The Lib Dem Conference opening day was overshadowed by the allegations against Andrew Mitchell. Mitchell looks like he would make a great public school deputy headmaster, he just unfortunately makes a really poor senior member of a government.
To be totally honest, before this scandal I didn’t know anything about him. But the revelations in the Sun changed all that. In just a few short days, he had gone from obscure senior governmental ferret to headline news. My facial recognition was slow, but it just about clicked. There he was, front page of every newspaper like a less capable and more irritating John Major.
While Mitchell was being punished for what he clearly assumed was an offence in a previous life, the Lib Dems were busy suggesting bonkers conference motions in a last ditch attempt to lose any residual support they might have had. Because they are being bribed by Lord Ashcroft to be rubbish at every aspect of politics (I can’t think of any other reason for a group of people to openly wear socks and sandals on the television). Not quite succeeding in that, they decided to bring forward their secret weapon. Danny.
Harriet Harman once called Danny Alexander a ‘ginger rodent,’ apparently in an attempt to effect political damage by associating his policies with those of red squirrels… which is good political strategy - if your electorate consists entirely of grey squirrels. But I think that’s unfair, and frankly a bit personal. I don’t think Danny Alexander looks like a red squirrel. I just think he looks like a rather nervous finch. He sat atop the conference stage, cheeping away with the same old lines, glued to his speech, then looked SO relieved when the crowd loved his answers to the Q&A. He quite literally just reeled off the list of things Nick Clegg wrote on the back of a napkin before the 2010 election leader’s debates. And they STILL loved it! However, that’s mostly because they’ll applaud anything.
If they still support the Lib Dems after all they have done, Alexander could probably advocate invasion of Poland and there would be a smattering of polite applause from the bemused audience of people who either don’t listen, or are still busy wondering why Beaker started talking about economic growth and didn’t just go “MEEP MEEP MEEEP MEEP!” like he usually does.
But let’s not forget that old Lib Dem silverback. That’s right, your favourite politician who looks like a startled badger; Vince was in town. Vince Cable was busy announcing £1bn for a business bank. Unfortunately this was not a surprise, as the entire country had heard about the announcement in BBC2’s political satire, ‘The Thick Of It’ two nights previously, and laughed uproariously as the hapless minister promised money he didn’t have for the project. Hardly the best way to approach policy-making. I await the upcoming speeches at Lib Dem Conference. Rumour has it that even the genuine politician’s tea boy, Nicholas Clegg, will be making a rare appearance at a venue where he won’t be booed.