Conference Highlights

Old habits die hard

Despite all its promises to mend its ways, Labour still can't let go of its control-freak instincts, with the management of conference proceedings reaching new heights. Spotting a team from Sky television filming near the hall, a Millbank flunkey intervened to get them thrown out of the building. Their offence? Wearing Blair and Brown masks for a light-hearted report. Hours before, the plug had been pulled on the live broadcast of a question-and-answer session between Tony Blair and local party members in Brighton because someone had the temerity to suggest he should quit over Iraq. The previous question, over the pension rights of a lesbian rabbi, had been deemed suitable for broadcast. Meanwhile, delegates were summoned by an airport-style Tannoy yesterday to attend Gordon Brown's annual address.

Brown moment

Gordon Brown calling for cheering delegates to sit down after his keynote speech to the conference so that business could carry on. He begged for calm when they showed no sign of stopping his five-minute ovation.

Blair moment

Wearing a forced smile, Tony Blair clapped lamely while listening to Brown's speech, although he patted him on the back somewhat limply at the end.

Duo of the day

Billy Bragg, the founder of Red Wedge, delivered a tirade against the iniquities of the "capitalist system" at a late-night gig for delegates at the five-star Grand Hotel. He was accompanied on keyboards by Jim Godfrey, a special adviser to Patricia Hewitt, the Trade Secretary, and friend of big business.

Quote of the day

"150 years is too long for promises to be redeemed and a bond of trust to be honoured" - Gordon Brown, not on the Granita leadership deal, but cutting African death rates.

Most dedicated

The New Statesman party, hosted by Geoffrey Robinson, an ally of Gordon Brown, was stuffed with the Chancellor's acolytes. Only the great man himself was missing; he was in his hotel room looking after baby John. A friend remarked: "I suppose he's put the idea of a work-life balance into practice."

Old enemies

You could have cut the atmosphere with a knife when Alastair Campbell and Charlie Whelan, Gordon Brown's belligerent former spin doctor, bumped into each other for the first time in five years. The encounter ended with the former power behind Blair's throne telling his old adversary he would be less welcome than the Daily Mail at his show, "An Audience with Alastair Campbell". But can he afford to turn awaypunters? Tickets for last night's Brighton show were being sold two-for-one.

Old enemies (part 2)

The Countryside Alliance is braving the wrath of Labour faithful with a stand calling for a U-turn on hunting. It has become enemy number one for delegates. Cherie Blair passed by on her yearly trawl of stands, but refused a gift of a cuddly toy fox. Just as well - they have been banned from the hall on the basis they could be "provocative".

Joke of the day

National Executive Committee member Shahid Malik described himself as one of "Thatcher's children" during a debate on industry. Sir Jeremy Beecham, who was chairing proceedings, quipped: "I'm glad we have one of Thatcher's children here who is not on bail."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Recruitment Genius: Production Operative

£13000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to a period of sustained an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Content Leader

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role requires a high level...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent