Village People: 'Kettled' delegates who reached boiling point

At the party conferences...
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Indy Politics

They might have been out of government for 16 months, but Labour's worst control freak tendencies remain. Hundreds of increasingly frustrated delegates and journalists cleared security in good time for the leader's speech only to find their way barred to the conference centre. It didn't help when they learned they were being "kettled" to ensure television crews got good pictures when Ed and Justine swept out of their hotel for the great speech. Suddenly it dawned on the penned masses – some of whom had been told to stay where they were for 15 minutes – that if they walked together there was nothing the men and women of G4S could do to stop them. And off they walked, delaying plans for the Milibands' royal procession. As one over-emotional participant observed: "It was like a civil rights march in apartheid-era South Africa."

If your name's not down...

An awkward incident at the Guardian's reception when members of the "Hacked Off" campaign team turned up for warm white wine and nibbles.

You might forgive the staff on the door for not recognising the former Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris (despite his omnipresence on television during his party's conference last week). But what about the award-winning star of Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary and Love Actually? No, there was no mention of a Hugh Grant on the guest list and he couldn't be let in. Only after frenzied pleas from the paper's top brass was the actor admitted.

The ladies' men...

It's official... Labour is the party of equal rights. When a men's loo at the party conference centre was out of action due to maintenance, a steward was positioned to tell delegates: "Use the ladies!"

Pension poll

Ask a silly question... the Public and Commercial Services union has been polling delegates over whether they favour the Coalition's plans to alter indexation of pensions from the retail price index to the generally lower consumer price index. Funnily enough, they have come out against the move by a margin of 99.7 per cent to 0.3 per cent. Who's the 0.3 per cent? Apparently he "wanted to play devil's advocate".

Balls seeks balance

He wants a "more balanced" approach to cutting the national deficit. But is he adopting the same principle for his own diet? Just before the Independent fringe, Ed Balls was spotted wolfing down a Double Decker bar. His excuse was that it was all he had eaten for more than 12 hours (apart from a Mini Mars).

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