to continue to take their shilling by writing for them.

Iain Dale said...

Sigh. The Mail on Sunday is a totally separate newspaper to the Daily Mail. But then you knew that.

Quietzapple said...

More sleep, better quality survival.

Cath said...

Iain - are the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday totally separate? They certainly share a website. Personally I don't see any hypocrisy in your writing for them (and frankly, the more sane correspondents they have the better!) but I don't think most people, outside the media world, would see them as totally separate publications.