The Secret Diary Of William Kedjanyi, Aged 23 3/4

Today is about catching up. First things first, a new phone. Sorted. Touchwood it works. I have to set it up again but it takes so much less time than it would have done a decade ago. Thank god for the cloud.

Then it’s writing the diary, posting some comments on political stories, and writing a football preview – Denmark going to Ireland.

It’s also the CBI Conference. This is basically a Party Conference but the party is business. Johnson, Corbyn and Swinson make their pitches – Johnson goes overtime and apparently nearly runs into Corbyn’s slot. Corbyn isn’t really that brilliant but this isn’t his bag. There’s a question about how he’s handled Antisemitism which ends with the line.

Swinson seems to do the best of the two despite a couple of odd and cheesy attack lines. She seems at home here but I imagine she’ll be fuming at losing the court case against ITV to be involved in the debate tomorrow. For what it’s worth, I agree with her – yes it’s unlikely she’ll be Prime Minister but we’ve had two Hung Parliaments in the last five years and you can’t say there won’t be one on December 12th – it’s not unreasonable to see the leaders of the third and fourth (yes, that’s what I said) largest parties against the two men who are likely to be elected Prime Minister.

Swinson rejects the idea of the SNP being in the debate because they’re not standing across the country. That may be true, but they’re the third largest party and very possibly the kingmakers of this election. It’s another Westminster snub to the SNP, who have been rebuffed by the three big Unionist parties of this election. One has to wonder if they’ll come to regret it in the future.

There’s a number of tweets about the amount of people registered to vote. The Electoral Commission is reporting that almost a third of under-25s have not registered to vote. The comparable figure for over-65s? 6%. I can’t profess to tell you how this election will end, but I think it’s fair to say that it will have consequences for decades to come.

Only one in four black and Asian people are registered. It’s a depressing number when you think about it. I’m inside politics and follow it each and every day, but the total amount of unregistered voters astonishes me. It’s nine million. Basically three quarters of an electorate by itself. Didn’t they say that Vote Leave won through first time voters?

Until next time…..

My phone, again. You must be tired of reading this because I am. It crashed during the Andrew Interview. I haven’t got time for this nonsense but my previews are with the editor at least. The same crew are heading upto Cheltenham.

It’s 7am and you might wonder why I’m up so early. I usually don’t sleep much on Sundays because of the morning shows – Ridge starts at 8.30 now and Marr has switched back to nine.

Anyway neither of those two are my first call. I tap into BBC Sounds (not using my phone) and head to Radio 4. The reason why? Sunday, a religious version of the Today programme ( that’s my best descripton). Why? It’s for my friend Nadine White, who partnered with Emma Youle for a truly tremendous story about SPAC Nation.

To explain, SPAC Nation is an Evangelical Church. There are a few here. It’s riddled with fraudsters who isolated vulnerable people from their families – and that is just the beginning of it. Some people were made to give their student loans – and others forced to take up out to £5,000. Conmen of the highest order.

Nadine and Emma, two proper ‘crack’ reporters (not just the kind that you see in the movies, like proper reporters) have done a huge amount and the details are ather stunning. It’s worth the early wake up.

I’m a political addict, so I watch Ridge for half an hour before swinging her to my mobile and then it’s Marr. The paper review on Marr is particularly good too. I know some people don’t like them but I think they’re a good fit when you’ve got politicians from each party, as long as they’re balanced (reasonably).

On Today’s it’s Jen Williams (from the Manchester Evening News), Miranda Green of The Financial Times and Liam Halligan of the Telegraph. I know that much of the print media is Tory supporting – and thus people get a bit upset with the paper review, – but when you’ve got people with different perspective and personalities, it works brilliantly.

All three are outstanding but Williams is the star – why don’t we have more local reporters on national programmes?

I’ve got to think about what to do with the phone. I try to book a Genius Bar appointment at Apple – another thing that is extremely difficult to do, honestly, just try it – and see only one for today. I decide I’ll have to go for it, but at least it’s after the Greatwood and at what should be half time in the Racing/Saracens game.

I watch a couple of rugby games, starting with split screening Northampton’s 25-14 win over Saints and Connacht’s 23-20 thriller against Montpellier. The Saints were better than the scoreline suggests and look rather menacing this season – Chris Boyd has got them purring this season.

Over at The Sportsground, something tells me Montpellier will be happy enough with a losing bonus point in Ireland, but it’s early days. I can’t say I took a huge amount from the game.

I’ve only got two fancies in the racing, neither truly confident ones – Saint Calavados in the Shloer Chase and Moinesur Lecoq in the Greatwood. The card is better than yesterday in my eyes.

The firm manages to win despite Duc De Beauchene winning as favourite in the first and we also managed to avoid the gamble on Diesel D’Allier. He was clearly well handicapped and looks sure to be on his way back soon although Urgent de Gregaine is miles the best at the weights. He might be worth backing ante-post for the Festival despite his rising years – I make a note of it.

I will admit I am totally shocked by the all the way win of Put The Kettle On in the Arkle Trial (pictured). On face value the result isn’t great for British novice chasing but Aidan Coleman rode the race to perfection and the ground surely suited the best stayer. It’s also another good on course book.

The Shloer isn’t so good personally as Saint Calvados is a disappointment in my eyes – Defi du Seuil is a game winner in a cracking duel – but a very enjoyable race. It’s a big form boost for Chacun Pour Soi and one can imagine Rich Ricci is feeling very chipper after the week’s events.

It’s the Greatwood next. I think I might get another winner with Moinesur Lecoq who hits the front but he pulled too hard too early and gets caught on the line by Harambe and Gumball. Can’t win them all. Dame De Compangie looks to be an eyecatcher, finishing a clear fifth after a marathon amount of time off, but I’m sure everyone else is saying it.

I’m at the Genius Bar now and I’m offered a swap for my iPhone if I come back in an hour. That’s perfect. I go to watch Racing beat Saracens silly (not the best week for them) and then come back only to realise that they don’t have the exact model so I’ve got to come back tomorrow. Another day, another saga.

I make more headway on the General Election preview whilst in town watching the game. It’s a rare treat if I don’t have to film but I reckon you’d increase the productivity of this country massively if we turned offices into pubs.

