The Conservative Party in Blackpool: On the Front

IT STARTED without a kiss. Normal practice, of course, is to press the lips reverently to Baroness Thatcher's cheek however rude she has been about you. John Major did it last year, but he was let off yesterday - thanks to Norman Fowler.

Earlier this week Sir Norman delivered quite a good joke about John Smith's kissing of his deputy, Margaret Beckett, on the Labour platform last week - 'with all the sincerity with which Doctor Crippen used to embrace his wife'.

So when negotiations began between the offices of the leader and the Lady on platform protocol, it was pointed out that nasty minds might abuse Sir Norman's gag. Kissing, it was decided, was off.

The Prime Minister muttered a few words near the ear as he took the hand, and then patted it - a touch patronisingly. Rather as Dr Crippen in his surgery might have consoled a hypothermic granny worried about VAT on her fuel bills.

THE problem with being a holy relic of the Conservative Party is that you are just too venerable (or dangerous) to speak. Lady Thatcher is not at her best in silence: she can only cock her head and watch Kenneth Clarke like the goodest girl in the class - which he must have found unnerving. However, Ted Heath is a top mime. When he stood at the end of David Hunt's speech and slowly turned his back on her it was perfectly obvious that he was being a giant panda at the zoo sulkily refusing a new mate flown all the way from China.

Sir Edward looked at her just once, when David Hunt called for loyalty and unity in the party, and fixing her in his stare clapped long and ponderously.

'BLACKPOOL is a horrible place,' the Harlow MP Jerry Hayes wrote in a recent column for Amnesty International. 'The last hotel I stayed in I was the chairman of the escape committee. I've heard of people having puppy fat but they have got landladies who look as though they have swallowed the whole dog.'

Mr Hayes should have been more guarded. He arrived yesterday to find that the Blackpool Evening Gazette had mobilised the furious Blackpool landladies - 'You don't need to be a feminist to take offence at such rudeness' (Pauline, of the Colwyn Hotel). In order to get a bed in Blackpool he had to be photographed for the local newspaper apologising and kissing a variety of local landladies of different sizes.

MOST disappointing freebie of the week was the Scotch Whisky Association's offer of a bottle of whisky with which to toast the Chancellor's speech yesterday. It turned out to be a miniature, only a third full, with a label saying 'Scotch Whisky. 66 per cent Pure Tax.' Still, they got rid of 2,000 of them.

NORMAN Lamont came on like another ghost from the past for his Bow Group fringe meeting - black suit, white shirt and badger hair on a shroud-yellow background. But he was relaxed, urbane and even funny - a relief at a conference that has been marked by ministerial humour at its worst.

He told the meeting: 'Recession is when your neighbour loses his job, depression is when you lose your job. Recovery is when the Chancellor loses his job.' Not bitter, the former Chancellor went on to express the hope that his successor would not suffer both a double dip and a double recovery.

News
people
News
people
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
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

Science Teacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Key stage 3 and 4 Teacher requi...

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...

NQT Secondary Teachers

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence