The Labour party conference’s proliferating bloggers like to grumble. Could Bill Clinton’s first rules of showbiz help cheer them up?
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Politicians must have far too much time on their hands. How else can we explain the fact that in party conference season – the busiest weeks of the average politician’s year – they have time to write blogs?
Take Bob Piper, a councillor at Sandwell in the West Midlands. In the run-up to this week’s festivities in Manchester, his councillorbobpiper.blogspot.com, had the inside track on a couple of stories that seemed sure to rock the party faithful. First, that Aussie media tycoon Rupert Murdoch had won the hotly contested race to sponsor Labour conference badges, and then, last Friday, that Gordon Brown’s new best friend, Tom Watson, had still to receive his invite to the week-long sojourn.
Bob, who styles himself the “Tyrannosaurus Rex of Labour blogs”, was also having his own difficulties getting in to the conference. By last Friday he had still to receive his all-clear from the Greater Manchester Police for conference accreditation, leading him to refer to himself, almost gleefully, as “persona non grata”.
By Sunday, however, Bob’s grata had returned, as he had made it to the conference, where he promptly refocused his ire on the length of the queues. “Twenty minutes after I arrived, the queue had not budged an inch, other than those elderly people in front of me who had given way to fatigue.”
Elsewhere in the Labour blogosphere, people were more concerned with the precise description of Mr Watson. His own preferred moniker at www.tom-watson.co.uk is “the first MP to have a blog”. The rest were still going for something less complimentary, such as “Comical Tommy”
or “poisonous, little nobody”. They might have settled their differences on the superbly named “MP Fight” at www.mysociety.org, but after several attempts to access the game failed, I assume Labour spin doctors have shut it down.
What everybody did have, however, were tips for Tony Blair in his final appearance as leader. One from Ernesto suggested that, in order to avoid last year’s embarrassment in Brighton, the PM should ensure that rules are in place for the speedy eviction of any heckling octogenarian “terrorists”. Perhaps there was method in those queues after all …
Perhaps the best advice, though, comes from Blair’s old mate and fellow speaker at Manchester this week, Bill Clinton. In a review of his recent book My Life, blogger Thomas Murrell at bill-clinton-my-life.blogspot.com scrutinises the former US president’s remarks for tips. Among the gems are making “a memorable entry” by entering to Happy Days are Here Again and “having a warm-up act” who can relate “hilarious” japes involving the honoured speaker, such as “the one when he played switchboard operator in the White House”. Does any of that feature in the farewell tour plans, Tony?