Friday, August 22, 2008

Total Politics: Boris, Alex Salmond and Dowdy Female MPs


The September issue of Total Politics is now available online. We're delighted that in addition to WH Smith Travel outlets at stations and airports stocking it, WH Smith High Street shops will now also be stocking the magazine. You can read it on the E-Zine, or you'll find each article on THIS page. Here are some of the highlights.

Extended interview with Alex Salmond
Interview with Boris Johnson
Interview with Peter Robinson
Survey: Councillors back All Out Elections
Interview with the Prime Minister of Gibraltar
Pete Wishart MP: My Political Hinterland
Political Diets: The curse of the canape
If I Were PM: Ian Rankin
Why are female MPs do dowdy?
Debate: Is the Green Belt Sacred?

We've had a design makeover for this issue and hope you like the result.

We've also had some great press coverage for four of the features. Scotland is in uproar at Alex Salmond's comment to me that Margaret Thatcher wasn't so bad really, Boris has caused controversy with a hint that he would like to succeed David Cameron, Dr Oliver Hartwich from Policy Exchange has done it again and suggested the green belt should be scrapped and the Peter Robinson interview has made headlines in Northern Ireland. To say we are over the moon at the press coverage this issue has generated is an understatement.

The next issue will be available at all the party conferences. We're also taking advertising for fringe events. If you're organising a fringe at any of the conferences and want to publicise it, do let us know. We go to press on 1 September.


You can subscribe to the magazine HERE for £35 (a 27% discount off the cover price).

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

and the Scots booed God Save the Queen at Hampden on wednesday night -- Just Shocking !!!

Daniel said...

Dowdy Female MP's?

What's this then the 1970s? How many non-dowdy male MPs are there? In fact, what is non-dowdy defined as - Michael Fabricant's hair perhaps?

Sorry, but that's a really pathetic question, Iain. I know this is "silly season", but still...

Newmania said...

Well that does look tempting ,I must say

africanmum said...

agree with daniel. :-)

norman said...

"Scotland is in uproar at Alex Salmond's comment to me that Margaret Thatcher wasn't so bad really"

Iain,
I lived and worked in Scotland for a decade as a university academic. A few of my colleagues were SNP members, I knew them well and I had no problem in debating with them about Thatcher. Then there was the miner strike and Thatcher was very unpopular in Scotand. The SNPs and me had heated discussion and they knew that I voted Tory and I had private medical insurance which as socialists they hated to put it mildly. When my son's life was saved through private medical insurance, they accepted that NHS can be bad. We parted as friends and I still keep in touch with them My problem was with the large mob which supported SNP. One should read the Scotsman blog to know what these foot soldiers are thinking. They spew out ignorance.

Tom said...

Agreed - it's just incredible that you've commissioned an article on "dowdy female MPs" and put that line on the cover. Seriously, what planet are you on?

Iain Dale said...

Tom, just for the recod we didn't commission an article on Dowdy female MPs. We commissioned an article by a fashion journalist on what female politicians wear. If you bothered to read the article you'd see that it is she who attacks their dress sense.

Cover lines are meant to draw people into the magazine and read the article. I am sure you could come up with different cover lines, but that's the one the editor wrote - and she's a woman.

Auntie Flo' said...

'Dowdy female MPs' article - can't believe you passed that.

Who gives a toss what any of them, male or female, look like? The only issues in respect of any MP ought to be those of how well - or badly - they do their job, their snout in the trough expenses and their integrity.

Tom said...

"Tom, just for the recod we didn't commission an article on Dowdy female MPs. We commissioned an article by a fashion journalist on what female politicians wear. If you bothered to read the article you'd see that it is she who attacks their dress sense."

Yes, I've read the article, thanks for asking, and already had done when I wrote my first comment. It's a pretty dreadful piece of work, frankly. Apologies for suggesting that it was your terrible editorial decision to put the "dowdy female MPs" line on the cover - happy to accept that it was the editor's terrible editorial decision.

Quite what relevance the editor's sex has is beyond me, though. Why mention it? Does being a woman get her off the hook for writing an idiotic headline?

Iain Dale said...

Do feel free to write a letter for publication to her editor@totalpolitics.com

Totally disagree with you, but there you go!

Homercles of Edinburgh said...

"One should read the Scotsman blog to know what these foot soldiers are thinking. They spew out ignorance."

Or pretty much any comment thread on the Herald site.

As a Scot Nat myself, this shower of moronic zealots is an embarrassment only slightly balanced out by the stupidity of many of their commenting opponents.

Good interview with Salmond BTW, Iain.

charlotte Corday said...

Am I allowed to say that I think a lot of the female MPs are an embarrassment in the way they dress?

