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Conference special

“Please don’t applaud.

It may irritate your neighbour”

Edward Heath, Conservative conference, October 1981 Politicians don’t always receive a favourable reception. Edward Heath played on the less than ecstatic audience with this sardonic quip.

“My wife doesn’t like to have her hair blown about” John Prescott, Labour conference, September 1999 Prescott’s reply to criticism over using his Jaguar to travel 250 yards to the conference centre earned him the new moniker of ‘Two Jags’.

“Wherever I am, whatever I do, I’m with you”

Tony Blair, Labour conference, September 2006 Tony Blair’s swansong brought the Blair decade to a dramatic close, as even implacable critics in his own party realised they might miss him.

Let me say this clearly to the country – the Liberal Democrats are nobody’s poodles” Charles Kennedy, Liberal Democrat conference, September 1999 After revelations that his predecessor held out vainly for a coalition with Blair, Kennedy reasserted the Liberal Democrat’s independence with verve.

I want to be prime minister” Nick Clegg, Lib Dem conference, September 2009 Nick Clegg sought to paper over the cracks of internal conference squabbles by asserted his statesmanship – not knowing he would soon become deputy PM.

Back to basics” John Major, Conservative conference, October 1993 After announcing a push for public probity, Major – and the government’s credibility – was undermined by a slew of revelations about his colleagues’ infidelities.

The end of a thousand years of history” Hugh Gaitskell, Labour conference, October 1962 With this loftily-crafted phrase, Gaitskell encapsulated his opposition to the prospect of Britain joining the European Economic Community.

There was I, waiting at the church”JimCallaghan,TUCconference, September 1978 Deep in the Winter of Discontent, Callaghan taunted those wanting a general election by singing ‘Waiting at the Church’.

September 2008 | Total Politics | 17

October 2010 | Total Politics | 17