By Dan Strayer

14th February 2020

Iain Dale’s GMB Walk Off And Important Issues About Social Care

Iain Dale’s name is in the news for walking off the set of Good Morning Britain. Dale appears regularly on the ITV show as a panellist. The radio host, author and conservative commentator was the odd one out compared to two other panellists on the show.

As a result, Dale ripped off his microphone and stormed off the set in the middle of the discussion. The debate involved a contentious mental health issue and the effects of government austerity.

Dale later offers his apologies to the hosts of Good Morning Britain on Twitter. However, he says his struggle to get in a word edgewise on the matter made the conversation one-sided and pointless.

Who exactly is Iain Dale?

Dale, 57, is a popular political personality in broadcast and social media. Above all, he has also been a noteworthy figure in Conservative politics.

Born in Cambridge, Dale is a graduate of the University of East Anglia. He found success in a variety of industries, including publishing and bookstores. Later, Dale failed to become an elected Member of Parliament, coming up short in local Tory elections.

Award-winning radio personality

Dale is commonly heard as a radio presenter on LBC radio, which airs from 7-10 pm during weekdays. It is also available in podcast form, which Dale often shares via Twitter @IainDale.

The February GMB incident does not detract from Dale’s superb work on radio. Consequently, Dale has twice been named Radio Personality of the Year (in 2013 and 2016) by the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards. In addition, Dale also has a Silver Sony for Interview of the Year at the 2014 Sony Awards. The honour came in recognition of his interview with an eyewitness to Lee Rigby’s murder.

His agility in broadcasting also allowed him to deliver long-form documentary radio programmes. One noteworthy programme explained the 2001 general election for prime minister.

Also an accomplished writer

Grace Blakely and Iain Dale on the set of GMB
Source: The Mirror

Additionally, Dale regularly wrote on his political blog, Iain Dale’s Diary, which he discontinued last decade. The blog was cited in 2005 by The Guardian as a highly influential political blog.

Dale is prolific in long-form writing as well. To this end, he has published or edited as many as 46 different books, mostly political. That total includes three books about prime minister Boris Johnson.

Additionally, his writing has appeared in national and regional publications, including:

  • The Sunday Times;
  • The Daily Telegraph;
  • The Guardian;
  • East Anglian Daily Press.

Television commentator

Iain Dale’s been a frequent commentator on television news programming, including Good Morning Britain. Other productions he has appeared on include CNNtalk, Newsnight and the Andrew Marr Show.

Which brings us full circle back to GMB.

The Iain Dale walk-off incident

Iain Dale walked off the set of Good Morning Britain during a debate about social care and austerity measures
SOURCE: Daily Mail

On Friday, 7 February, Dale and two other commentators, Nihal Arthanayake and Grace Blakeley were on the GMB set. The morning show included hosts Kate Garraway, Charlotte Hawkins and Ben Shephard. The three panellists were on the show to discuss new developments into a 2019 incident.

That incident involved a mental care patient, Jonty Bravery, who pushed a youngster from the Tate Gallery. The discussion centred around Bravery’s mental health as a factor. Recordings have emerged that show Bravery had told carers he had planned to carry out a murder before the incident.

Arthanayake and Blakely cited factors around government cutbacks as a factor in why this threat was not acted upon. After Dale left, the two panellists added their concern with the increased frequency of threats made to carers. Given this, it is unknown as to how many incidents of this ilk professionals in the industry face.

Moreover, there is still difficulty in the number of carers and professionals available to address matters. To say nothing about determining which threats are serious.

The discussion gains new life on Twitter

That notwithstanding, Dale complained that he had been drowned out during his time on the set. He would later claim that “enough is enough.” With time to reflect, he later Tweeted a Daily Mail article reporting that Bravery had as many as six carers.

Yesterday on @GMB I said it was utter nonsense that austerity had played any part in the Jonty Bravery case. 

Read this article which appears to prove my point. 

That is not to say that cuts haven’t affected many mental health services. But not here.

Blakely is sticking to her guns though. As a writer for Tribune Magazine, Blakely dismisses Dale’s actions. Instead, she hopes to turn the attention away from the walk-off and onto stronger social services for children.

‘The state of our children’s social care services should be a national scandal, but is only when the failures of these services lead to high profile deaths that the press takes any interest.’

As for Arthanayake? Judging by the Twitter replies, the BBC 5 Live presenter has encountered a bit of backlash – even after he stood his ground with a bit of snark.

“I apologise for upsetting Zen Master Iain Dale. Here he is being calm and mellow to a member of the public. https://youtu.be/glnqtoSVIcQ Your hero is a great guy.”

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