Talk of hanging in the Bournemouth juice bar

Into Torytown, where security fences kept angry Middle England locked in and stopped tax-cutters fleeing Tax'n'Spend Dodgy Dave's old-time socialism. The Jenkin family - deputy chairman Bernie and wife Anne, a Barbara Follett without the padded shoulders - took the green message to heart and cycled daily to the jamboree. Bournemouth is very hilly, so both were knackered. And very windy. Poor Mrs J, leader of the Women2Win campaign for more X-file MPs, was blown off her bike. She, by the way, kept her mobile phone in her, ahem, bra. On vibrate.

Pity poor Francis Maude, the Hugh Hefner of Torytown. Pursued by a tabloid Rottweiler over revelations that an investment trust he heads funded porno films, Maude was seen fleeing upstairs as the hack shouted something about Strap It On, Slip It In not being compatible with the new, family-friendly image.

That was nothing compared with the party chair's woe over the now-ritual pass chaos. William Hague rang the previous Friday to warn he wouldn't be speaking on the Sunday unless he got his that day. He did. The police checks on Dodgy Dave, I am reliably informed, took two months. Perhaps they'd never heard of him. Or maybe it was those wacky-backy student days.

The traditional champagne bar proved more popular than the new juice bar, untroubled by customers for much of the week. The shack and an organic café at least gave blue rinsers and retired colonels a landmark to arrange to meet at to discuss, erm, hanging.

The press room was rebranded a "media village", with a patch for bloggers, yet the spinners were up to their old tricks. A delivery of Evening Standards, with "Boy" George Osborne's "autistic" gibe at Big Gordie splashed across the front page, mysteriously vanished. The papers were subsequently found hidden under the counter of spin control, tidied away for "safe" keeping. But safe for whom?

Notice on a Torytown door: "Global poverty has been moved to the Sherborne Suite". If only it was that easy, Dave, if only it was that easy.

Discretion, and the threat of a writ, prevent me naming the shadow cabinet adviser whose noisy nocturnal activities, on the eve of his boss's big speech, woke up the occupant of an adjoining hotel room at the Marriott Highcliff. The endeavours were a sign, however, of some change under the new regime. His guest was a woman.

Kevin Maguire is associate editor (politics) of the Daily Mirror

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