Tory Party Conference Sketch: At conference, even Thatcher’s ghost gets a standing ovation

 

Daringly, the Conservative conference started with its inspirational highlight, Thatcher: the movie – a nostalgia vehicle which brought the audience to their feet in what may prove the one unequivocally enthusiastic standing ovation of the week. The iconic images included Mrs T be-goggled and all in white in the turret of a Challenger tank: a 20th century Boadicea as played by Isadora Duncan. Or the lady at her shimmering sexiest at a 1976 meeting in Finchley: “I stand before you in my red star chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up and my fair hair gently waved, the iron lady of the western world.” By this point you had begun to fear for the pulse rate of older party representatives.

A supporting cast of Cabinet contemporaries and “Thatcher’s children” – including David Cameron and George Osborne – eulogised her, the latter somewhat hyperbolically. “She was really the first post-war Prime Minister to say Britain did have a strong role in the world and we’re going to assert it.” OK, the Chancellor was only born in 1971, but what about Attlee, post-1951 Churchill, Macmillan, and – however disastrously – Eden?

Still, no one does retro better than the Tories and after the tribute, the party chairman Grant Shapps valiantly tried to clamber aboard her bandwagon. “My friends, I know you’ll agree with me... There will only ever be one Margaret Thatcher.” They did. Though some may secretly hope for great things from Theresa May – whose mention by Shapps drew less muted applause than some others he name-checked. Like Shapps’s co-chair Lord Feldman. Unsurprisingly, since the audience was composed of the very same “swivel-eyed loons” Feldman was obliged to deny having called them in May.

Shapps has shaken off the mini-incubus of having once gone by the name of Michael Green. He gave an account of how “inspired” by Thatcher, he had started a printing business in 1980. He would “never forget” those early days “going to the cinema,  only to find … I’d missed the best bits because I had been so deep in thought worrying about the cash flow”. It’s OK, Grant, we can help. Richard Gere does carry off Debra Winger at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman!

Shapps said the business had benefited from Thatcher’s Enterprise Allowance Scheme. But in his Evening Standard interview on Friday, he said it was her Loan Guarantee Scheme. Maybe he got both. Or maybe Shapps got one – and Michael Green the other.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Recruitment Genius: Plant Fitter - Construction Industry

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This well established construction equipment d...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Factory Operatives

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003