A tweet comes through. We’ve taken £165,000 on the Henderson bumper favourite Time Flies By. One last big one. I can’t watch the race so nervously look over my pint and refresh Twitter. It’s just like Ceefax isn’t it? I refresh the Racing TV Twitter feed. The winner? Israel Champion.

I breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the office and the on course people have had a result and a decent day. Small margins.

Racing smash Saracens and look good doing but I’m not sure about what to make of the game. I return home frustrated and tired, and go for an early night.

Today is a big sporting day, the first one I can remember for a while. Ben, Flynn, Simon, Michelle, Lofty and Stephanie are all at Cheltenham and whilst there’s no football on, it’s also the opening weekend of the European Rugby Champions Cup.

Racing Saturdays have become different for me since I joined Star. It’s not only a battle to get winners, but also desperately hoping the on course news is good. The opener begins with Thyme Hill winning – not terrible for us on course, and not one I backed. He looks very impressive and a right stayer.

Then the Triumph trial, won impressively by Allmankind. I like what I see from him but the Triumph is routinely a race that seems to be won by horses to jump out of the scenes after Christmas. That said, the connections – the same ones of Big Orange – will feel happy enough with their prospect I’d say.

We win again because Mick Pastor comes nowhere. I didn’t get involved. I’m rather pleased about it. I don’t have a stake on the novices chase but we take a bet of £110,000 Wholestone, who find just enough up the hill. It’s odd how involved I am now. I see a replay and must admit to being impressed by the performance but I am gutted at the big bet copping. I wonder how Ben is, especially after Matt Chapman expresses delight at our loss. I guess it’s advertising, at least.

Onto the first of the TV races. I’d tipped Achilles on the basis of his impressive performances in the ground, top weight, and of course, yard – Venetia Williams can do anything with these horses too, especially off a break. Achille leads at a good pace and jumps well, but eventually is caught by West Approach, a classy horse who is swinging into the race under Robbie Power. He’s too quick after the last and what could have been a tasty pay-out for the blog.

Then it’s the BetVictor. This is another big one for both me – I have Eamon An Cnoic and Happy Diva against the field, on course Slate House and Siruh Du Lac are the big losers for the firm. At the beginning Warthog is leading and the pace looks OK – not mad hot, along with Siruh Du Lac. I worry a bit as it can be hard to come from behind in such big races around Cheltenham, and Siruh does take a lot of passing. Indeed, I was there when he wouldn’t be passed at the Festival in the plate.

Emanon An Cnoic is down after the second. How lovely. Happy Diva is well behind. I don’t know if this is good or bad but I’m a tad nervous. Slate House isn’t jumping. He hits one, and another, and another, and another. It’s now the back straight and he’s not jumped one yet.

Coming down the bottom of the hill and it turns out that Richard Patrick was right to get Happy Diva into the race slowly. He must be going well but my heart sinks again as Slate House, who has belted every fence on the course harder than Ben Stokes hitting a six, is somehow cruising. He must be short in running as he powers up the turn. The four jump the last together. Slate House lands too forward and then falls. He’s thankfully up OK. Now it’s Happy Diva (me) vs Brelan D’As and Warthog. Warthog fades after the past so Barry Geraghty throws everything at Brelan D’As who inches closer and closer whilst I hide behind the sofa, but Richard Patrick has enough to repel the closer and I have a winner. Easy game.

I take some time to decompress and watch the replay. I’m glad Slate House is OK, but on recollection he’d have been almost an odds on shot in my book to take the lot if he stood up, despite the weight and jumping. Lord knows what he’ll do when he sorts that out. Ryanair? You’ve seen stranger things.

In-between the racing, I’m watching the rugby. I absolutely adore the Champions Cup and am treated to an old style thriller between Bath and Ulster which is decided by the razor sharp kicking of John Cooney and then an incredible catch that Jacob Stockdale makes to literally prevent Bath from winning the game.

I miss Glasgow grinding out a win over Sale but split the afternoon between watching the racing and Leinster’s win over Benetton whilst Exeter demolish La Rochelle. It’s a huge win for the Chiefs they let a 17-0 lead go against Bristol and it makes for a decent afternoon, a couple of hours break from the campaign.

It’s eight or so PM and after doing the Sunday previews I settle in for one of the big events of the TV year – or so it feels like – in the Prince Andrew interview. You’ll probably have already seen Emily Maitlis somewhere or other about it but the interview was sealed by someone you haven’t heard of – Sam McAlister.

Sam is one of the army of BBC Newsnight staff who make the special stuff happen. Think of her as a Tom Malone to your Paul Nicholls, A Lord Grimthorpe to your Juddmonte etc. You’ll see the thrilling product, but without McAlister – who has a list of big interview scalps that’s probably longer and more impressive than Lionel Messi’s trophy cabinet in journalistic terms – it doesn’t happen.

I’ve got a spread in for this one. It sounds weird to be ready for an interview of this nature with Chinese, Beer, and Mince Pies (don’t look at me like that)

So we begin.

The opening 10 minutes are a forensic deconstruction of all the things that have happened in this saga so far. It’s already got to be a pretty brutal watch for anyone involved.

The real one on one begins. It is insane. Andrew and Epstein were friends but not “close” friends, according to him. Epstein visited Prince Andrew at Sandringham but it wasn’t a birthday party, just “a straightforward shooting weekend.” A straightforward shooting weekend, you see. Uncomplicated, simple, shooting. What a time to be alive. Especially if you’re the one doing the shooting,

We’re now onto that visit he took to Epstein’s residence in 2010. You know, the one Epstein’s conviction and imprisonment for soliciting and procuring a minor for prostitution. Just that one. He said he had considered speaking to Epstein on the phone, but decided to meet him face-to-face “to show leadership”.

Apparently that face-to-face talk too four whole days, at Epstein’s home. The reason why? It was convenient. We are not even half an hour in.

You know what, no, I can’t let it slide. This is what he LITERALLY SAID.

“It was a convenient place to stay. I mean I’ve gone through this in my mind so many times. At the end of the day, with a benefit of all the hindsight that one can have, it was definitely the wrong thing to do. But at the time I felt it was the honourable and right thing to do and I admit fully that my judgement was probably coloured by my tendency to be too honourable but that’s just the way it is.”

