Conservative conference diary: A year is a very long time in politics
Sunday 09 October 2011
Some people have all the fun. But not Eric Pickles. The 59-year-old said he had totted up all the conferences and spring forums and calculated he'd spent an entire year of his life at one Tory talking shop or another. Some of the rioters got less time in prison.
If Nick Clegg wants tips on beefing up his role, a former IRA leader might offer inspiration, apparently. "Clegg needs to be less John Prescott and more Martin McGuiness," says a Tory minister, suggesting he mirror the Deputy First Minister's role of running Northern Ireland jointly with the First Minister. Except McGuinness stood down last month. Are the Tories trying to tell Clegg something?
No Ken do
Further signs that Ken Clarke could end up defecting to the Lib Dems. A joke is going around the Foreign Office that the coalition's views on Europe "stretch from Iain Duncan Smith to Ken Clarke, with the Lib Dems somewhere in between".
"It's a long, hard road back to rigour, but we're on our way," David Cameron boasted of his schools reforms. But does anyone know what he's on about? Nigel Fletcher, who worked for DC in opposition, claims his old boss was always a fan of "rigour" in education. "Polling once showed us many people didn't understand the word," Fletcher reveals. "He didn't care."
Suited and booted
After a busy week for Team Dave, one member is smartening up his act. Steve Hilton, usually seen in shorts, was spotted at No 10 drinks in a suit. "Well, jacket, tie and jeans," says our fashion spy.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish independence: What you shouldn't tweet about if you want to avoid jail today
- 3 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 4 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 5 Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
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