This will be Miliband's Costa Concordia conference where the captain was too incompetent to land in the lifeboat.
13 Sep 2013 at 13:43
The next three weeks will be a terrible time for political journalists. Can you imagine having to endure the quirkiness of the Lib Dems, the despair that is Labour and the sphincter rattling horror of the swivel eyed Tory loons in full anti Cameroon rant?
And there are the spin doctors clambering over journos like dung beetles wailing how their master’s five point plans will save the nation. Then there are the activists. Earnest Lib Dems who will accuse Clegg of betrayal and demand his removal. Agonised Blairites who will accuse Miliband of betrayal and demand his removal. Finally colonel and Mrs Mad from the shires complaining how Cameron has betrayed them on same sex marriage (think Little Britain projectile vomiting at this juncture) and Europe, slyly hinting that the Faragistas speak of real Tory values.
Lastly there is the booze.
Enough to float what is left of the Royal Navy. Political journalists should be required to wear a Medic Alert bracelet with the legend, “warning if this person is bitten by a dog take the animal to the Priory for immediate detoxification.”
A Scottish journo chum of mind was interviewed by the police after the Brighton bombing and asked where they mind find his fingerprints.
“On the sides of the toilet bowl laddie, that’s where I spent the night.”
I suspect that Cleggy will have a much better time than expected at his conference. Most of the lefty loonies have departed to their Old Labour natural home. And the only people publicly calling for his resignation are Lembit Opik their own Vicar of Stifkey and Lord Oakshott who is so utterly repulsive that even the Samaritans would hang up on him.
This is the Lib Dem’s opportunity to show their individuality, the clear yellow water between them and the Tories. The trouble is their clear yellow water tends to be piss. A mansion tax and a return to the 50% tax rate hardly sets the pulse racing.
What they really should be boasting is how they have civilised the Tory right wing in government by putting the brakes on a mad reform of the NHS and pushing through tax breaks for the low paid.
Despite the valiant efforts of Tom Baldwin and Bob Roberts, two delightful and accomplished spinners, the impression will be that the two Eds are the millstone that will hang round their party and will drown most of them.
For Miliband this will be his Costa Concordia conference where the captain was too incompetent to land in the lifeboat. His trial and execution will be after the election.
For Cameron this should be a triumphal conference. The polls show that he is the Conservative Party’s electoral asset which must drive his haters into an apoplectic rage. Even better, Miliband is regarded as weak out of touch and in the hands of the unions. To be averaging a six to eight percent lead at this stage of the electoral cycle is nothing short of disastrous.
And I haven’t even mentioned the drop in unemployment and the encouraging economic news.
In his heyday Neil Kinnock was polling a lead of twenty nine percent against Thatcher.
I suspect the problem for Cameron will be the fringe meetings. Boris, who knows how to stroke the collective clitoris of the Party faithful will be up to no good feigning a jovial loyalty whilst sticking in the stiletto. But his leadership window of opportunity is closing. Ken Clarke knew precisely what he was doing when he told him to ‘cool it’. In effect this was a subtle hint that if you rock the boat you will be thrown overboard.
And let us not forget Farage. He quite sensibly has been banned from addressing an official fringe meeting. But he will have a stunt planned. A set piece speech a few minutes away from the conference centre will be packed. The importance of this will not be what he says but who will be there.
So all three conferences will have one thing in common. Great set pieces of loyalty but in the shadows hands on the hilts of daggers dripping with vitriol and curare.
Will anyone have the courage to draw them, let alone use them?
I doubt it.
But you never know.