Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and the For the Many podcast with Jacqui Smith.

Wednesday really did seem a Ground Zero or reset day in the United States. Donald Trump departed much more quietly than I thought he might, and apparently even left Joe Biden a nice letter on the desk in the Oval Office. As well he might, given he didn’t attend the inauguration.

Even his farewell address at Andrews Air Force Base was quite muted, in front of only a couple of hundred people. These didn’t include Mike Pence, now former vice president, who pointedly chose to attend Biden’s inauguration instead.

The beginning of a new presidency is always a time for glass half-full optimism, but the tasks facing the new president are daunting to say the least.

I wrote last week that I doubted if Biden had the imagination or the energy to unite a very divided nation. His speech on the steps of Capitol Hill on Wednesday struck all the right notes, even if the delivery wasn’t what it might have been.

My suspicion is that this will be much more of a co-presidency than usual, with Kamala Harris playing much more of a central role in government than is usual for a vice president.

She needs to carve out a proper role if she is to be given a chance to prove herself in advance of what is surely an inevitable run for the Democratic nomination in 2024.

That is assuming an 82 year old Biden doesn’t fancy a second term. Friends in Washington tell me he’d have to be dragged out of the Oval Office kicking and screaming.

Becoming president at 78 shows, I suppose, that you should never give up on your dreams, and that you’re never too old.

I’ll be 61 at the 2024 election. Perhaps I should revive my political ambitions…

On the other hand, tending my roses in my Norfolk garden holds more allure nowadays. #oldbeforemytime

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I learned an interesting lesson Twitter this week.

My friend Daniel Forrester alerted me to this post from the CBS show 60 minutes, in which Bill Clinton reads the letter George H W Bush left for him on the Oval Office desk.

The lesson I learned was that people are quite happy to reply to a Tweet they haven’t read properly.

Most of the responses I got were along the lines of how could I possibly maintain that Clinton knew how to behave when he’d got a blow job in the Oval Office etc etc.

They ignored the fact the Tweet was about Bush, 41, a man who embodied the very essence of public service.

I was assailed with insults. However much I protested, it seemed to make it worse.

God I hate Twitter.

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Allegra Stratton, the very capable new Downing Street Official Spokeswoman, was supposed to commence live press conferences ten days ago.

It didn’t happen and we’re told the whole idea has been put on hold indefinitely because it was felt inappropriate to commence them during a lockdown.

Hmm. That has all the ring of a desperate excuse about it. I’d have thought now was exactly the time that the Government should be utilising all communications methods at its disposal.

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When a government department makes a monumental cock-up it’s usually the Secretary of State that has to face the music. It doesn’t get much more serious than deleting 400,000 records of criminals.

Yet it wasn’t the Home Secretary with whom the buck has stopped. It is her junior, Kit Malthouse, the policing minister, who has had to explain it in the media and make a statement to the House of Commons.

In the Blair years, home secretaries were forced to resign over less.

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Hilary Benn is a politician I admire, but this week he has been whinging that his Brexit Select Committee has been abolished and not had the chance to vet the trade deal with the EU.

He should be grateful it wasn’t abolished at the same time as the department it was scrutinising. The fact is, a trade deal should be scrutinised by the International Trade Department Select Committee.

We are now out of the EU and there is no need for Benn’s select committee to continue. As well he knows. Otherwise there would be a precedent for there to be a select committee on virtually everything.

If he’s so desperate to continue it, he could turn it into an All Party Parliamentary Group. I’m sure there would be some financially-munificent arch Remainers who’d love to fund it.

Give me strength.

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