In my younger days, party political conferences were very black and white affairs, at least on television. They usually came from Blackpool or Bournemouth. Labour in Blackpool, of course, that great socialist daytrip Mecca of the North, all kiss-me-quick hats and donkey rides, with the smell of chips in the air and a succession of Labour leaders lined up to be hammered by the comrades like targets at the coconut shies.
Men in suits shouted about arcane points of policy above a constant cloud of cigarette smoke and someone, usually Tony Benn, walked out in high dudgeon.
Now Bournemouth, well, that’s a far more genteel, and Tory, resort. Back then it was possibly the most English place in England. Still is, for all I know. A place of pensioners putting at crazy golf and tutting at feckless youth. The suited grandees of the Conservatives were right at home in the Palm Court Lounges and the fake Tudor tearooms.
The Tories didn’t go in for the shouty stuff, as I recall. It all looked more like the regional conference for a rather successful chain of car dealerships. Someone from head office would turn up and read out this year’s sales targets and the delegates would applaud politely and then hit the bars to hoover up G&Ts like prohibition had just been announced.
They never came to Scotland. We didn’t have a seaside resort that started with a B.
Of course, it all changed when colour TV came in, Margaret Thatcher got voice coaching and New Labour adopted the sort of choreography that would have reduced Busby Berkeley to tears of envy.
Tony Blair couldn’t walk on stage without waving. He looked like a deranged bear battling a swarm of particularly savage midgies. Gordon Brown, bless him, tried to look all friendly-like, but had the warmth and elegance of Godzilla crushing a medium-sized family saloon underfoot.
No matter the groovy backdrop, top ten tune or colour co-ordinated staging, they behaved in the regulation Prime Ministerial fashion. Walk to podium, wave a bit, do the speech.
Nobody danced. Until now. That was possibly the most baffling thing a Prime Minister has ever done in my lifetime, even including that twonk Cameron and his “let’s have a referendum” wheeze.
During her recent tour of Africa, Theresa proved conclusively that White Women Called Mrs May Can’t Dance. Why on earth would she think that busting some moves to Abba’s legendary Dancing Queen would make her appear more human? She looked like a short-circuiting Terminator.
What, I wonder, would Margaret Thatcher have made of some PR guru who suggested such an entrance? They’d just be a stain on the carpet by the time she’d finished with them.
Live on television, it was that horrible moment at your cousin’s wedding when your snobby auntie slams down her twelfth Bacardi and Coke, drops the Morningside and unleashes her inner Craigmillar and screams “Ah love that chune, so ah dae” as she lurches to the dance floor.
Perhaps that was Theresa auditioning for her place on Strictly. That’s where all the ex-politicos go these days.
David’s attraction is debatable
Debate, now, that’s the thing. The socialists were all over that. Raging battles would break out over Paper C, Clause 7, sub-paragraph 8 (amended) previously accepted by conference but now considered superseded by Clause 12, paragraphs 18 – 32 (paragraphs 25-27 not included), motion moved by ASLEF, TGWU, USDAW and the Tufty Club.
The Tories brilliantly avoided that particular bear pit of democracy by holding a party conference and nobody came.
David Mundell took part in what looked like a terrible boyband reunion, speaking to a hall emptier than a Fringe show with a no-star review. Mind you, it’s probably not the first time David talked to an empty room.
Stuffing isn’t knocked out yet
Post-surgery healing continues apace and I find myself ridiculously happy to be able to do simple things like lift my hands above my head. I still have to sleep on my back, so at night I have to settle down carefully on my big V-shaped pillow and wedge myself in with cushions. The other night I realised I was basically rehearsing my Lying-in-State.
Carrying heavy bags is still a big no-no, very sensibly, because if I take a shopping bag out, I fill it.
However, one of the handy things they gave me upon my release from Ward 6 was a very useful compression bra. It keeps all the bashed bits in, giving the whole kit and kaboodle support to heal. It also features a neat little pocket arrangement. This is to stick the fake boobs in, on the off chance that I might sport them.
It’s also a tremendously nifty place to stick a tenner in for a wander about the shops, thus removing the danger of a fillable tote bag, although you’d be amazed what I can stuff in that cavity...