Friday 01 October 2004
Lieutenants of Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, had a taste of power, if only on the dance-floor, at the Daily Mirror party - the end of conference event when everyone lets their hair down.
There was a brief Blair-Brown rapprochement as Ian Austin, the Chancellor's doggedly loyal spin doctor, boogied with Jo "funky" Gibbons, aide to Cherie Blair, to the sound of The Commitments.
But the Brownites soon dominated the dance-floor, as Ed Balls, the former chief economic adviser to the Treasury, and Sue Nye, the Chancellor's long-serving political secretary, got on down with Douglas Alexander. Onlookers gasped at Dougie's disco technique. "He's the minister for funk," said one admiring colleague. One source boasted: "We may not have taken over the party, but we've taken over this party."
Meanwhile, the Blairites could only muster Ben Bradshaw, the Environment minister, and No 10 spinner Darren Murphy who joined the mosh pit to the strains of Abba, Status Quo and Van Morrison.
The kings of old employed food tasters to ensure they would not be poisoned. Not so Tony Blair. He was ordered to sip his water as he brought it into the conference centre alongside Labour's rank and file, who have had to taste their beverages to ensure that they are not bringing noxious liquids into the hall.
Jack Straw laughed off his recent unfortunate handshake with Zimbabwe's President, Robert Mugabe, which he blamed on poor lighting at the UN.
Mocking John Redwood in his conference speech, Mr Straw said that he had even shaken the Tory frontbencher's hand "and I could see him".
Former steelworkers from Redcar on Teesside led a stirring rendition of Labour's traditional anthem "The Red Flag", which for years embarrassed New Labour until it made a return last year. The singers, known as the Heavy Metal Opera, accompanied the opera star Suzannah Clarke.
Blunder of the day
Jack Straw again, who exploded the myth that the European constitution could force the Queen to abdicate.
Singing "Jerusalem" with the steelworkers to close the conference. Unlike John Redwood's famous Welsh national anthem gaffe, he even knew the words.
The party's over for Gordon Brown, who flew from Brighton early to attend the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in Washington.
Quote of the day
John Prescott: "Old Labour or New Labour, real Labour or in Labour, skimmed, semi-skimmed or full-fat Labour. I don't care what you call yourselves as long as you are Labour, as long as you care enough to want another Labour government."
As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”
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- 3 Crystal Palace next manager latest: Palace consider Ally McCoist - EXCLUSIVE
- 4 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 5 Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'
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West poised to join forces with Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
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