This morning on ITV breakfast offering Good Morning Britain, there was no Piers Morgan talking over and shouting down guests: instead, the more approachable Ben Shephard was in the chair alongside Kate Garraway. Cos Susanna Reid doesn’t do Fridays. Subjects under discussion included the teenager who threw a rather younger child off a balcony at Tate Modern, and that he should have been supervised during his visit.
Should not be demanding territory. Usually
Those brought in to the studio to ponder the issue included Grace Blakeley of Tribune magazine and small-c conservative LBC host Iain Dale, who found himself sitting between two pundits of opposing view. After he had dismissed Ms Blakeley’s point about spending cuts being at least partly responsible for the lack of supervision (“utter rubbish”), it became clear that this was a campaign destined to turn out not necessarily to his advantage.
And whether it was red mist descending, or merely that he had a pressing appointment elsewhere, The Great Man decided to end his presence in that particular studio, removing his mic and walking off. So it was that his earlier optimism (“Join [Grace Blakeley] and me on [Good Morning Britain] at 7.10am. If you can”) was replaced by a more sombre mood.
“I enjoy my early mornings on [Good Morning Britain] with [Jacqui Smith] because they’re all about civilised discussion. Today’s was not. It was about closing me down. I decided it wasn’t worth hanging around. Apologies to [Kate Garraway], [Ben Shaphard] & [Charlotte Hawkins] but enough is enough”. His Twitter echo chamber backed him up.
Elsewhere, though, there was little sympathy, one Tweeter musing “Venn diagram of those who persistently attack [Owen Jones] for walking out of an interview once, with those applauding [Iain Dale] for walking out of an interview this morning is a perfect circle”.
Jones added “Not only that, but I walked out on a point of principle in solidarity with LGBTQ people. Iain walked out because he felt outnumbered. Like all left wingers, I'm always on panels where I'm outnumbered by right wingers yelling me down. That's the media, and we have to take it”. Point. And there was more.
James Felton concluded “Iain Dale: You snowflakes with your safe spaces are pathetic … Also Iain Dale: Two people disagree with my point of view I’M LEAVING”. Dan Waddell reminded Dale of That Brighton Labour Conference Seafront Incident: “Classic Iain Dale. But not as classic as the time he beat up a pensioner”. Could it get worse? Don’t ask.
Recalling another recent GMB incident, Gayle Letherby wondered where Dale might be headed. “Probably off to join the PM in a fridge somewhere”, noting that the walking-off had been picked up by our 24-hour rolling news Speculatron.
The Mirror decided that It Was Dale Wot Done It: “Iain Dale staged a dramatic walk-out halfway through being interviewed on today's Good Morning Britain, petulantly [!] claiming he wasn't allowed to speak. The LBC radio presenter and right-wing commentator stormed off set despite Kate Garraway and Ben Shephard begging him to stay”.
But remember folks, he’s still big. It’s the interviews that got small.
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