A round-up of all the dumb, dumb things said by Tories at the Conservative Party Conference
I’m sure glad these guys aren’t running the country or anything
The Conservative Party Conference has just finished in Manchester. Unlike the Labour conference, which is just a chance to do a load of factional infighting, the Tories are ruthless and pragmatic enough to put all that to one side. It’s harmonious. So they’ve all united and devoted themselves, basically, to chatting shit.
It’s probably the only logical thing that could happen if you locked all the country’s biggest Tories in a conference centre and sent the booze flowing in. All the same, some of it has been weapons-grade nonsense.
This list isn’t exhaustive – no doubt the high-grade bollocks was chatted after a few bottles of claret at bars around the city. But the stuff said in public is good enough.
A minister who employs her own daughter complaining that the BBC is staffed by people whose parents worked there
New culture minister Nadine Dorries made her mark on Tory conference by decrying the BBC as needing to be open to “not just people whose mum or dad work there”.
A blistering attack on nepotism that presumably sent fourth-generation Dimblebies rushing to a careers advisor. But if she’d asked her senior parliamentary assistant for some thoughts on this broadside, Dorries might have heard something like: “Mum, don’t you think this makes you look a tad hypocritical”.
Dorries employs her daughter, Jennifer, as a senior parliamentary assistant. The whole employ your daughters thing first kicked off controversy in 2013, when it emerged she’d paid them at least £75,000 from the public purse.
The most recent Register of Members’ Financial Interests shows she’s still at it. Jennifer got a promotion in September 2019.
The minister overseeing the biggest benefits cut since the war singing “I’ve had the time of my life” just as those cuts come into effect
The £20-a-week uplift to universal credit ended today, a cut which will leave six million people poorer. A grim necessity at a time when every penny needs to be saved to keep the country’s finances from crashing, perhaps. Maybe. Possibly.
So what you wouldn’t want to do, as the Work and Pensions secretary, is get filmed getting lost in the moment during a late-night karaoke session. It’d bring the whole message down, wouldn’t it.
That’s exactly what Therese Coffey did, belting out the Dirty Dancing banger “I’ve had the time of my life” just after midnight.
Misogyny is also bad when it’s against men, says Dominic Raab
Dominic Raab, who famously said he only took the knee for the Queen and his wife, has now said that: “Insults and misogyny is absolutely wrong, whether it’s a man against a woman, or a woman against a man”.
Can’t make it a hate crime if you literally don’t know what it is.
‘Get off your Pelotons and back to your desks’
Bit of a niche reference, for one. But can most civil servants afford the thousands needed for one of the – admittedly banging – living room bikes?
Surely, also, if you tried very hard you could get a Peloton set up at a desk.
Civil servants need to stop ‘woke-ing from home’
Civil servants are the people ambitious ministers rely on to get their big promises done. So, naturally, Tories on the rise are in a hurry to insult them. Red Wall Rasputin Jake Berry said: “We have to end the civil service ”woke-ing’ from home – sorry I mean working from home, but let’s be honest, it often is woke-ing.”
It’s a tried and tested formula: pointing at things, calling them woke and hoping it gets 50-somethings in the Home Counties increasingly irate.
Boris Johnson’s oh-so-charming stunts
Before he was getting through a speech like a kid in year 10 English who’s just been told about alliteration and comic exaggeration, Boris was blessing conference with a few little stunts of his own. In fairness, he is good at them. Riding a bike through the conference hall was the highlight.