IT TURNS OUT THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS.

So now to the grim question of if he actually had sex with Virginia Roberts-Giuffre on the supposed date (I’m not going to get lawyerly on this, you can Google).

He denies it of course. His explanation – I am literally typing this in awe as he is speaking – is that he’d spent the day in a Pizza Express in Woking. Yep, a Pizza Express, in Woking (pictured). What’s more, it was an unusual thing to do for him – “I’ve only been to Woking a couple of times and I remember it weirdly distinctly.”

OK then.

But wait, there’s more. He couldn’t have bought her drinks at the Tramp nightclub because he didn’t know where the bar is. Extremely normal, Royal behaviour. He also couldn’t have sweated on the dancefloor because he was shot at in the Falklands.

I am not lying to you, if you haven’t seen this. He literally says this. I know some of you won’t believe this.

‘There’s a slight problem with the sweating because I have a peculiar medical condition which is that I don’t sweat or I didn’t sweat at the time. Yes, I didn’t sweat at the time because I had suffered what I would describe as an overdose of adrenalin in the Falklands War, when I was shot at and I simply … it was almost impossible for me to sweat.’

My fingers are burning and my head is exploding. I am gripped to the television and touch typing this as he speaks – it is excoriating but I can’t stop.

This is him on a photograph taken of him and Epstein in Central Park. . We can’t find any evidence or my staff and my people and I can’t find any evidence to suggest that that was what he was doing. I mean, you can look at it in so many different ways.

“The fact of the matter is, is that somebody very cleverly took that photograph, it wasn’t as far as I remember nor do my security people remember, anybody being present or close because there were enough security around.”

Then there’s the million-pound question of if he regrets the friendship. It’s a 1.01 shot he says yes and gets a good news line for himself.

He responds no, because the opportunities he got and the people he met were ‘very useful’.

My beer is drained, my Chinese finished, and my TV remains unsmashed, somehow.

I am on my way home from watching England when two an alert pops up on my phone. It’s a text notification for the Daily Mirror’s political editor, Pippa Crear. She’s got an exclusive with John McDonnell and the feature policy is a pledge to provide free full-fibre broadband to every home and business in the UK, including part-nationalising BT and introducing a tax on the tech giants to help pay for it.

I see a BBC push alert and Laura Kuenssberg has an interview with McDonnell too where he fleshes out the policy. It’s only been a thing for 15 minutes and it’s already dominating the bulletins.

I watch the usual shows, Question Time, Brexitcast etc, and am a bit disappointed that a question I sent didn’t get through. That’s two negatives to add to the fact there was no racing at Cheltenham today. You can’t win them all.

It’s morning and everyone’s just talking about broadband. This is a masterclass from Labour in electioneering. It’s not even 10am and I’ve already lost count of the amount of people who have mentioned ‘Free fibre-optic broadband’ and Labour in the same sentence.

There’s debate ranging about if it’s possible, let alone wise, but suddenly we’re having the conversation that Labour wants – anyone remember Vote Leave in 2016? There we go.

The announcement seems to drive many people absolutely mad. Many of them seem to have gone over the edge on just how big the plan is – mind they’re still talking about it, and perhaps that’s helping Labour more – oh how the political week does change.

Labour say they’ll nationalise part of BT and there’s an awful lot of debate about that but I can’t help but think in one fell swoop, they’ve won the discourse battle. Just a month to go, eh? Also, an awful lot pf people seem not to think that we can aim to do better with broadband. Not sure they’d have liked me the last time my router went down.

The rest of the day is dominated by doing a Cheltenham preview – turns out that it’s on (Saturday at least) and I need heavy ground horses. I find three. Fingers crossed that they actually run to their best – I tend to be hit and miss on a bog. Oh, and I’m still writing the general Election preview.

Until Sunday (I won’t lie, a bit of relief when I wrote that), with a special thanks to David for editing what was a rather late entry this week.

Today’s going to be a short one. Firstly, because a whole lot is happening and secondly because I’m currently writing the big overall General Election preview. The latest NHS stats are out. They are bad. I could write a load of complicated stuff here but they’re basically the worst since records began.

There was a poll – conducted by Deltapoll I think – showing that 42% of voters hadn’t heard anything about the biggest stories through the first week, but the NHS is very different. It’s consistently a top three issue in any election and with the same polling company, was the second most important issue to voters when asked what matters most, either for themselves or ‘the country and their family’.

The Tories are still mega short and in the poll lead. That won’t change anytime soon but this is one of the dangers of a winter election – the NHS will come under the pump at some time, although even then, these are frankly dangerous results for a party that’s been in power for nine years. Bashing Jeremy Corbyn won’t help either. And don’t forget that other parties, not just Labour can make hay on this. This will be a long campaign.

There’s a Brexit Party candidate announcement – Michelle Dewberry is going stand for them in Hull. Turns out they’re still going to stand candidates in Labour held seats, which might cause the Tories a problem. It’s about midday and I’m recording a voice note for the boss. I look outside and to my amazement, it seems to be…. Snowing?

Until next time…..

I’m starting this early and I think it will be a short one because there’s a lot going on, to say the least. I’m getting into the thick of the constituencies. First is East Dunbartonshire. Jo Swinson won it in 2017 but a majority of 5,339 isn’t unsurpassable. Certainly not when you’re the SNP. Amy Callaghan is running to unseat her rather than John Nicholson this time. I do some digging and it turns out that she’s an office manager to an MSP and also worked for the Scottish Government. Not a bad CV at just 26.

There’s also a fascinating race in East Devon. The outgoing MP – Sir Hugo Swire – is being replaced by an ex BBC radio presenter (CCHQ will be hoping that this) appointment of a former BBC radio host works out better than the last one. Then there’s the Independent. Claire Wright is her name. She’s an ex-councillor who won more than 21,000 votes at the last election. As an INDEPENDENT. Then there’s Labour, the Lib Dems, and Greens into the mix. Nobody’s standing down because they don’t know how Wright would vote in Parliament and we’re 4/9 the Tories. Lord knows what’ll happen. Tremendous fun, when you think about it.

