Diary: If Nick Clegg were an animal... and other crucial policy discussions


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Weapons of mass foundation

Nick Clegg looked even more like David Cameron when his forehead glistened under the lights during his big set-piece speech. Minutes before the not-at-all-vain leader's address began, the security scanners at the main entrance were being rebooted just as his make-up artist was rushing in to apply some deputy prime ministerial foundation. Surely, an aide argued, the nice lady could jump the queue. But the boys in blue refused. Her make-up bag had to be scanned. Who knows what she might have had hidden in her brushes?

Rock the boat

While his ministerial colleagues were taking the fight to the Tories, the business minister, Ed Davey, was messing about on the river. Well, the canal, anyway. With weary delegates scrapping over chairs in the conference hotel, he decamped to a nearby barge to hold his meetings. The 45-year-old is tipped for promotion at the next reshuffle. But would shipping minister be considered a move up or down?

Coalition tensions

After time is called on the day's speeches, the younger delegates retire to the bars to continue discussing the latest conference motions. One reported going back to her apartment with a young man to debate further the finer points of party policy. The following morning, having second thoughts about the tryst (sound familiar, Mr Clegg?), she slipped out early to attend a breakfast fringe meeting. Shortly afterwards her dejected beau came and sat down next to her, though the pair didn't speak for the next 90 minutes. Awkward.

Animal magic

LibDemVoice.org fringe meetings were gripped by the big issues of the day – the merits of quantitative easing, the future of GP consortia, and, if Nick Clegg were an animal, what would he be? Aside from the obvious rhinoceros (thick skin) or tortoise (plodding on), The Guardian's Julian Glover let his imagination run wild. Clegg would be a stallion, happily grazing in a nice field, Glover said. "But if he isn't careful David Cameron will ride him off into the sunset." A horrible image.

Height of insults

Alistair Carmichael, the Lib Dem chief whip, did little to endear himself to the diminutive Commons Speaker. Taking bids at a fundraising auction, he said the 70cl bottle of John Bercow's malt was very rare because they're "usually only available in miniatures".

Never-never land

Simon Hughes, Lib Dem deputy leader, has been called many things. Peter Pan (as coined by a Lib Dem grandee) is the latest. We're sure it is because of his eternally youthful outlook on life, and nothing to do with being detached from political reality.

Not laughing now

Sarah Teather's buttock-clenchingly awful attempt at stand-up comedy ("Do you watch Strictly? Of course you do") was the talk of the conference for all the wrong reasons. The spoof Twitter hashtag #sarah teatherjokes was throwing up gems. MediaSlate suggested: "What's orange and rhymes with a carrot? Peter Hain...arrot". But Ellie Cumbo captured the wit of the schools minister perfectly: "Knock, knock." "Hang on, I'll get the door."