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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September 2004, 15:49 GMT 16:49 UK
Conference diary: Wednesday
BBC News Online's Nick Assinder takes a look at some of the highlights - and low moments - of Labour's annual conference at Brighton.

Wednesday, 29 September

JOBSWORTH OF THE DAY PART 2

The saga of the banned glove puppet just gets sillier and sillier.

Police have now given permission for the League Against Cruel Sports to bring their "provocative" Basil Brush-style toys into the conference centre - only nobody has bothered to tell the Group 4 security guards who are continuing with their "only doing my job" antics.

Today they have not only banned the League from bringing fresh supplies of the top-selling puppets into the conference centre, they have actually started confiscating them from anyone who does.

And one person at least was highly unamused. Presumably the officers either did not recognise, or care, that the woman whose puppet they snatched was Watford MP, rising Labour star and PPS to Health Minister John Hutton.

"Only following orders, madam".

MARKET RESEARCH OF THE DAY

More bad news for the prime minister in his alleged battle to out-do Chancellor Gordon Brown at the conference.

Videos of the chancellor's speech are being knocked out by the party's thriving capitalist enterprise wing at 14 a piece.

The prime minister's less-than-riveting performance is available for just 10.

I would wait until they end up on ebay later in the week.

TODAY WE'RE GOING THROUGH THE ROUND WINDOW

Life must be confusing enough for the country's TV-addicted toddlers.

One minute Bob the Builder is helping fix it for someone, the next he is in his own grown up sitcom making jokes about sex and bodily functions. (Come to think of it, isn't that what kids do).

Still, imagine their horror when their channel skipping presented them with the sight of former children's' TV favourite Floella Benjamin chairing the Labour party conference.

The entertainer had been drafted in to run a question and answer session without the safety net of any fluffy puppets or cartoon characters.

And a splendid job she made of it too.

She was flanked by Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt - easily mistaken for a hockey teacher - and, more worryingly, Education Secretary Charles Clarke, who looks like he would eat any glove puppet that came within grasping distance.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Schools minister David Milliband obviously has a way with children.

He took part in the recent Great North Run only to be spotted at the 11-mile stage by a little boy - or future voter as MPs see them.

The little chap was mightily unimpressed, loudly telling his mother: "I can run faster than him."

Milliband's reaction: "I wanted to throttle him."

Well I suppose that would at least help tackle the problem of class sizes.

CLASS WAR SKIRMISH OF THE DAY

After the crass decision to ban the League Against Cruel Sports from selling fox glove puppets in case they inflamed pro-hunting demonstrators, it was the Countryside Alliance's turn.

Their stall at the conference centre was vandalised overnight by anonymous activists who scrawled the word "murderers" all over it.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY

Home Secretary David Blunkett has told us many times how the so-called swinging 60s passed him by.

Not only did he not inhale, he just said "no".

He elaborated at a conference fringe meeting, declaring: "They were not swinging 60s for me and I have been trying to make up for lost time ever since. It is a very dangerous game." Indeed.

He said he could not remember why he refused cannabis - probably because he already had enough problems in his life.

But he does recall that one sniff of it sent his Labrador guide dog "wild".

Good stuff then, eh.

SECURITY RISK OF THE DAY

The list of politicians forgetting their conference passes, or not being recognised by their electronic pictures is growing by the day.

Robin Cook and Ken Livingstone are amongst those who have already troubled the security guards.

Latest to be added to the list is foreign office minister Denis MacShane who only realised he had not got his pass when he was on the train to Brighton.

Needless to say, the six hour wait promised to ordinary delegates and hacks committing the same crime did not apply.

MacShane's entry was expedited.






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