The Labour Party in Blackpool: Chippendale's muscular attack on Majorism: On the Front

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The Independent Online
IS GORDON BROWN too sexy? He is sexier than the rest of the Labour leadership - he stands out on the conference platform like a Chippendale at a men's group. But is he too sexy for his job?

Brown's physical attractions are many - and thrilling. The rocky brow above eyes of gleaming jade. The kept-you-up- all-night pallor with those cruel, rose-red lips. The real hair. A man to cling to in a sterling crisis. But it's the voice that really sends you, a great engulfing lava flow, bubbling unstoppably from some asthmatic volcano deep in that broad chest. It all looks good, sounds good, but what does it mean?

Gordon Brown could be just too much for the movie. Arnold Schwarzenegger cast in the Labour Party's Ealing comedy? Arnie could have done Brown's job in yesterday's economy debate - Arnie the Terminator came up with the world's most succinct catchphrase: 'F*** you, a**hole'. Brown is no less to the point.

But, at the receiving end, you think - come on Gordy, please, we know you're right and they're wrong but do you have to blow them all away? Couldn't you just maim some? Or humiliate them to death with an argument; send them whimpering into retirement with a critical analysis, or a brilliant policy shot that rips open, for us all to mock, the rattling matchboxes they call their brains?

Nah. Gordy's packing, so he's shooting. 'If I draw, someone dies.' The Brown boot puts the door on the floor: 'I say was there ever anything more to Majorism than monetarism]' The bad guys cower, whimpering. 'Hasta la vista, baby]', Brown's lip curls, pitiless. 'We have a Cabinet with NO leader.' Argh] 'A Chancellor with virtually NO Exchequer.' Ooof] 'A Prime Minister with NO ideas, NO friends and NO future]' Ai- eeee] Blood and bits of Tory everywhere.

The problem is, does anyone really enjoy this stuff? It's a bit silly having to spend conference with a cushion on your lap for the frightening bits. And after Brown, avenging angel Robin Cook came over like a movie you could watch with the kids. He constructed a point or two, had a bit of a debate.

Brown takes no prisoners. Bringing his orgy of mindless evisceration, or speech, to an end he emptied a last, devastating, magazine: 'Never again should the lives of millions of people and the destinies of national economies be directed by a handful of shirt-sleeved speculators.' Yo, Gordy, waste those shirts] It's double- breasted jackets in a sober worsted material now. No braces] Trouble is, you see, Brown's just too sexy for his shirtsleeves.

BARBARA CASTLE is on cracking form, bristling her way from fringe meeting to fringe meeting, putting everyone in their place. This led Marjorie Mowlam, a Shadow Cabinet member, to remember giving her a lift to a meeting in Stockport.

It was some years ago, and Mo Mowlam was nervous of her eminent passenger. But she plucked up her courage to ask: 'Barbara, do you mind doing up your seatbelt?' 'Mind, darling?' Lady Castle said, 'I introduced them]'

MEANWHILE, we while away the time between rhetorical devices toying with Labour's desperately downbeat conference slogan, 'Agenda for change'. One TGWU official (can't be named, needs his job) has found an anagram: 'A danger of change'. The Independent has a bottle of champagne for anyone who can do better.