Election diary: The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between

PUBLISHED: 15:00 13 May 2017

Iain Dale: Election Diary

Iain Dale: Election Diary

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Brexit blaming and sofa talk: Our (Brexiteer) diarist Iain Dale records a new election week

I’m really not sure about this so-called ‘Progressive Alliance’. I mean, what’s progressive about subverting democracy? If a political party is serious about power it should stand in every seat. To pick and choose the seats you put up candidates in, based upon your dislike for another party is, well, just a bit pathetic.

I was full of praise for the Green Party in 2015 as it made a real effort to stand in every constituency in the country. They even had a crowdfunding initiative to enable them to pay the deposits. This time, they’re oh so keen on trying to be too damned clever by half. They’ve persuaded the lily-livered Lib Dems to stand down in Brighton Pavilion to give Caroline Lucas a better chance of retaining her seat, not that she’s in any danger anyway with a near 8,000 majority. I’m sure the Lib Dems’ 1,525 votes will be crucial. Not.

It’s the political equivalent of virtue signalling. Green voters in Richmond Park will be denied the chance to vote Green, all in the name of ensuring that the Greenest Tory MP in the Commons Zac Goldsmith is ousted. He may be Green, but he’s a Tory, you see. And, by definition, all Tories are evil. Glad to have cleared that one up. This rather squalid campaign has little to do with ‘progressiveness’, whatever that it is. In reality it’s the ‘Anyone But a Tory’ campaign.

***

I see the Telegraph is recruiting a ‘Brexit Editor’. No, I won’t be applying – a dreadful place to work at the moment, I gather. It’s a bit of an odd job title, though. I assume it’s a fixed term contract…

***

I think an intern must have got hold of Nick Clegg’s Twitter password this week. On Tuesday he was tweeting that petrol had gone up to £1.22 a litre and it was all due to Brexit. Oh dear. When he was Deputy Prime Minister, petrol rose to more than £1.40 a litre. This constant desire among people who ought to know better to blame everything on Brexit is getting tiresome. Yes there are some negative economic consequences to Brexit, but there are many positive ones too. Yet to listen to some arch-remainers we’re all going to hell in a handcart, while to Brexit ideologues the land will be flowing with milk and honey. The truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.

***

I tuned into The One Show on BBC1 for the first time ever on Tuesday. The Prime Minister and her husband were guests on the famous sofa, and were subjected to half an hour of the most insipid questioning I have ever seen on TV from Matt Baker and Alex Jones. Baker is the sort of man who probably kisses every mirror he passes, while Jones just oozes ‘please like me, please like me’. Philip May came across as a rather nice man, who suffers from the drawback of being a Hank Marvin lookey-likey. The Prime Minister sailed through the interview without giving anything away and managing to restrict herself to using the words strong and stable in the same sentence only once.

The Alt-Left like to think that the BBC is biased to the right, and this spectacle (I can’t bring myself to call it an interview) won’t have done anything to dissuade them from that view. Sadly, Mrs Corbyn isn’t being allowed by Jeremy to join him on The One Show sofa when it’s his turn, but all eyes will be on Matt and Alex to see if they can top this week’s saccharine levels. It’s surely not possible without them immediately turning into diabetics.

***

Last Friday night I was invited to be part of Newsnight’s Election panel, along with the delightful Polly Mackenzie from the Lib Dems and the ultra-Corbynista Paul Mason. I was determined not to let him wind me up, but he was out of the traps in barking madness right from the off, accusing Amber Rudd, Theresa May and the whole Tory Party of being racist – and this in answer to a question about how Jeremy Corbyn can get his campaign back on track. Whenever I do TV interviews, afterwards I usually phone my partner to check it was OK and my flies weren’t undone. “How did I do,” I asked. “Well your body language and face told the audience exactly what you thought of Paul Mason,” he replied. “In which bit?” I asked. “All of it,” came the reply. And there was me thinking I could act.

***

Michael Gove. There. I’ve written the name of a politician designed to bring any reader of this newspaper out into a rash. I did a 30 minute Election Call Phone-in with The Gover this week. I ended up by asking him for a Yes or No answer to this question: Would you accept a post in Theresa May’s new cabinet. “Yes,” he said without deviation, hesitation or repetition. When I asked him the same question three weeks ago he just giggled like a girl. Isn’t it funny how an election campaign concentrates the mind?

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