Andy McSmith's Tory Party Conference Diary: Poor old Patrick O’Flynn’s been done up like a kipper


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Indy Politics

Generations of political students will be grateful to Ukip for publishing the full texts of all speeches from its recent conference on its website. Every golden word uttered by Nigel Farage, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and the “lesser kipper” frontbenchers is there.

But hang on, what happened to the speech by economic spokesman, Patrick O’Flynn, in which he unveiled the policy to slap a heavy tax on expensive shoes and handbags – the policy that Nigel Farage brutally ditched two days later? There is no mention of it. It has been suppressed.

Poor old Patrick O’Flynn must know how Trotsky felt when Stalin had him airbrushed out of all those photographs.

Look out! They’re not behind you…

But all is not rosy in Ukip’s garden. Kit Waistell, the parliamentary candidate for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has resigned after a running feud with party members. “I am constantly attacked by those who should be behind me,” he complained in a letter to the Hereford Times. His departure was not mourned by the West Midlands Ukip MEP, Jim Carver. “This is a clear case of someone jumping before they were pushed… (and) great news for Ukip,” he said.

Iain Dale’s asset protection explained at last

Political publishing is something people do because they enjoy it, and believe in, rather than in the hope that it will make them rich. The latest accounts for the crop of publishing businesses controlled by Lord Ashcroft – who was rich before he became a UK publisher – show that the ConservativeHome and Conservative Intelligence websites, and the book publishers, Biteback, all lost money in 2013. However, Biteback’s balance sheet improved somewhat, as losses fell from £583,000 to £261,000.

It was the year in which the publisher, Iain Dale, had the bright idea of buying up the memoirs of Gordon Brown’s notorious former attack dog, Damian McBride. Who can forget how Dale reacted when a homeless old man with a placard placed himself in shot while McBride was on television promoting the book – leaping on him and wrestling him to the ground. We can see why. The protester was interfering with Biteback’s most prized asset.

Mrs Howard pays for Michael’s inactivity

It is nearly 11 years since Michael Howard handed leadership of the Conservative Party over to David Cameron. What is he doing now, you ask. Not much, according to an interview his wife, Sandra, has given to the Buckinghamshire Advertiser.

“As a novelist, I’m at my most productive when the house is still and silent,” she said. “Yet these days Michael has a maddening habit of popping his head round the door of my study, just as a sentence is crystallising in my head, and enquiring chirpily: ‘Coffee?’”