Talking of Iain Dale (see previous post), I once produced and edited a magazine for Iain. It was called The Politico and we published a handful of issues before pulling the plug because, sadly, we couldn't generate a profit (ie make any money).
Primarily The Politico featured book reviews (Iain owned a political bookshop called Politicos which was a short walk from the old Forest office in Victoria) but we also included articles, interviews and profiles.
Among those we interviewed were Gyles Brandreth, Tony Benn, David Davis, Mark Oaten, Jeremy Paxman, Adam Boulton (Sky News), Sandy Toksvic and many more.
One day, I will reproduce the Brandreth/Benn interviews on this blog. Before he stands down as MP for Winchester, I may even dig out my interview with Mark Oaten in which I predicted a long and successful career for the Lib Dem politician dubbed "The Terminator" by a friend of mine who was once his political opponent in Watford.
Speaking of predictions, I was reminded when writing about Iain and David Cameron (below) of an article Iain wrote for The Politico in 2003. It was called "Tomorrow's Leaders" and the sub-heading read: "Iain Dale dusts off his crystal ball to consider which of today's politicians will be at the political summit in 2013".
Where shall I begin? Well, how about "the omnipresent David Lammy [who] has it in him to be Britain's first black prime minister". Or "the leather clad Hazel Blears ... Britain's first biker PM?" Hmmm, perhaps not.
Other predictions are equally wide of the mark, but it's a tough job, predicting the future. For example:
"John Bercow's resignation from the Shadow Cabinet has done his career immense harm both in terms of his reputation among his colleagues but also in the country. His oratorical skills and debating abilities are unsurpassed on the Tory benches, yet he's regarded as prone to bouts of temperamental outbursts which he would do well to control ..."
Or he could end up as Speaker of the House.
Most accurate was Iain's prediction that:
"Yvette Cooper's and Ed Balls's chances of success depend in large part on the patronage of Ball's current boss Gordon Brown. If Brown does succeed Blair these two are likely to shoot up the greasy pole with almost indecent speed."
And how about this:
"A Lib Dem MEP called Nick Clegg, who is desperate to get into Westminster, is another Big Brain who might make it."
Uncanny. Or this:
David Cameron is another Tory who Left wing journalists are keen to promote [my italics]. Yes, he's the reasonable face of the Tory party, yet it's difficult to point to what he has actually achieved in a short time in parliament. But he's certainly one to watch."
How true. More comforting is the knowledge that ...
"I have always believed that William Hague would one day re-emerge as Tory leader and if you bear in mind that in 2013 he will only be 52 that is not at all fanciful."
So, it's official. In the words of leading Conservative blogger Iain Dale, William Hague could be PM in 2013!
You read it here, er ... second.