My iPhone is working – he says, hoping not to jinx it – but there’s no names assigned to numbers. That said, being free of a load of apps I was never going to use is sort of liberating. Oh and I can’t find out how to search in Outlook on mobile.

I’ve been on a Webinar today. I love talking about politics on any sort of panel. I don’t love that my Mac doesn’t recognise my camera. I power through as I’m on the panel with fellow political betting people – Matthew Shaddick (love him, genius) of Ladbrokes, Sarjbit Bakshi of Smarkets (also love him, also genius), Steve Donoughue (long-time gambling consultant) and Ted Menmuir (host and a very good guy who has helped me a lot).

The conversation goes well, and I get to talk about variance in the polls (there’s rather a lot, and basically it means that the polls could tell you very different things) and lots of other cool stuff.

I am getting into the thick of writing the election preview. It’s a mammoth one. One thing I’ve noticed is just how many winnable seats there are. The 31 most marginal seats all had majorities of less than 500 – infact, the 31st – yes, THIRTY-FIRST- most marginal seat is Inverclyde, and that has a majority of 381 votes. I cannot think of a football club which doesn’t have more than 381 people attending. This election? You haven’t seen a single thing yet.

One last thing. There’s a McDonalds strike. I’m not visiting the Yellow Arches until the strike’s over. The workers are asking for £15 an hour. Cue the usual derision from people who – rightly – ask why other industries don’t pay more. This is fair. But I am amazed at the amount of people whose argument for not raising fast food wages is “they just make burgers.” Let me correct you. No fast food worker you’ve ever seen has “just flipped burgers.” The entirety of the shop you’re in is completely run by the people inside it which means machinery, systems, and more is handed by the same people who hand you your food, collect your order and of course, cook your food. It’s not that easy.

Until next time….


Today’s diary might be shorter than the last because technology has once again ruined my morning. Why does this keep happening to me? I’m good at technology. I once had an interview for Apple. I was once tech support for John Lewis. Why me? Anyway I record some more videos on the election and then do some of the admin stuff I’ve been meaning to tackle.

I’ve got a betting people interview with someone whose name I can’t reveal. I’m looking forward to it but am also very nervous as the interviewee has been around in the game for decades. He’s got a book which will be read this week – is this the earliest I’ve ever prepared for an interview – if only you could install more memory into your head.

Hillary Clinton is on a BBC book tour. She’s on the Today programme and all over social media, calling for the release of the Russia Report (a report about Russia’s supposed meddling in elections) and making a fair stir. Clinton is one of many big figures who will always make a splash, but rarely change opinion. People know what they think of Clinton already and have done for years. It’s good for the audience figures, mind.

Clinton’s on the Emma Barnett Show and Barnett is talking about ‘gutsy women’. People call in to pay tribute to women who’ve made an impact in their lives – usually mums. I love my mum dearly, but this is a good moment to say thank you to Margaret Peddell and Pamela Herou, who make so much of what I do here work. A big hand to Sue Turner, who does the Christmas Party. I told her I’d have a Plus One for this year but haven’t found the time to ask anybody. Perhaps if my night out had gone better I could have taken someone….

It’s rota day. This is an exciting and hectic process where the ever-present Dave Stewart sets out what’s on the agenda for the week ahead. It also is the time I can make pitches for stuff to cover that I think will be read, or that I’ll enjoy, or both. (I tell Dave it’s always the former, but it’s always both). It’s international week, so we’ll do both England games, and the return of the European Rugby Champions Cup too. The European rugby is one of my highlights of the year – if you’ve ever watched international rugby and enjoyed it, you’d love it. We agree on both the England games – it’s just hit me that I look forward to them now. Could never have imagined saying that 5 years ago.

There’ll be something written about the General Election, which will be a marathon effort. I wonder if it should come after the candidates have all been declared – it’s all change each and every day at the moment. Over to you, Nigel…..

There’s a lot of fascinating polling around. See the latest below from YouGov, which has – Stephen Fisher, Tim Bale and Eilidh Macfarlane – three very smart people, just trust me on that – asking why people support Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. It turns out the most common reason by far is “to get Brexit done”, taking in 52%, yes 52% of the responses.

Now it might depress some of you to hear or read this, but even if – and it is an if – the Conservatives win a majority, and then manage to pass Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, we then enter into phase two of the negotiations for a free trade deal. How long do they take? Years.

It took the EU and Canada seven years to finalise their trade deal, and the outline of a trade deal with Japan took longer for the two sides to negotiate.

Also, remember that the WA only covers so-called divorce issues (citizens’ rights, financial settlement, Ireland).

What? Yes, that’s right.

Withdrawal Agreement is ratified, the UK will move into a transition period and begin negotiating its long‐term relationship with the EU. In other words, we’ll still have to work out future trade and security arrangements, foreign policy cooperation, and a whole host of contentious things such as fishing etc.

In other words, this was supposed to be the easy part.

Some sad news. Frank Dobson has died. He was Blair’s first Health Secretary and according to the wise old held Joel Taylor he wasn’t threated well when it came to the 1st Mayoral race, but beforehand he’d been brilliant in pushing for more NHS funds.

The peerless Peter Barnes, one of the best minds and archivers the BBC has, pulled up his interview on Newsnight in 1998. It is one of the best interviews you’ll ever seen from a cabinet minister.

Until next time…..

I wake to the sound of nuclear discourse. It’s the Today programme and Emily Thornberry is being asked about her nuclear weapons policy. All of the leading politicians are. National Security is obviously an important part of this but I have never understood the nuclear argument. It’s a deterrent because having it should mean the other side never needs to use it. What credentials does saying you’ll kill millions of people prove? Does it show you have the intelligence and decision making sills for international partnerships? The ability to keep your cool during a crisis? There are many reasons people for me not to like Jeremy Corbyn – I’m not here to judge either way – but not declaring you’d blow up millions of people is not one of them.

Another hour, another story. I’m too busy making sure I’ve got my head around the National League (just see later) but there’s a been a mix-up at the BBC about a wreath. Let me explain. So there’s a package – fancy news word for story – about the political leaders laying a wreath at the Centotaph. All normal stuff. But it’s not because when Boris Johnson is laying his wreath it’s not actually him from Sunday. It’s him from 2016. Needless to say people are mad. The unusual anger and suspicion at the BBC.

