Village People: Boris Johnson thrills faithful, but not with his punctuality

At the party conferences

One of the remarkable aspects of Boris Johnson's speech to the Conservative conference yesterday is that it started and ended on time. But the Mayor was true to himself at the previous evening's rally.

For the first 15 minutes after the meeting was scheduled to begin, nothing happened. Then began the warm-up, consisting of a video carrying the message "three minutes to the Mayor", then a minute's worth of footage of Boris, then "two minutes to the Mayor", "one minute to the Mayor", the lights went up, the audience applauded... but no Mayor.

After a hiatus, they ran the video again. Still no Mayor.

They ran the video a third time, and as the message "two minutes to the Mayor flashed up", the man himself walked on stage, in darkness. But his audience loved him so much, they forgave him the wait.

Dress to impress

I'm not one to stereotype the Conservatives as the party of the stinking rich, but there is a stand in the conference centre selling brown leather jackets at £1,150 a pop.

Plain tweeting worthy of a medal

Lawrence Clarke, a 20-year-old athlete, was invited by the Culture, Media and Sports Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, on to the conference stage to talk about the Olympics. Young Lawrence need not have felt out of place: his father is a baronet and his uncle is the Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. But that didn't stop him going off message on his Twitter feed. "Off to #Manchester for some Tory claptrap", he announced early on Monday. Hours later, he tweeted: "Always good to be roped into a conference totally unbriefed ... #toryparty need better press officers."

That was Monday. Yesterday, both tweets had been deleted, to be replaced by a rueful: "i now see how people can misconstrue things completely. nevermind, (sic) we shall let the running do the talking now."

Economic bubbly

Good news for Tory conference-goers: the champagne ban imposed two years ago, at a time of a wage freeze in the public sector, has been lifted this year. And the really good news: 5 per cent of the vast takings from alcohol sales at the nearby Midland Hotel are going to party funds.

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