Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Conference Diary: Do as I say...

"If I'm appointed Justice Secretary in the next Conservative administration I will end Jack Straw's serial selective and cynical trailing of government policy in the media," the shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve pledged yesterday... in a speech selectively trailed by his personal spin doctor the night before it was delivered.

Bubbling under

George Osborne spent yesterday dodging a fake waiter offering him a glass of liquor. It was a stunt by the Daily Mirror, who hoped to snatch a photo of the shadow Chancellor, glass in hand. (David Cameron was so-pictured on the paper's front page with the headline "Fizzy Rascal".) There was dispute over what drink had been offered to George, it being alleged that Mirror finances are so dire they could not afford champagne. Sources say it was an entirely new beverage called "lager toff", consisting of cheap beer with a dash of bubbly.

Bradshaw barney

Osborne's interview by Evan Davis on Radio 4 at breakfast time yesterday prompted rakish Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw to spit out his Coco Pops and resume pitched hostilities with his former employer, the BBC. Bradshaw denounced "another wholly feeble and biased Today programme rounded off with a fawning interview with a Tory pundit!" (It was actually analysis from The Independent's political commentator Michael Brown.) Calm down!

What goes around...

Political blowhard Michael White (he of a rival left-wing organ) has railed against the gossipy excesses of right-wing bloggers, memorably roasting troublemaker Paul Staines, of the "Guido Fawkes" site, on Newsnight. But those online protagonists have been waiting, watching – and are now circulating photos of our moustachioed hero "Sir" Michael slumped in a chair at the Manchester conference centre. The old bird appears either to be resting his eyes, or focusing very intently at the papers piled on his lap. So unkind.

Fall from grace

David Trimble has been hopping about on crutches à la Mr Spiggott from the Peter Cook-Dudley Moore sketch "One Leg Too Few". ("Mr Spiggott, you, a one-legged man, are applying for the role of Tarzan — a role for which, traditionally... two legs would seem to be the minimum requirement.") The former first minister would only explain, cryptically: "I had a fall a little while ago and hurt my knee. I'm afraid to say that my mistake was jumping when I should have stayed still. It was nothing to do with cows... The crutches have been a source of amusement for people at conference. I've laughed along – what else can you do?"

Eddie the Eagle

The current leader of the Wii charity ski jumping competition is Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, 47, who leapt an impressive 191 virtual metres, ahead of Sir George Young, 68, at 171 metres. The wooden spoon winner looks set to be weak-thighed shadow culture minister Ed Vaizey, 41, who leapt a sad 53 metres.