Dear Reader, I am about to confuse you.

Have you ever heard of Jupiter?

It’s the planet, right? No.

Jupiter, to me and a few thousand other people, means a giant TV clip system. If you had the sheer fortune/misfortune (delete as applicable) to be at the BBC, you knew it as the giant universe that had every single clip imaginable. Wanted to see Tom Taffe talk about Arkle in the lead up to the 1864 Gold Cup? Jupiter. The 1996 Greyhound Trophy? Jupiter. The 1993 Martell Aintree Hurdle? Jupiter.

But enough about what I did when I was at the BBC for two beautiful weeks.

Let me tell you about how Jupiter works, quickly.

It’s a giant archive machine that allows you to get footage for literally anything. You can search via date, time or just keyword. And when you do that, the whole video word is your oyster. Literally. You also get clips highlighted by the date they were added to the system, meaning it was entirely possible, for say, Denman’s Gold Cup to look like it happened yesterday.

Now this was an unfortunate mistake, and it does follow an unfortunate pattern of late (some mistakes being much worse than this). But given the hours you’d need to work to get a package ready for 6am – ie all night, usually having started by midnight at the latest – it’s not impossible to imagine someone dropping a bad clanger. Indeed, I’ve done it more than once for podcasts that I’d recorded in the same evening.

Also, as an aside, what is it with our remembrance discourse. Is there a single man, woman or child who isn’t aware of the scarifies so many have made? Did we not all stand silent at 11am Sunday or today? When all this is said or done, will those who thought so hard care about how a politician, adorned with a poppy, put a huge wreath on the cenotaph? Perhaps it’s just me.

I’m extremely pissed off. It’s my phone. Again. This time? Apps. Long story short – I’m sick and tired of going through it – WhatsApp doesn’t allow me to sign in and neither does Facebook Messenger.

Needless to say, the day’s communication is not easy. David – who makes this nonsense readable for you, as well as basically making this website function – can only be reached via Facebook messages on desktop, so I think breakfast can wait until I’m finished with… Harrogate v Portsmouth.

That’s done and then it’s onto politics. I’ve decided that today is the day where I start to dig into constituencies. First is Uxbridge and South Ruislip. It’s the Prime Minister’s seat, so no biggie. But he’s also got a majority of just 5,034. That’s not huge by any margin but it’s very small for a sitting Prime Minister. Oh and in case you didn’t know the Labour candidate Ali Milani cut his majority in half from 2015. And he’s got just the one target to focus on whilst Johnson will be here there and everywhere. I mean…….

Until next time …..

I watch the morning shows intently and record another video on the general state of the race but there are much bigger things going on. Remembrance Sunday is always poignant. We’re not a military family, but I couldn’t imagine what they go through.

Ridge is excellent again but I think the interview of the day goes to Andrew Marr. Political interviews are important for many reasons but perhaps it’s at its most vital when providing raw scrutiny of high profile politicians at times of national importance and there were few people more important than Sajid Javid, especially after the Tories had told the country that Labour wanted to spend £1.2 trillion – yes trillion – in Government.

That figure isn’t true. See below.

You might be asking why I’m boring you with this, but the message is important. The issue isn’t the figures. It’s the argument. Two of the biggest Sundays and all the political shows were deluged with people a) repeating trillion and b) talking about how much Labour will be spending.

It’s 2016 all over again. The figure on the side of the bus – yes, the f**king bus – was wrong by millions but the conversation was just the one that Vote Leave wanted. The rebuttals only made things worse – when your clarification is that we ‘only’ send more than £200 million, only one side’s winning.

This is very much the same thing – we’re all talking about how much Labour will be spending – but it might not be quite as effective – after all the Tories are ripping up the fiscal rulebooks.

CCHQ shouldn’t feel too confident though. I mean, there are five weeks left of this whole thing and it is 2019.

It’s the big football game of the day. Liverpool vs City. I’m looking forward to it with no real dog in the fight apart from correct scores. I’ve been picking them a lot lately as I haven’t seen anything that looks a proper solid bet. The game starts and City control the first three minutes. Then they have a penalty appeal; it’s waved away after the ball hit Trent Alexander-Arnold’s arm in Liverpool’s penalty box. The ref says play on and there’s a counter attack and Mane doesn’t find his man but a poor Gundogan clearance to Fabinho is rocketed past Bravo and it’s 1-0. City respond badly Andy Roberston bends in a brilliant ball and Salah gets there 1st. 2-0. Aguero and Sterling have good chances and miss them as De Bryune has Liverpool all ends up. Half time comes and City are on top but then Jordan Henderson gets a pinpoint cross in and Mane heads in. That’s the game done despite a late rally by City. The gap is eight points between Pool and the rest. Is it their year? It’s never done this side of Christmas.

Pep is fuming at the ref and his team. If you haven’t seen the reaction GIFs you really should. I hope he goes ballistic during the interview but I’m left disappointed.

What a week.

This is supposed to be a rest of sorts from the campaign but I am sadly mistaken. I will not bore you with the details, but how hard is it to not be massively racist or anti-semitic? Like, at any point through your life?

A break from the election, after watching the fantastically impressive Sophy Ridge on Saturday (yes, Saturday). Is it just me, or is she underrated? Ridge is determined, forensic, tremendously well briefed and extremely tactful, all of which adds up to an interviewing experience that benefits both interviewee and viewer. And she’s been in this form for months. The packages – where she goes to cities and meets ‘regular people’ – break up the interviews brilliantly too.

I re-record the videos I lost yesterday and then get a chance to watch some jump racing. Midway through the afternoon, I get wind of a mega bet we’ve had. It’s £125,000…. On Logan Paul to beat KSI.

Now six years ago, I knew KSI – not personally – as a YouTuber who played a lot of FIFA. That was it. I first heard of Logan Paul when he got into a lot of trouble for posting a video showing the body of an apparent suicide victim in Japan at the backend of last year. I watched the fight between the pair last year and wasn’t impressed. Long story short, I have no interest in either of these two people, and never once in my life imagined that the biggest bet of the weekend – and the most important one – would be on two YouTubers fighting.

