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Friday, October 10, 2003
The last speech of the conference season

Phew! Thank goodness that's over. I may have been scathing about Brown & Blair but I think that, apart from the representatives in the hall, the World and his wife must have found IDS's contribution nauseating, tedious, and ill-judged. The important thing that he has failed to learn is that, while appeasing, yea even thrilling, the hall (Europe, crime, asylum seekers and 'standards') one must also put in quite a bit for the rest of the populace (NHS, education and services). No wonder there's mutiny afoot.

The big problem is that Blair has stolen the Conservative's clothes; almost anything that IDS says must now appear extreme, ridiculous or both. So, in appealing to the hall, he may have saved his bacon but he will not have advanced his party's electoral prospects one iota. I'll bet Tony and co. were laughing their heads off. Watch the opinion polls. So what about this rebellion, then?

Jon Snow had a bit to say about it last night. The chief whip would, apparently, be calling in five rebels 'for a roasting' Given the connotations with respect to footballers' leisure activities, one has to ask, tastelessly, whether this will be seen as a reward or punishment. In the long run, tastefully, it will surely be seen as a badge of honour (we are the ones fighting to save the country party we love - © H. Gaitskell).

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