Total Politics - October 2010
“It all makes sense after 14 pints. Everything makes sense after 14 pints. John Redwood looks sane. Michael Portillo looks loyal. After 14 pints, even William
Hague looks like a prime minister”
Tony Blair, Labour conference,
After Hague boasted of drinking “14 pints a day”
in his youth, Blair’s witty broadside ridiculed most of the Conservative cabinet.
I’m Conservative, black and British and proud of all three” Lurline Champagnie, Conservative conference, October 1985 Champagnie’s unprecedented address from the conference floor marked a milestone in racial equality for the Conservative Party.
No time for a novice” Gordon Brown, Labour conference, September 2008 Brown fought to reassert himself, simultaneously defusing David Cameron and David Miliband as political threats with this stern intonation.
Walter Wolfgang, Labour conference,
This single heckle prompted burly security guards to bundle the frail Labour
Party member out of the venue, with eerily Orwellian tones.
“Heseltine moment” David Miliband, Labour conference, September 2008 Miliband risked accusations of arrogance when he indiscreetly confided to aides – and a journalist standing behind him – that he had toned down his speech to avoid “a Heseltine moment.”
“The Conservative Party is dying – why would you want to give it the kiss of life?” Robert Kilroy-Silk, UKIP conference, October 2004 Former talk-show host Kilroy-Silk’s caustic remark against the Tories captured the public indifference about Michael Howard’s Conservatives.
18 | Total Politics | October 2010
All three bigger parties competing with each other in some kind of ‘virility test’ to see who can slash public spending in the most brutal way. As ‘chainsaw Nick’ does battle with ‘George the Axe’...” Caroline Lucas, speech to Compass meeting at Labour conference, September 2009 Lucas, the Green party leader, skewered the male party leaders’ machismo on cuts to make her case for maintaining high public spending.
Sinn Féin and the IRA must give up terrorism or be left behind” Peter Robinson, DUP conference, May 2004 Robinson’s warning about the IRA’s future came in the atmosphere of prospective devolution, as the IRA remained a residual force of terrorism.
Let’s show that the Conservative Party is ready to lead again” David Davis, Conservative conference, October 2005 Front-runner Davis asserted his credentials to lead the Conservatives back into power but was outclassed by a younger, more “compassionate” rival.
Why am I the first Kinnock in a thousand generations to be able to get to university? Was it because our predecessors were thick? Does anybody really think that they didn’t get what we had because they didn’t have the talent or the strength or the endurance or the commitment? Of course not. It was because there was no platform upon which they could stand” Neil Kinnock, Welsh Labour conference, May 1987 Kinnock’s passionate tribute to his family was so good that even Joe Biden was caught lifting the passage for one of his own speeches.
“If I can come back, we can come back”
Peter Mandelson, Labour conference,
September 2009 In the uphill electoral struggle, Mandelson joked about his triumphant return to the
Lords as evidence that Labour could win again.
“I hope that this isn’t a political gimmick” Chris Grayling, Conservative conference, October 2009 Grayling’s reply about General Richard Dannatt becoming an adviser faced only one problem – his own party were the ones seeking Dannatt’s help.
September 2008 | Total Politics | 19
October 2010 | Total Politics | 19