After a long day – making the betting update is not as simple as one would suggest – I head out to watch the Arsenal game. I was meant to be getting something at Boots but dad argued I had enough Dove at home (yes I am talking about body moisturiser, it’s important).

I catch up on some podcasts. The first is Electioncast. If you’re not a podcast or political nerd, it’s basically BBC correspondents talking to each other and going over the day’s developments. I’m a big supporter of the BBC so I am biased here, but I love it. The additional space – most episodes are 18-30 mins long – gives the BBC correspondents more space to be at their best and it really shows, along with being able to cover more. In a day and age when people are often angry at the BBC for covering it

Adam Fleming – the BBC’s Brussels Reporter – hosts, and seems to be relishing it, and it means a daily dose of Laura Kuenssberg too (I’m a big fan of hers, so biased here). And who doesn’t love Chris Mason?

I go from one pub to another – I’m not fully engaged with the game and will watch highlights later – and see some old pals, so I eventually let myself do some actual dancing. Yes, actual dancing. See here:

I then say my goodbyes – too much dancing isn’t my thing – and end up in another nightclub. A woman in a very pretty dress (lots of flowers etc etc) comes to me and starts dancing. So I think – fine, let’s go again. Something might come of this – how many chances will I have to meet people over the next five weeks after all? (In the night out context, of course).

The woman in the nice dress has some nice friends so we get talking about the usual nightclub stuff – anything to keep the conversation going, that’s my strategy – and things go well. I can’t remember any of their names now – I think one was called Georgia perhaps? But things seemed to be going well. We even did some dancing. I met a very nice pair of ladies, one having their birthday, and somehow ended up being asked for a photo.

Dear Reader, it did not end up so well.

Oh and PS: She did dance around the pole, then went to try and make a fancy move and slammed into it. It was like something from You’ve Been Framed.

Who has had the worst start to this General Election? The Tories? The Labour Party? Or is it my new iPhone, which has crashed itself for the third time in six days? In case you can’t tell, I am frustrated. I’m at the Apple Store and I am frustrated. Yet again my iPhone is causing me issues. It starts when a video I’ve taken regarding the SNP doesn’t show up in my photos. How strange. I look to the bottom to see where it’s gone and I’m told that my photos are being restored from iCloud. I go to my setting to see why this is and apparently it’s at 1% restore. This is not good.

I take two more videos – both disappear – and am becoming frustrated, so think – let’s restart the phone. Bad call. For the next 25 swear filled minutes of my life, I once again watch a shiny white Apple tease me before deciding I have to go to the store. So it’s a taxi down to town and then a wait of half an hour to get seen.

Then we have a sitdown and I explain what’s happened. We have two options. 1st is the update. It doesn’t work. Then the restore. We have success of some kind but I need to set up again. Back to the white ‘Hello’ screen we go. I have to set up FaceID now. I take off my glasses for some reason. This is like a passport check in, but worse.

I enter a code and wait for my iPhone to begin re-downloading from my backup. The issue? There might be a bug, and the same issue could happen again, the nice woman tells me. The other option is a hard-restart. Each. Individual app. One. By. Stinking. One. If that’s going to happen, it’s not happening today. I choose to restore from the backup whilst cursing under my breath with extraordinary coarseness.

That cursing increases, and rapidly, when my Mac refuses to receive a code I need to start this process. Two-factor-authentication? God forbid. The restore begins. I have a new passcode and a new face now. I can’t skip setting Apple Pay, despite the fact that looking at my bank account or anything to do with my cards. I also have a previous Apple ID, the password to which I cannot remember. I feel less good about being able to tell you that 100% of Norwich’s games at Carrow Road have seen over 2.5 goals, or that the SNP have been in some sort of Government role in Scotland since 2007.

Success! I think that I am home and dry. DEFEAT. The Apple is back but with some sort of progress bar on it. What is happening? AT LAST! I see my old lock screen.

Catching up could take a while. Until next time……

Today is going to be busy. There are speeches from the Chancellor (Sajid Javid) and the Shadow Chancellor (John McDonnell) to start. Both are going to spend a lot more than most Governments have but Labour are proposing an extra £50bn a year v £20-25bn for the Tories. It matters because already domestic politics is taking a hold here and Labour must win the economic argument to get close to Downing Street. We’re only in the 1st week and already these battles are crucial.

I record a diary through it and then look back at an interesting email that’s been sent to me – the prices we had for the last General Election. It’s only been two and a bit years since the last one but already there’s been a lifetime since then. May was 1/12 to still be the PM on the 1st July, The Tories were 1/12 for the most seats, and 1/6 for a majority… wait a hot second, what year is this?

There’s a Remain Alliance. It’s official now, between the The Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. There’s 61 seats involved. I won’t list them for you but here’s a picture if you want to take a look:

Long story short, the Lib Dems are the big winners. A clear run in 43 seats that they didn’t have before. Plaid have done handily too, getting a clear run in 7. The Greens have a good shot at 10 – not bad for them either. It remains to be seen how well it will work but plenty of friends I know are happy with themselves after. We shall see.

I get out of the house to write this. You can see on the video there where I am. The ground is all wet with dead leaves and absolutely treacherous. My trainers have lost all grip, so I walk like Bambi On Ice, absolutely determined to avoid the nightmare of Brighton, when I was travelling to Labour Party conference, dropped my bag too hard on the train (well it was the Victoria Line tube to get to Victoria, if you must know), and ended up taking my laptop out of action for a day and a half. £200, that cost me, if you’re asking. Cable connectors are expensive things.

It’s Thursday, so that means Question Time. I’ll watch it later with some mince pies. I see a tweet from the boss about how he’s not had one yet. I am astonished. I am on 5 and I will double that today. As far as I’m concerned, from the first day of November it’s OK to do Christmas stuff. November and December. Those are the two months.

Mince pies? Get them in there. Christmas tree? Why the hell not? Decorations? Free country. Just as long as it’s the 1st or later.

That’s fair, right?

