In conversations

Written by Emily Sutton on 25 January 2011 in Culture
Over nearly three years Iain Dale has interviewed more than 25 leading political figures for Total Politics magazine.

Now collated in the new book Talking Politics: Political Conservations with Iain Dale, we take a look at some memorable moments


 First minister of Scotland

September 2008

In May 2011 you will be up for re-election. What do you want the Scottish people to think about your four years in government?

I want our record in government to reinforce the popularity and trust in the SNP. By our deeds we shall be known. People do not expect miracles. They don't expect a minority government to have transformed the country in the space of 12 months but most people seem to be happy with what they have seen so far. The trust in government as expressed in the Social Attitude Survey has risen by 20 points - from 50 per cent to 70 per cent.


David Cameron, Interviewed as leader of opposition, now Prime Minister

March 2009

Do you think Nick Clegg is in the wrong party?

I don't really know him or his views well enough. I think it's very exciting what they are saying about education because our policies are very close together. That's a good thing. I'm a liberal Conservative so I think there's always going to be lots of common ground between liberal Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. If you look at what we are saying about decentralising power, the environment, opposing identity cards, the priority given to education, I think there are a lot of people in the Liberal Democrats who would agree with that. Is he in the wrong party? I don't know enough about his views on other things.


Peter Mandelson, Former business secretary

December 2010

Lord Mandelson talks about his relationship with Ed Miliband following the general election.

What's happened since the election is that we've all made up now. I felt hurt, I felt denigrated by some of Ed Miliband's remarks. Talking about me in terms of "dignity in retirement", I felt as if I was being unfairly treated and packed off rather prematurely to an old folk's home. I also thought to definehimself against New Labour, as opposed to being a development of New Labour, was electorally unwise. But again, we've all moved on. What I've got to do now is remain a candid friend but also constructive and always loyal. I was always loyal.


Eric Pickles, Communities and local government secretary

August 2010

[Iain points to a picture of Che Guevara] What is the point of that?

Che Guevara's there to remind me that if we let the system take over before we stop in any way, then the cigar-chomping Commies take over again. The cigar-chomping Commies are not going to take over on my watch.

There are a fair few of them in this department.

Bless their hearts. I don't mind what they do in their private lives. There's a default mechanism that exists and its intention which is big state; this is how we're going to do it. We've had quiet tussles.


Vince Cable, Interviewed as Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman, now business secretary

December 2009

Does Nick Clegg have a problem in that he's seen as a ‘Cameron-lite'?

Well, he's the same generation but I don't think they have much else in common. I suppose they are both nicelooking, youngish leaders, but politically I don't think there's much in common. This was said of Nick when he first became the leader, but he's trodden a separate path. He's now got a very clear sense of identity. He's come well out of the last year and on a whole series of issues he's carved out a distinctive position - on expenses and the Gurkhas, for example. He's now much more publicly identified than other leaders we've had at the same stage.


Talking Politics: Political Conservations with Iain Dale

Iain DaleBiteback, £14.99


This article was first published in Total Politics magazine.

Tags: David Cameron, Ed Miliband, Eric Pickles, Iain Dale, Issue 32, Nick Clegg, Peter Mandelson, SNP. Alex Salmond., Vince Cable

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