Simon Carr: Brighter than Brighton with baffling Boris
Sketch: The other Eastend blond wades into 'stale and miserablist' Labour
Monday 05 October 2009
Sunshine! Blue skies! Fluffy white clouds float round the hall. There's a live, high-definition feed from the city showing trees and nice buildings. The outside world, you see, brought into the hermetic conference world of politics.
Eric Pickles came on the widescreen TV (they'd built an extension to it so he'd fit). He was so dull labour watchers must have dared to hope.
But then there was Boris. I'm jumping over those chumps Oliver Letwin and Francis Maude. They spent 15 hours reciting what sounded like the world's most boring list of policy initiatives. This was a feat as some of the policy was quite interesting.
But when someone clapped at one point Letwin admonished him: "You weren't supposed to clap at any point! This is a purely factual list, there is not a single clap line in it!". They really haven't got the hang of this - and their two-year policy hunt could have been done in one week end with a quart of brandy and an ounce of speed. You can get centre-right manifestos off the shelf these days.
But then, as I say, there was Boris. He had his own video - including his Eastender appearance, with that other gorgeous blonde Barbara Windsor eyeing him speculatively.
He talked, he joked, we laughed. He engaged us. He charmed us. He produced a Latin tag "as we say in Walford. Or as we will say in Walford." He compared the Labour high command to "Peckham motorist Harriet Harman driving away from the scene of the crime" leaving others to clean up. Topical jokes are the hardest.
He cleverly defended our financial services industry, "that leper colony in the City" on the basis of the tax revenues they provide for schools and hospitals. And there was much about young people, jobs, enterprise, helping citizens.
The big point. When he calls Labour "stale and miserablist" we don't feel the venom with which even Nice Labour would infuse the remark. Especially as he follows it up with a claim that his lot have has been "so frugal we haven't exhausted the previous administration's reserves of Chateuneuf du Pape" - and again we are directed to our happy place rather than the dark and dripping dungeon that Labour rhetoric inspires.
Likeability is important as Gordon has raised his cack-caked hand and decreed that it shall be the central election issue. The Tories are the same twisted, malevolent, vindictive sadists they always were and their cuts will poison the country - unlike healing Labour cuts.
But Boris is self-evidently a decent, large-minded, intelligent and amusing fellow without a racist or homophobic bone in him. Excuse the Frankie Howard moment there.
And Cameron's almost certainly the same. A decent, liberal, Treasury-bred Tory - it's obvious what he'll want to do.
So this much was clear here in Manchester on Day One. Gordon's rhetorical strategy for the election is a complete dead end.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Video: Woolwich attack - man with bloodied hands and knife addresses camera
Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the mother-of-two hailed as a hero for confronting Woolwich attackers, thought: 'better me than a child'
- 1 Man and woman arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder victim of Woolwich machete attack, named as Drummer Lee Rigby
- 2 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 3 Grace Dent: I’m not sure how these people can avoid being called ‘bigots’. And the more ‘civilised’, the worse they are
- 4 Woolwich murder: They killed, then they performed - these men should be starved of our attention
- 5 Woolwich attack: The EDL will seek to exploit this evil crime for their own evil ends
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.