I wake to Tory chaos. Yesterday Jacob Rees-Mogg was on with Nick Ferrari, conducting a radio phone in. It’s all going normally until he says this. “The more one’s read over the weekend about the report and about the chances of people surviving, if you just ignore what you’re told and leave you are so much safer.

“And I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do. And it is such a tragedy that that didn’t happen.”

The condemnation is absolutely instant from all sides and he apologises. Not the best start.

Time passes, videos are recorded, mince pies brought (it’s November, don’t look at me like that), and it’s now 5pm so I’m listening to PM. Evan Davies is interviewing Andrew Bridgen about the comments. I can’t really describe them properly, so just read on here but I had to write them down to believe them.

Bridgen: “Jacob is a good friend of mine. An extremely intelligent and compassionate human being… Jacob is a leader, he’s an authority figure. What he’s failed to realise is that in a life threatening and stressful situation, most people would probably defer to the advice of an authority figure – be that someone from the fire authority or the police – and not come to their own conclusions. As we know with regard Grenfell, that advice was flawed.”

Davis: “Do you think he meant to say that he thought he would not have stayed out?”
Bridgen: “That’s what he meant to say! That’s what he meant to say!”

It… got worse.

Bridgen: “But we want very clever people running the country, don’t we Evan? “That’s a by-product of what Jacob is. And that’s why he’s in a position of authority. What he’s actually saying is that he would have given a better decision than the authority figures who gave that advice. But there is absolutely no malice…”

So just after Rees-Mogg had apologised, now Bridgen has given them an almighty headeache.

Then another thing. I don’t watch Good Morning Britain – I think that Breakfast is far superior and I love radio – but it turns out that the Tories have apparently doctored a video of Sir Keir Starmer talking about Brexit.

In the Tory version of the interview, which the party put out on social media, Starmer is basically stumped being asked about Labour’s position on the EU, with his face appearing under the caption “Labour has no plan for Brexit”.

Except… that’s not what happened. Starmer actually gave a lengthy answer.

You know you’ve screwed up when even Piers Morgan said way the video was edited by the Tories was “misleading and unfair”.

The Conservative chairman, James Cleverly, went out to defend the interview on a morning media round. All I will say is that it did not go well.

First he got skewered by Piers Morgan, then “obviously edited” and denied it had been “doctored.” Then he went to TalkRadio to have an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer, and that is where this happened:

All this and they haven’t even launched their campaign yet before the Welsh Secretary has to resign. You can read on that for yourself. A top start for the evens shots to win a majority.

The Greens also have their launch. Not many people in the punting world might notice this but 506,000 votes can have influence in the right places and I wonder where they’ll stand aside for the Remain Alliance – there are some close seats already….

Another day, another launch. We start with the Lib Dems in Westminster. I wait to record a video, whilst watching Jo Swinson talk about how she’s standing to be Prime Minister. I’ve no doubt that she’s a better candidate for the Lib Dems than Tim Farron (just YouTube him) and Vince Cable, but I wonder what will be the case if she gets a handy amount of seats and ends up being Kingmaker. No, I don’t see her getting a majority.

She tells the audience that she’s not going to put either Corbyn or Johnson into Government. This is understandable from the sense that she’s going for disaffected voters from both parties but then she’s asked a good question about Independence. She says she wouldn’t rule out putting any Labour leader into Number 10 who said they would allow a second IndyRef but hasn’t said she’d the let the SNP have one. What’s that about going in circles?

Then I look back – I’ve got to get filming now – and she’s talking about Corbyn and nuclear subs. Apparently, Jo Swinson’s first and instant response was that he would not be prepared to order submarine commanders to fire nuclear missiles when asked about why he shouldn’t be Prime Minister. Good to know this will be a calm election.

Those readers who know me will be aware of the fact that I am a big watcher of much BBC political programming – including Politics Live. I have to miss large parts of today’s programme because I’m filming a Labour video but I’m done and about to begin editing the takes.

When I’ve finally got a decent run at things I switch the programme back on and come out of my editing bubble. There’s a long argument about Labour’s Brexit position which involved many people saying that it’s not clear. This baffles me. The Labour Position is to get a new deal and then put it against Remain in a second referendum. What sort of deal, and how many of the party campaign for it, we will learn later but I struggle to find out what is difficult about understanding this position; It is surely a vote to try again, if nothing else. Or is it just me?

An exciting evening is planned. Not just because the Champions League is back – and god I love that competition more than anything – but also because we’ve got constituency betting coming soon. For the last 6 days MRP – a fancy way of polling for those who have never heard of it – has been used for tactical voting websites and people have been losing their marbles on it.

I’ve been inundated with requests for seat by seat betting. I check my work emails and the maestro Gary Burton says that he’s on it. I gather my spreadsheets and wait for the battle to begin.

Until next time….

I know I’ve said it before, but things are really kicking into gear now. I’ve got to write a Melbourne Cup preview, so that is one of the first orders of the day as we have a couple more launch events.

The first is Plaid. We’ve got a seat tally for them of 5 or more – essentially bang on the money for their 2017 performance. Adam Price, their leader, seems energised enough but Wales will be a big battleground with 40 seats up for grabs.

Then to the Brexit Party launching candidates. I can’t help but feel that it’s rather symbolic that all people are listening to is Richard Tice and Nigel Farage. Farage tells the audience that May’s deal is “something you only sign after you’ve been defeated in war.” Good to see that the temperature is coming down, eh?

There’s a big argument about TV debates, as ITV had a head to head between Corbyn and Johnson for one, which, let’s be honest, makes sense. Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem leader, is very upset she’s not been invited. This is also valid. It’s become a story in itself, and one the Lib Dems use to campaign well, so Sky offer a three-way debate.

Then Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister, shows her frustrating – and why not, the SNP being the largest party. I wonder which broadcaster will be smart enough to offer a head to head between Sturgeon and Swinson……

As I write this, there’s been a new speaker elected. It’s Sir Linsday Hoyle, who was one of the three deputies under Bercow. He was odds on and with good reason, as he’d done budgets beforehand with aplomb, had been there at all the big moments, and had also promised to tackle lots of the internal issues of Parliament too.

