Iain Dale likes to portray himself as something a little bit different. He describes himself as a ‘right of centre political commentator’ and admits to being a former Tory candidate. But he’d love to be Nick Robinson or Andrew Marr – a respected pundit capable of teasing out the background to political arguments in an informed and informative way. As a result, he’s been on the bookmark list of many readers of all political persuasions, myself included. In the past, he hasn’t always towed the party line. His critiques of the Tory party’s struggle with it’s identity have been illuminating, and often a jolly good read to boot. I don’t often agree with him – but that’s not the point. I can respect the opinions of someone I disagree with, if they are argued cogently and coherently.
But something has happened to Mr Dale. He appears to have been ‘got at’ by CCHQ. His coverage of Ealing Southall has become slavish. He has defended the indefensible. He has published Shappisms without bothering to check out the facts or the background. He has proved that during a campaign, the first casualty is his credibility.
Here’s a brief recap:
1. As previously blogged about here and just about everywhere else, Grant Shapps gives his explanation of ‘sock puppeting’ as a Lib Dem on You Tube: ‘a nasty Lib Dem guessed that my password was 1234’. The entire online community rolls about on the floor laughing. When we have sufficiently recovered, we find that Iain has swallowed it hook line and sinker:
I can totally see why Mark Pack and others might have thought the worst and can’t blame them for highlighting it. Sometimes the story is not quite as good as one first thinks.
Err, if you says so Iain.
2. Shock horror – Lib Dems publish photo of rival candidate in leaflet. Iain says:
I have to say it’s a bit odd for them to be using a picture of him
Something the Iain and the Tories would never do eh? Then I have to say I find this Iain Dale posting using a Lib Dem image a bit odd to! And really, before you criticise, wouldn’t it be wise to make sure your party hasn’t been doing exactly the same thing?
3. Tory candidate in Ealing Southall, Tony ‘Parachute’ Lit is exposed as having been at Labour Party fundraiser, just days before being selected by the Tories. The table cost £4,800, and he spent another £4,000 in the auction. Do you think now that the pundit in Iain would have to break ranks and make some sort of criticism? No chance, Iain says:
Personally, I cannot imagine why any Conservative would want to attend a Labour Party event, but we should remember it was an Asian business ‘do’, and a media organisation like Sunrise presumably has good reason to be impartial in its political relations.
Impartial? What the hell is impartial about Sunrise coughing up that kind of cash to the Labour Party? And the photo of the beaming Lit with Tony Blair doesn’t look too impartial either!
Iain, I think that it’s high time you were honoured with a Lib Dem bar chart: