Andy McSmith's Diary: Andy Burnham mistakes Brighton for Shea Stadium

The shadow Home Secretary gave a karaoke rendering of 'I Saw Her Standing There' at the Mirror's party

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Indy Politics

The social event of the Labour conference was undoubtedly Tuesday night’s party hosted by the Mirror. Among the delights were a tall, muscular man in drag; the Labour MP Simon Danczuk on the dance floor with his new love, Claire Hamilton; and the shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham, doing a karaoke rendering of the Beatles classic “I Saw Her Standing There”. 

The applause must have given Burnham confidence, because the next day he delivered his conference speech, certain of a rapturous reception. A copy of his speech, circulated before he spoke, began with him saying: “Conference, what a welcome – not bad for a runner-up!”

Meaty scripts

Richard Heller, the writer propelled to fame as the unacknowledged author of much of Jeremy Corbyn’s conference speech, lost his job as a Labour special adviser in the 1980s; he went to Hollywood hoping to become a scriptwriter. It didn’t work out, but he did claim to have made an original addition to the script of a horror film in which zombies scoured the earth crying “Meat! Meat!” Heller tried to add the cry “Two veg! Two veg!” The joke was lost on Americans, and he returned to become a leader writer for the Mail.

Slogan abuse

The phrase “Je Suis Charlie” began as a defiant statement against those who would kill in the name of religion; but like any slogan, it is open to misuse. When The Scarborough News asked John Raper, a Conservative councillor from Ryedale, why his Facebook page contained anti-Muslim “jokes”, including one about people having a whip round to buy petrol to help Muslim protesters set themselves on fire, Mr Raper replied: “Je suis Charlie” and hung up.

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