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Showing posts from September, 2011

Luckless Liberals

It might have been better when no-one paid attention to their conferences after all. Apart from David Steel's memorable peroration in 1981 to "Go back to your constituencies....and prepare for government", followed by many years still out of government, few people commented on the deathless stage speeches of Lib Dem politicians. Now, in the full glare of publicity, they're coming under merciless scrutiny. Sarah Teather's humour-defying jokes have already been mentioned, and remain the stuff of Philip Cowley's re-tweeting. The largely anonymous Andrew Stunnell apparently tried a joke at the Guardian's expense which, er, failed. But the big-name fall guy today was Chris Huhne.
Having weathered the tawdry revelations of his driving and related offences, he is now climbing back into the mainstream. His speech today was meant to be clarion call against the evil Tories (a repetitively wearying theme at this conference) but came across somewhat passionlessl…

The Sarah Teather Jokes Routine

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I personally think it was a mistake to allow politicians to wander around the stage during their conference speeches. Keep them behind the lectern and remind them that they are indeed just politicians delivering little listened to speeches of occasional political consequence. Then at least we might avoid the crushing embarrassment of Sarah Teather's jokes routine. To be fair, having seen one joke fail utterly - even the notorious tumbleweed failed to put in an appearance - she carried womanfully on through another two cataclysmically dire two-liners. You really do have to admire the hide of someone who can stand on stage and look as if everything's alright after that.
Just so you can make your own judgement on the latest comedy sensation to hit Birmingham, it's here:

NB - Politics professor Philip Cowley has been so taken with the Teather style of comedy that he's taken to putting a few similar jokes out on twitter himself - such as this one, oh and this one, to say …

The Lib Dem Dilemma - Opposition or Government?

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There was a time when we could safely ignore the Lib Dem conference and not really return to the world of active politics until Labour gathered the brothers and sisters by the sea. There can be no greater sign of the radical change wrought by the 2010 election than the fact that, actually, we have to listen to the Lib Dems. And that they have armed police at their conference too.
They've had a torrid year electorally and reputationally, which makes their Birmingham gathering all the more impressive for being actually quite buoyant by all accounts. Nick Clegg's made one speech, which also had a moderately good joke (the one about Ken Clarke being the sixth Lib Dem cabinet member - probably sounds better when you're at a Lib Dem conference than on the page). He wasn't mauled, and he was able to claim that Lib Dems were 'punching above their weight'. He gets to make another would-be show-stopper on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Lib Dem conference go-ers, for the secon…