Andy McSmith's Diary: At last! A naked ambition to put Iain Dale to shame


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Indy Politics

All credit to the political commentator Dan Hodges, who says he will carry through his promise to run naked down Whitehall wearing a Nigel Farage mask and singing “Land of Hope and Glory”, which he vouchsafed to do if Ukip scored more than 6 per cent in the general election. On legal advice, he will not be entirely naked, you may be relieved to know.

But shame on the publisher and former Tory blogger Iain Dale, who started this trend by promising to run naked down Whitehall if the Liberal Democrats did not perform better than predicted in the exit poll at the 2010 election. They did worse, but after five years, Dale has not kept his word. It is a broken Tory promise.

‘No power’ in Scottish note

David Mundell, who is still the only Conservative MP in Scotland, is now Secretary of State for Scotland. Previously, the Cabinet job was held by a Liberal Democrat, Alistair Carmichael, with Mundell as his deputy.

He has been told by a civil servant that being upgraded involved moving into Carmichael’s former office. “I think you will find your predecessor has left you a note,” the mandarin said. And he added: “I think I know what it says – ‘Dear Secretary of State, I’m afraid there’s no power. Good luck!’”

Yet another example of how Liam Byrne’s note left at the Treasury after the election in 2010 will never be lived down, even though he thought he wrote a private message.

Can it really be all over at 53?

“I know people who lost seats in 2010 who haven’t had a day’s paid work in the five years since.”

Sir Nick Harvey, the former Liberal Democrat minister for the armed forces, reflects ruefully to the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire on his chances of finding work, after losing his North Devon seat at the age of 53.

Initial impressions…

Some facts that no one needs to know: in the current Parliament there are nine MPs whose surnames begins with O, three who begin with Q, one beginning with U,  six beginning with V, and two beginning with Z, but none beginning with X or Y. I said you did not need to know.

Only a personal vote matters

ITV news has unearthed a curious fact about Johnny Mercer, the former army officer who took Plymouth Moor View off Labour by 1,026 votes. He has never voted in any election before this one, when he voted for himself. “I’m not proud of it – I should have voted, but I didn’t,” he said.

Two too many Xs equals zero

Paul Dennis, the candidate of the left-wing Trade Union and Socialist Coalition in Rainham North ward in the Medway district council election, is demanding a recount.

According to the published result, he received no votes. He says that cannot be right, because he and his wife both voted for him. I note, though, that two ballot papers were rejected because two silly punters put their crosses by too many names and therefore spoiled their ballot papers.

Results not on Silver platter

Nate Silver, the statistician known for predicting the results of US elections correctly, was one of the many experts fooled by British voters last week. To give him credit, though, the forecast he made 10 days before polling day was more accurate than some. He got the number of seats won by the DUP and Ukip spot on, and correctly surmised that the Conservatives would finish in first place.

The seats he forecast the main parties would hold were Conservatives 283 (out by 48), Labour 270 (out by 38), and Liberal Democrats 24 – three times what they actually scored.