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Taking over

James Landale | 10:58 UK time, Thursday, 3 August 2006

In the absence of Nick "Arnie" Robinson, who's off on his well-deserved hols, I'll be taking over the Newslog for the summer.

I am the chief political correspondent for BBC News 24 which means I spend most of my time trying to make sense of politics as it happens on the hour, every hour. For the next few weeks I'll try to do the same here. And don't think there's no politics going on just because MPs are away from Westminster - ministries still churn out policy, committees still sit, and oh, yes, John Prescott will be in charge.

Not yet though. The summer break doesn't really start until Tony Blair's given his last news conference - which we'll see this morning - and heads for the hills. As ever, the Middle East is almost certain to dominate.


Welcome to the blog James.

How "in charge" is John Prescott, and does it include podgy fingers on nuclear buttons?

  • 2.
  • At 11:52 AM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Robert wrote:

Nice to have you along for the ride James. It certainly doesn't look like a quiet time for political correspondants over the summer holdays. In fact can you remember the last time you had a quiet summer holiday? It must have been a while.

As an obsessive observer of current affairs I too will be watching Blair's excuses for his passive approval of Israeli actions in Lebanon at 12 today and I know that it will cram as many abstract nouns as can be fitted in a few thousand words.

Sad but true.

  • 3.
  • At 12:46 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • disgusted licence fee payer wrote:

The only thing Nick Robinson deserves is to be sent to a country like China where DISSENT IS NOT ALLOWED.

How dare he censor licence fee payers!

  • 4.
  • At 01:32 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Ed Clarke wrote:

Why has Blair suddenly started on about ID cards again? Is it to divert comment/attention from other areas where he is less "bold" or "effective".

At least we know that ID cards are unremittingly New Labour and that to avoid them we must vote for other parties at the next election!

  • 5.
  • At 01:47 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Momotaro wrote:

Welcome James. Looking forward to a new blogger at the helm and hoping for a little less anti-Government bias, fewer personality-based rather than issued-based themes and fewer clever-clever questions that the questioner knows is never going to be answered by the person concerned and are designed solely so they can write a "XYZ refused to answer the question that"-type stories. Hope you have a great time here.

Hi James,

Looks like your first job will be to remind Tony that he's not going to be setting the Labour manifesto. Maybe this ID card comment is simply an attempt to divert attention away from his tricks as a poodle?

  • 7.
  • At 02:23 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Andy wrote:

Hello James, hope you have already managed to have a holiday!

As you are taking over the blog from Nick, will the next step be taking his place (or appearing alongside him) in the BBC Newsreaders song for Children in Need?!

November 17th is fast approaching...

Hey, James, good to see you, please remember to dedicate the next two weeks too making sure this great nation of ours is never again left in the hands of Mr Presscott.

  • 9.
  • At 03:19 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • David from EH4 wrote:

I am interested to know what the Foreign Office makes of the PM's latest intervention re Lebanon and whther the challenges from within Labour will come to anything.

  • 10.
  • At 04:21 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Brendan wrote:

To "disgusted licence fee payer"... oh please, get a life. And learn some manners while you do it.

  • 11.
  • At 05:56 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Carl Stock wrote:

Welcome, James! :-)

I often see you on News 24! :)

I hope you enjoy your time in Nick’s seat and providing us with even more behind-the-scenes snippets of information.

  • 12.
  • At 06:05 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Philip wrote:

Good to have you on board James. If you keep up the standard of journalism you showed at the time of the Lib Dem leadership fiasco, Nick may be struggling to drag you away after his holiday..All the best, Philip

  • 13.
  • At 07:01 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:

Welcome James- I thought I recognised you when I was at the house of commons on the new 'black wednesday' (26th April) to watch PMQ's and you were walking very quickly into the house of commons- anyway I now know who you are so I will enjoy your blogging for the next couple of weeks.

Good luck !!!! (reading recent complaints about some of Nicks posts you may need it!!)

  • 14.
  • At 08:50 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • Davy wrote:

Ah.... you mean the Frank spencer of politics .... or should we say lopitics.

He's keeping a very low profile or has he been.... side saddled?

JP I mean.


  • 15.
  • At 10:28 PM on 03 Aug 2006,
  • kim wrote:


"Politics happens on the hour, every hour" ?

A very civilised arrangement !

Welcome, and good luck....


  • 16.
  • At 11:35 AM on 07 Aug 2006,
  • Pamela wrote:

Disgusted licence fee payer - got your political geography wrong there - you mean the US of A.

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