Conference Highlights: the good, the bad and the scary

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Indy Politics

Most dangerous man

Most dangerous man

Rob Blackie, the Liberal Democrats' cerebral director of research. Not only does Mr Blackie have a frightening knowledge of Liberal Democrats' spending figures, but he is also an expert in several martial arts including kick-boxing and wu shu - the preferred form of combat of the film actor Jet Li. In Bournemouth Mr Blackie has been spotted sipping mineral water in preparation for "an assessment" later this week in jujitsu - which he says involves disabling opponents by poking them in the eyes.

Least sporting words

Vincent Cable, the finance spokesman, announcing that funding for the London Olympic bid was not a priority. "The [department's] budget is not going to rise as rapidly as before. We would not single the Olympic bid out above any other arts or sporting event."

Plan of the day

Simon Hughes, the newly elected president of the Liberal Democrats after failing dismally in his bid to become London mayor, plans to establish a unit devoted solely to attacking the Labour Party. Mr Hughes is well qualified, having held his Bermondsey enclave against the encroaching Labour Party in London for more than 20 years. He will be encouraged by findings of the Fawcett Society, which supports the participation of women in public life. It concluded that the Lib Dems were the most-favoured party among the fairer sex.

Star of the show

Nicola Chubb, a pre-op transsexual, who stood in front of a packed conference hall during Charles Kennedy's question and answer session and asked the party leader if George Bush and Tony Blair should be indicted for war crimes.

Quotes of the day

"Before declaring a second war in Iraq, the Prime Minister should surely apologise for the first."

Sir Menzies Campbell, who received a standing ovation for his speech

"The mould may not yet be broken, but the crack is dramatically widening." (on the Lib Dems taking on the Tories and Labour stranglehold)

Baroness Williams of Crosby

Most popular rethink

Conference organisers' decision to send delegates through a "fast track" entrance were scrapped after they forgot to factor in the prospect of rain. There were loud cheers as delegates were told the tortuous route had been scrapped because it was "too slippery".

Oops moment

McDonald's, trying to push itself as a healthy eating venue, is one of the conference sponsors. But the conference directory misprinted its name as Macdonalds. The offending page has apparently been reprinted.

Joke of the day

"I can work more happily with either of them than they can with each other." (On working with Tony Blair or Gordon Brown)

Charles Kennedy

Vox populi

Intrepid folk these reporters. One chap from BBC Radio 5 collared a hapless visitor to Bournemouth on the seafront yesterday. Armed with a cunning wheeze - to show that none of the locals knew or indeed cared about the visitors in their midst - the young fellow set about his task. It did not go to plan. "Could you tell me, sir, what's going on in Bournemouth this week?" asked the reporter. "Why, yes, the Lib Dems are in town for their annual conference," came the confident reply. "Oh, and how long have you known that, then, sir?" inquired the BBC hopeful. The reply: "Quite some time, actually. I'm Simon Kelner, editor of The Independent."

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