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Iain Dale

Iain Dale: If I were a TB-riddled badger, I'd rather be shot in a cull

Iain Dale presents LBC 97.3 Drivetime programme 4-8pm every weekday. He also blogs at www.iaindale.comFollow Iain on Twitter.

Iain Dale GraphicThere we were, in the Any Questions Green Room, the panel of four, all cacking ourselves before being called on stage. So we did what anyone would do. We discussed what questions might come up. And to my horror, no matter what the potential subject, we all more or less agreed on the answer. ‘This might be a rather boring programme,’ I thought to myself. So as the programme progressed, I found myself picking a fight with Mark Miodownik, a scientist. I nitpicked and gnawed. The lovely professor Alison Wolf was far too nice to attack, and the NFU President Peter Kendall was so bloody reasonable, I am afraid Mark had to be my target. As it turned out, there was a little more disagreement than I feared. On Syria, I was the only one to oppose military action.  It felt a bit odd to be the most left wing panel member. Unaccustomed as I am… But I soon restored my hardline credentials on the badger cull. I got a text afterwards from Owen Paterson in which he expressed his amusement that I had attacked him for pussy footing around! All I will say is that if I were a badger with TB, about to die a long, painful death, with my internal organs failing, I’d happily be shot in a cull.


Seen this week on Facebook: “So, I've just sent an Email to an MP with the title being 'Panel Discussion', only, in my haste, I missed the ‘P’ off, and my iPad saw fit to change it to something else. Needless to say a correction/apology Email was sent afterwards.”

We’ve all been there. I remember when I was organising a course titled “Public Relations in the Ports Industry”. Only I missed out the L in ‘Public’. I think some of the delegates attended under a slight misapprehension.


My LBC colleague James O’Brien has introduced me to the concept of ‘Newsknitting’, where you knit two stories together. For example, why can’t poor people eat badgers? Should we hold an emergency summit on Kevin Rudd? Basher Al-Assad not convinced by the case for HS2. The list could go on…


Talking of Syria, I can’t say I find it comfortable opposing military action. I’ve never found it necessary before, and I remember all the terrible things I said about people who opposed action in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in the end you have to go with your instincts and argue for what you believe. I won’t rehearse the arguments here – it’s a diary column, after all – but if you want to read my blogpost click HERE. Opposing military action on Syria for a Conservative, will, I suspect, not be as lonely a position as it was for John Baron or Richard Bacon to oppose the Iraq war. Of the nine or ten Tory MPs I have spoken to about Syria, only one was unreservedly in favour of military action. Most of the rest couldn’t see what the endgame was. And nor can I. As we approach the anniversary of the First World War, we should perhaps pay more attention to the law of unintended consequences.


So a Government source tells The Times that David Cameron thinks Ed Miliband is a “f***ing c***” and a “copper bottomed shit”. I’m not particularly squeamish, but doesn’t that strike you as going too far? The full quote is: ““No 10 and the Foreign Office think Miliband is a f****** c*** and a copper-bottomed s***. The French hate him now and he’s got no chance of building an alliance with the US Democratic Party.” What does this ‘government source’ think will be achieved by telling this to a journalist? All it does is drag the reputation of politics through the mud. If David Cameron finds out the identity of this individual he should do us all a favour and publicly denounce them, then sack them for gross misconduct.


Listening to Nick Clegg on his weekly LBC phone in talking about Syria you could be forgiven for thinking it was his colourful predecessor Jeremy Thorpe in the hotseat talking about Rhodesia. Back in 1967 he acquired the nickname of ‘Bomber Thorpe’ for suggesting that the Wilson government should bomb Rhodesia after it declared UDI. Clegg seems to be a complete hawk on Syria, something which won’t go down well with the beard and sandals brigade. He even said he would be in favour of bombing if UN approval isn’t obtained. ‘Bomber’ Clegg. Has a certain ring to it, don’t you think?


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