The death of Lady Thatcher has prompted some fascinating anecdotes, but none more left-field than that given by deputy leader of the Scottish Tories, Jackson Carlaw last week.
During the debate on the late prime minister’s legacy, he revealed that, 13 years earlier, he had been on a beach holiday in Majorca when who should turn up at the same hotel but Mikhail Gorbachev. As politicos, Gorby and Jacko ended up spending the week together. Carlaw revealed that he had told him that Thatcher, along with himself and Ronald Reagan, was “equally responsible” for the collapse of the Berlin Wall “and don’t let anybody ever tell you otherwise.” It’s not quite Nixon-Frost, but who knew until now about the great Moscow-Giffnock Alliance?
Send-off not quite a Labour of love but...
Ed Miliband drew praise from Tory opponents last week over his restrained reaction to the death of Mrs T. But privately, senior party figures are seething about the way she has been allowed to be transformed in the two weeks since her death from divisive PM to Mother of the Nation. Why has this stayed private? One big reason is that the plans for the big send-off last week were OK’d by one Gordon Brown when, as prime minister, he was hoping to show middle England what a decent chap he could be. What goes round...
Conference more like audition for X Factor
Miliband had a terrifying moment on stage on Friday in Inverness when, speaking without notes, he appeared to lose his thread for a few brief seconds. But the whole speaking without notes thing is now leading to a bidding war among senior pols to show off their stage skills. With Douglas Alexander also having done a stage-strolling, jacket-off performance on Friday, there was speculation in the bars about how Jim Murphy would try to beat them both. “Give a speech on a unicycle? While juggling?” asked one colleague. This madness has to stop.
Miliband’s train of thought hits the buffers
And there are other problems too. Heading up to Inverness on Thursday, Miliband used the train journey to rehearse his speech. Unbeknown to him, however, an SNP MSP just so happened to get on at Edinburgh and find himself sitting next to the Labour leader. As Miliband continued to recite his words, the quick-witted MSP quickly scribbled down his words and promptly sent them onto SNP HQ to let them know exactly what their opponent was preparing to say. Stick to paper next time, Ed?