Labour conference diary: 30/09/2009
Wednesday 30 September 2009
*Gordon Brown "is like a beetle on its back waving its feet in the air. The best thing to do is to put him out of his misery and stamp on him." So said Peter Carpenter, chairman of the Putney Labour Party and donor of £33,000 to the party, in a BBC interview yesterday. In that atmosphere, whose brilliant idea was it to entertain delegates as they waited for Brown to speak by playing "Sit Down" over the loudspeakers?
The lyrics of this 20-year-old classic by the Manchester rock band James are close to what the Prime Minister must be feeling these days... "It's hard to carry on when you feel all alone. Now I've swung back down again it's worse than it was before..." It is a song, reputedly, about depression and the effect of pills. And if that weren't bad enough, after the speech they played "Moving On Up" by those purveyors of pap house music, M People – "You done me wrong, your time is up... Move right outta here baby. Go and pack your bags." Surely "Golden Brown" by The Stranglers would have been more uplifting?
*An ironic footnote to a story you may remember about Walter Wolfgang, an 86-year-old who was evicted from the Labour conference in Brighton four years ago because he shouted "Nonsense!" during a speech by Jack Straw. The steward who marched him out was Joe Ifill, a Labour activist from Hove. Mr Ifill, 44, is complaining that, for the third year in a row, he has been denied a pass into the party conference.
*In two weeks, it will be 25 years to the day since the IRA blew up the Grand Hotel in Brighton, in an attempt to kill Margaret Thatcher. Five people died; others were crippled for life. Among the guests at a late-night reception in the Grand last night was the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness. The old IRA commander should be thankful that he could relax, enjoy the free refreshment, and not worry that some terrorist might set off a bomb that would bury him in rubble.
*Amazing how radical old Labour politicians become as they leave office. Alan Milburn, who will be quitting the Commons in a few months, gave a valedictory speech at a conference fringe meeting. He called for the scrappingof Trident, of aircraft carriers, ID cards, and all major road schemes. Not quite what he used to say when he was in Cabinet.
*Fiona Phillips, formerly of 'GMTV', supplied yesterday's most cringeworthy moment, doing the warm-up for the Home Secretary, Alan "I love you" Johnson – "He's good-looking, handsome and, at 6ft 2in, would make a good policeman." She even parroted the line used the previous day by Peter Mandelson: "If I can make a comeback, we can make a comeback." By all means make a comeback on television, Fiona, but please, don't take up politics as a career.
*Recent Labour conferences have offered extensive celebrity-spotting, but – Fiona Phillips apart – there have been fewer this year. Even Billy Bragg is away touring. But the cross-dressing comedian Eddie Izzard has been much in evidence. As has Nancy Dell'Olio, famous for being Sven-Goran Eriksson's former squeeze, and a clutch of sporting heroes – Kelly Holmes, Tessa Sanderson and the boxer Amir Khan.
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
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