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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 October, 2004, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Conference diary
BBC News Online's Nick Assinder takes a look at some of the highlights - and low moments - of the Tories' annual conference in Bournemouth.

Wednesday, 6 October

ELVIS IMPERSONATOR OF THE DAY

The King is dead - long live the King.

Elvis may be pushing up daisies, or living in a double decker on the moon, but his spirit lives on in the unlikely shape of the Tory leader.

DAILY COVERAGE

Apparently Michael Howard does a killer impersonation of Elvis but, unfortunately, only in private.

That helps explain the music (see Boris item below) which has dominated conference.

So, jokes about Are You Lonesome Tonight, True Blue Suede Shoes, Be My Torybear and Build More Jailhouses Rock on a postcard please.

FALSE ALARM OF THE DAY

Close the doors, shut the windows and get the nets out - a parrot is loose in the conference centre.

A parrot
The picture they wanted
Messages were flashed up on the internal TV monitors along the lines of "please return our polly."

Photographers were scrambled (now there's a thought) to get THE picture of the wayward bird.

False alarm, it was a stuffed toy which had gone missing from the conference daily draw stand where it had been lovingly adopted as a mascot.

So, the truth is, on the day the party debated law and order, someone nicked a fluffy toy.

BORIS JOHNSON MOMENT

No daily diary would be complete without at least one Boris story a day.

Today's concerns the extraordinary decision to put him in charge of the collection plate - or, more accurately, bucket - that is passed around the hall to help boost the party coffers.

The famously shambolic MP made an extremely good job of persuading the representatives - you get your legs chopped off if you refer to them as delegates, by the way - to cough up.

But it was an edge-of-the-seat performance with one party official whispering to me: "It will be a miracle if he doesn't lose the bucket."

Still, the sight of Boris shaking his booty, as it were, to the remixed version of Elvis' "A little less conversation, a little more action" will stay with me forever.

APPETITE OF THE DAY

Shadow Defence Secretary Nicholas "fatty" Soames fully deserves his nickname.

When he turned up for an early morning radio broadcast he quickly inquired after a breakfast, which was duly delivered.

Having done his bit, he then had to leave for another appointment - a breakfast meeting.

Not such a petit dejeuner then.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Not a Tory quote - but too good to ignore.

UKIP's star turn, Robert Kilroy Silk, continued his attacks on his leader Roger Knapman by referring to his adviser - former Bill Clinton aide Dick Morris.

"I don't think the British public want a political leader who uses a foreign adviser as a crutch."

Mr Knapman's response was to warn Mr Kilroy Silk he would not tolerate such disloyalty forever.

Something's definitely got to give.

SILVER LINING OF THE CONFERENCE

Talking of UKIP, senior Tories spooked by the party's success in recent elections have been saying that perhaps Mr Kilroy Silk's success will prove beneficial to them in the end.

"It could have the same effect on us as the SDP had on Labour in 1981 by making us change our ways," mused one MP.

Until it was pointed out to him that the effect the SDP had on Labour was to turn it into the SDP.

INCLUSIVE MOMENT OF THE DAY

This was the female representative who had a good idea of how to "fem up" the party's new logo, which has more than a hint of 1930s authoritarianism about it.

The fist grasping the torch of freedom could be massively improved if the fingernails were painted with a little pink nail varnish, she suggested.





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