Many people will miss Bercow and his fanfare – and things certainly will be less shouty and PMQ’s less long – but don’t underestimate how important Hoyle will be. This new Parliament will have a huge amount on its plate, and many big calls to make on Brexit regardless of who comes back to the green benches.

Now off to watch the Melbourne Cup. I really hope the ground is as soft as I’m told it is out there… Until next time….

Friday starts with the launch of the Brexit Party’s campaign. It’s more formal than most of their rallies, which involve big crowds going bananas to populist speeches – it’s a bit lazy to call it a British Trump Rally but you get the picture if you’ve never been to one.

There isn’t anywhere near the energy of the Labour rally – at least that’s how it looks from hundreds of miles away – but it created the big news of the day – Nigel Farage likely to stand across the country instead of having a narrow focus in the seats. And yes, I know that he said any Tories who renounced the Brexit deal would get the benefit of the doubt, but if I suddenly told Ben Keith I’d keep working for Star if I could have his house then there’s only one way that conversation would end.

A couple of thoughts on the Brexit Party position going forward:

  • For all Farage has a big base, will it be much harder for him to get people to turn against this Withdrawal Agreement than May’s? Of those who had heard about his Deal in Mid-October (Survation) 90% of Conservative voters supported it, 73% of Leavers supported it, & a huge 67% of Brexit Party voters supported it. The Brexit Party voters would be likely to turn back to him, but will they alone be enough? Will fatigue mean people accept the deal? Better this Brexit than no Brexit at all?
  • The Brexit Party might have come a long way in short space of time, but their ground game still can’t be as developed as those of the other big parties that they’ll be fighting – and they will be aiming to take on Labour as well as the Tories in a number of their key target seats.
  • So too will candidate selection. Many of the most notable and popular Brexit Party figures are already MEP’s. Even Nigel Farage’s time is limited but in an election many are already saying will just come down to 650 individual contests, will the candidates prove upto the task?

It’s the Breeders’ Cup tonight and I’m looking forward to it. My form research might be a little off given that the last numbers going through my head were all polls, but I do enjoy the event. I might venture out to the pub for it. Then tomorrow, we’ve got the Rugby World Cup final. I’ve staked a fair bit on it, because I didn’t have enough stress in my life. I’m desperately hoping England win but a tight game with a drop goal would be ideal. I don’t half ask for much, do I?

Mum is better today, which was a good start. Also, in case you didn’t know, it’s Poppy season. So when I logged into Facebook, I was delighted to be greeted with this.

I’ve had a lot to do today. Firstly, some boring stuff – a new phone – an upgrade, since I was well overdue. Thankfully it was sorted and I was able to get back to work soon. It’s a half and half day, split between working on the election.

Then I went and watched the Labour Launch. It was very similar to 2017. A bold, radical offering which focused on domestic policy and trying to transform the economy and the British way of life with it. It didn’t move the needle much – we’re still 13/2 on Labour for the most seats – but it’s notable how much happier the labour campaigners are when they’re talking about their agenda and I wouldn’t underrate that factor again.

A personal note. Much of the launch was actually rather nice, but there was a sign of the rather rotten times we do live in when we heard BBC’s Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg & Sky’s Beth Rigby get boos. Many of those in the audience didn’t like the questions Jeremy Corbyn was asked, but does that make the booing anything less than abysmal and infuriating behaviour? I didn’t think so.

The polls are causing some consternation again. First, there’s the Big Tory Lead ™ – which was 17 points with IPSOS Mori and 15 points with YouGov. This is all well and good for Tories and their odds on backers, but in racing terms we have just left the stalls. Good things could well come to those who wait here….

I’m listening right now to LBC. Nigel Farage has an interview with Donald Trump. The headline seems to be that Trump has told him Corbyn “would be so bad for your country, he’d take you into such bad places.” LBC put that out at 5:30 or so but it appears to have backfired judged by these tweets.

It’s worth remembering that 67% of Britons have an unfavourable view of Trump according to YouGov, for a start – and for a party of the left, who seeks to portray themselves as guardians of the NHS, having a Republican President call your leader ‘terrible’ is basically a free campaign advertisement. That said, I’m not sure CCHQ set it up.  It remains to be seen how things such as this play out, but I am guessing one of the most famous men in the world might not move the needle much here. We shall see……

So we haven’t even begun and yet we know who will decide the next election. He’s an older, white, non-graduate man from areas in the North of England with strong rugby league traditions which tend to vote Labour. He’s called ‘Workington Man’. A Tory think tank created him and apparently he’s the only voter worth targeting now, which will make all the women in this country rather annoyed. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

He’s called ‘Workington Man’. A Tory think tank created him.

Mum has to come home because she’s not feeling well. I get her some water and tea and then there’s the last PMQ’s and I begin eyeing up some big plans. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

There’s a new whiteboard potentially on its way and I’m already thinking about travel. There are over 10 Scottish seats in the 30 most marginal seats and the North West is there too. Time to take the board for a spin in the future, I think. I wonder how ‘Bet With Star’ sounds with in a Scottish Accent. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

So we’ve got a General Election. I felt weird when the vote was announced, despite the fact I’d been waiting for it for what felt like a year or so. We all knew when Iain – a BBC correspondent who knows Labour inside out – tweeted that the Shadow Cabinet would be backing it. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

The day was spent in anticipation, going back and forth with Star’s Gary Burton about what odds we’d have. This is always a tricky process – you want to have all the markets in the world but you also can’t afford to be picked off left right and centre – but we managed it and had popular offering for the ‘Next Government After the General Election’ which covers coalitions. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

Labour are 13/2 (13.33%) to win the most seats and 16/1 (5.88%) for a majority, and it’s 66/1 (5.88%) that we have a Lib Dem majority. Someone should get in contact with Jo Swinson. Perhaps I will. You never know, she might be a punter. I grab what I think might be the last half decent night’s sleep in the next three months. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

Someone should get in contact with Jo Swinson. Perhaps I will.

The vote is called and the prices are up. We go 1/8 (an 88.5% chance in layman’s terms) on the Tories to win the most seats December, and 5/6 (54.65%) for a Tory majority. STAR GENERAL ELECTION MARKETS

Views of authors do not necessarily represent views of Star Sports Bookmakers.