Like it or not, we live in a media age and people expect that those in public office representing them should look presentable. Look at the flak Michael Foot received over the "donkey jacket" at the Cenotaph furore (He always denied it was a donkey jacket.)

I remember when the actress Jane Horrocks did some research for a TV role about an "ordinary" woman who becomes an MP, she said that she couldn't believe how scruffy and badly dressed a lot of female MPs were.

I'll certainly read the article.

Tom said...

Iain, I kind of assumed that you totally disagreed with me - that was pretty clear already. I'm genuinely interested in why you think it's relevant that she's a woman, and in what insights you think this article adds about the role of women in public life (to be clear, I do think that it adds such insights; I just think that all of the insights it adds are immensely depressing, and reflect far more badly on people who commission and write articles like this than they do on female MPs).

Not interested in writing a letter to the magazine, thanks, but maybe someone else will.

Iain Dale said...

It's relevant that she's a woman because you kind of hinted that it was my choice and because I am a male it was somewhow sexist. Maybe I read too much into your comment.

I thought the article was interesting in that it highlighted differences between French female politicians and British ones. I can't say I paid too much attention to it other than that.

Letters From A Tory said...

Well done Iain, hope the success and press coverage continues.

Tom said...

Well, I think it goes without saying that it's sexist - the headline is, after all "Why are female MPs so dowdy?" It's a sexist headline irrespective of whether it's written by a man or a woman. To say that it can only sexist if it's written by a man is, surely, sexist. Don't you think?

Iain Dale said...

I dont see the headline as remotely sexist. You wouldn;t say it was sexist if it was Why do Male MPs dress so badly? so why would you say this was sexist. You are looking for sexism where none exists.

We covered badly dressed male MPs in Issue 1, by the way.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

"Scotland in Uproar"

Erm, I think, not, unless you count the mischievous article in the Herald, whipped up by the anti-SNP political editor, Douglas Fraser. (The Scotsman piece appears to have dropped off the bottom)

He does however, describe you as a journalist and a "leading" Conservative. Which is nice.

The picture of Boris is very kind to Boris and does not look as threateningly blobby as your last two cover girls.

Tom said...

You wouldn;t say it was sexist if it was Why do Male MPs dress so badly?

Of course I would - because it would be. Why, was that your headline to the story in issue 1?

Iain Dale said...

Perhaps we should do away with headlines, then no one would be offended. As I said, you look for something which doesn't exist. Headlines always tend to exaggerate a story anyway, as you well know. It's called getting people to read it.

Tom said...

Perhaps we should do away with headlines, then no one would be offended.

Yeah, perhaps. Or perhaps you could just do away with the really stupid ones, and keep the rest.

Peter said...

A 3rd issue redesign? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear . . .

Anonymous said...

Interview with the prime ministe of Gibralter.

That'll knock 'em dead.

Paul Hulbert said...

Iain, a technical comment - I tried to read some of the articles from the website, but many are almost unreadable unless I highlight them to reverse the colours. The worst combination is black print on a darkish green background. I have normal vision, but the low contrast must make it very difficult for anyone with visual problem.

Anonymous said...

spinmeister Mr Dale.

Teatime with Gordon said...

I think the Scottish press are being a bit naughty with your interview Iain. However, Mr Salmond took to the airwaves this morning in typically robust fashion. Here's what he said:

"I have never approved of either Margaret Thatcher's social or economic polices as is clear from the very next passage of the full interview where I suggest that the Scottish founder of economics Adam Smith could sue for the for the misuse of his economic thought by Thatcherites!

Scots always have and always will accept the need for competitive economic policies but not ones which are devoid of social responsibility. That was the essential difference between a moral philosopher like Adam Smith and Margaret Thatcher who tried to hijack his legacy."

Interesting stuff - i think it is fair to say Lady Thatcher will not be stepping accross the threshold of Bute House!

Game Set Match Salmond.

Anonymous said...

badly dressed male MPs - dowdy female MPs. This is cutting edge stuff.

Cath said...

It doesn't surprise me remotely that a woman wrote the article and a woman editor chose the headline for the cover. Ask any woman who's stood in front of a selection committee.

The article itself is not sexist is just vacuous and I would expect nothing else of a journalist, male or female, who chooses to specialise in fashion.

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh at the controversy that the headline "dowdy female MP's" has provoked in these comments.

Are we really so far up the arse of political correctness that we now can't comment on the dress sense of a particular group of people? Or is it just because they are women that should make them untouchable?

Did you all whine this much when there was criticism of Jackie Smith wearing such a low cut top that she basically got her tits out in the house of commons? (although it could have been worse - it could have been Anne Widdecombe!)

Kezia Dugdale said...

