Thursday, November 26, 2009

An Evening With The Man in a White Suit

Every time I go to a West Ham match I pop in to the Newham Bookshop, which is a few yards away from the ground. It's a wonderfully chaotic bookshop but is fantastically successful and plays a real role in the local community. Tonight they hosted an event at Wanstead Library with Martin Bell and I played the role of interviewer. I left Tunbridge Wells at 4.45 but due to horrendous traffic problems on the M25, A2 and A20 I arrived a little late but no one seemed to mind. The audience was very lively and engaged in the issue we were there to talk about - restoring the reputation of parliament.

As you can imagine, I don't agree with everything Martin Bell says on the issue - I think he can sometimes be overly simplistic and is too eager to tar everyone with the same brush. But he has some valid arguments which very much resonated with the audience. It was a very good humoured event and the audience seemed just as interested in my views as they were in Martin's. They especially liked it when I read out a tweet from Christine Hamilton who expressed the hope that my traffic problems would continue but that if I did eventually arrive, would I please kick Mr Bell in his non existent balls! Even Martin had to laugh at that.

I found it very encouraging that around 150 people were willing to turn out on a damp, dark night to listen to a debate about the future of politics. Few of them were political activists but all were deeply concerned by what is happening to our politics.


DespairingLiberal said...

So now Martin is "simplistic".

I wonder if anyone anywhere matches up to your lofty brilliance Herr Dale?

As in the Sylvia Heal "story" for example where you are apparently totally ignorant when it comes to understanding the most basic things about the House.

I am planning to write to the editors of the next programme you appear on demanding to know why the heck they give so much airtime to such a clueless yet rude person.

Iain Dale said...

I've had enough of you now. Go and take your bile elsewhere. You're not welcome here any longer.

When you rediscover some manners, let me know.

I won't hold my breath.

Random said...

Din anybody challenge him about the story in Alistair Campbell's diaries that his candidacy in Tatton was basically a New Labour stunt to deprive the Tories of a safe seat, and if so what was his reply?

Tapestry said...

Nice one Random. Bell is of the age of spin and the dominance of the media, not the cure for it.

It wasn't simply to grab Tatton as I recall, but to tar the Tories with the sleaze brush generally and accuse the party of bringing politics into disrepute.

Of course the Blairs and their ilk have exceeded anything the Tories were guilty of by a factor of 1000. But I hear no equivalent outcry from him.

Has he got any balls? Or is he merely Alastair Campbell's useful idiot?

Unsworth said...


I'm pleased that you've taken such action. Robust debate is fine, occasional jibes are fine, but constant vituperation, monomania and personal insult is just a little wearing.

Good riddance, in my view.

However, 'no one seemed to mind'? Or care, possibly?

In any event, seasoned users of the A2 know that after 2.30PM it always gets worse - until about 8.00PM. The M25 as we all know is unspeakable except at 3.00AM on Sunday, and the A20 is pot luck.

I think you're right, Martin Bell is pretty tunnel vision - but entertaining.