Iain,

What do you make of the BBC Scotland coverage of Alex Salmond now distancing himself completely from the comments he made to you in the interview?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7576801.stm

Best wishes,

Kez Dugdale

Anonymous said...

IT COULD BE THE SCOTTISH PRESS PLAYING UP OR IT COULD BE THE LABOUR PARTY RISING TO A BIT OF DALE/SALMOND BAIT.

NO SOONER DO THEY ATTACK SALMOND THAN HE REMINDS EVERYONE ABOUT TEA AT NUMBER TEN WITH BROON AND THE IRON LADY - NO DOUBT WITH A VIEW TO PUBLISHING THE PICTURES IN THE BY ELECTION!

COME ON IAIN - ADMIT IT. YOU AND SALMOND ARE IN LEAGUE.

Iain Dale said...

Kezia, I have just listened to the interview. I don't think he distanced himself at all. He clarified his position. It's what politicians do!

Homercles of Edinburgh said...

Labour drone alert!

I wonder how Kezia felt about Gordon inviting Maggie over for tea and biccies.

Anonymous said...

Kezia Dugdale, as per the labour comment on thsi you either did not read the BBC report or choose not to understand what Alex Salmond said. Also if you had read the interview with Iain you would know that he did not say he approved of margaret Thatcher , quite the opposite. Take off your red tinted specs.

Anonymous said...

Its all very well giving a German who is soon to bugger off to Australia column inches to explain why "we" should get rid of the green belt - but what does he really care and why does it matter in the slighest to him?

disgusted said...

I don't care what the PC types on this thread say, I think it's a scandal that we have to see these dowdy Labour women at PMQs. They're ugly too. What a bunch of losers.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should take a leaf out of Silvio Berlusconi's book and start giving some ex page 3 girls a chance in the House Of Commons? Will brighten up "disgusted's" day at any rate!

Btw Iain, what is your view on the best looking female MP? There are 125 to choose from! http://www.parliament.uk/directories/hciolists/female.cfm

Anonymous said...

Somebody commented that Nulab women MP's, seen in their places at PM's Questions, look as if they had spent the morning gutting fish. I agree.

Lilith said...

We are expecting to have the lovely Annunziata Rees-Mogg as our MP quite soon. She is most easy on the eye, and very chic.

Vicky said...

Oh my god. I bought the mag at Charing X today.

You've dumbed it right down. Ripped off The New Statesman's design. What happened? Lose your nerve? Did Ashcroft put his foot down? Why change it all now? Shallow nonsense about female MPs' clothes?

What a shame.

Won't be buying it anymore.

Iain Dale said...

Vicky, while I appreciate your comments I cannot let that go without responding. How you can possibly say that issue is dumbed down is beyond me. Whatever yhat you think of the article on female MPs that should not obscure the very undumbed down interviews with Boris, Alex Salmond and Peter Robinson - or the debate on the Green Belt - should I go on? The mix of content has not changed in all three editions. All that has chnaged in this issue is the design. We weren't happy with the overall feel and look of first two issues so we took action.

Every single other person has praised the redesign. It is certainly not a New Statesman ripoff. Compare the two together and you will see they are totally different.

And as for the point about Michael Ashcroft, it's an easy hit, isn't it? But if I told you I hadn't seen or spoken to Michael in two and a half months you probably wouldn't believe me anyway!

Vicky said...

Hi Iain, I bought The NS, Economist, and Spectator. And we were looking at them side-by-side. Far too much similarity for my liking. And I didn't think the articles said much of substance. Sorry. Your redesign just looks like every other magazine. ViewPoint is the same. I only saw your Zimbabwe edition and I thought you'd tried something different and were going somwhere different. That's why I said have you lost your nerve. Lucky it's only me that thinks that!

Iain Dale said...

Vicky, I really do appreciate the feedback. I guess it proves it's impossible to please everyone!

Chris K said...

Iain, I used to be a pollster and I lost count of the occasions that a client would come to us and say 'everybody thinks such and such': only to be silenced by the data.

I haven't seen your new version but as a pedant, please be warned of comments like 'every single other person thinks'. Because you haven't interviewed every reader, you just cannot extrapolate so optimistically.

Anyway, I wish you wrote more in the magazine. Your blog is fun and your Telegraph column is interesting. Cheers!

Iain Dale said...

Chris, Thanks for that. I know what you mean. But in the end, you have to make a decision.

Thanks for your comments about me writing more in the magazine, but that isn't going to happen. One interview each issue is quite sufficient!

graybo said...

In WHSmith travel stores? Not in the one at Dover Docks for those of us who find the boat easier than waiting for two hours to go nowhere at LGW. :(

Kristine said...

Hmm.. was there ever an age that wasn't the age of the maverick?