The 9 scummiest moments from the Tory and Labour conferences
From Angela Rayner branding Boris 'scum' to Therese Coffey singing 'I've had the time of my life' as Universal Credit is cut by £20. Here's the lowest of the low
The deputy Labour leader set the tone for conference season on day one when she branded Boris Johnson, 'scum'.
And it was all downhill from there as the two major parties came back from Covid with a bang to host their annual conferences - basically freshers weeks for politicians and party members.
No one came out of it looking good, and that's putting it conservatively. It was a Labour of loathing all around.
So buckle up, here are the 9 moments that made us cringe, cry in despair, and left us just plain confused.
1) 'Etonian piece of scum'
Let's start at the beginning, shall we? Keir Starmer probably saw Brighton as his chance to bring together his fractured party and finally prove what he really stands for.
Pity, he didn't tell that to do his deputy, Angela Rayner. She stole the show on day one by calling Boris Johnson "scum".
Rayner: “I’m sick of shouting from the sidelines, and i bet youse lot are too. We cannot get any worse than a bunch of scum, homophobic, racist, mysoginistic, absolute pile …of banana republic…Etonian…piece of scum…and I held back a little…that I have ever seen in my life” pic.twitter.com/YzDAKlWflt
— Mikey Smith (@mikeysmith) September 25, 2021
And the Labour leader couldn't have dealt with it in a more... Keir Starmer way. Just like when he half-praised half-criticised Dawn Butler for calling the PM a "liar", Starmer said that whilst he would not be telling Rayner to apologise, he would not have used those words himself.
Rayner then doubled down on her remarks and said she would only apologise for her words if Johnson did the same for some of the things he had said in the past.
On day one, the stark divisions that exist within Labour party were clear for all to see.
What a great start.
2) "Only women have a cervix"
Then it was Roise Duffield's turn to take the shine off Starmer's plans.
The MP did not attend the conference out of fears for her safety after comments she made last year, that "only women have a cervix" became a hot topic.
Duffield said she had received some "pretty unpleasant" threats online and was worried about the abuse she could face by attending the conference.
I'm a 'transphobe' for knowing that only women have a cervix....?!
— Rosie Duffield MP 🦕💜🦖 (@RosieDuffield1) August 1, 2020
So Starmer of course had to step up and address the cervix question.
Speaking on Andrew Marr, Starmer said that claiming only women have a cervix was "something that shouldn't be said" and is "not right".
Starmer: “We do everybody a disservice when we reduce a really important issue to these exchanges… the trans community are the most marginalised and abused of many communities and we need to make progress on the Gender Recognition Act."
— Dan Bloom (@danbloom1) September 26, 2021
This led Health Secretary Sajid Javid to attack the Labour leader for "total denial of scientific fact."
3) Heckler hell
To round off a far-from-ideal week for Labour, Sir Keir was then heckled by members from the left of the party as he delivered his keynote speech.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) September 30, 2021
It was a bit of a bin fire from Labour.
The Tory response? "Hold my beer..."
4) The "scum" conference
Not to be outdone, the Conservative Party began their conference in Manchester this week and really cranked up the controversy.
It started with Iain Duncan Smith being hit on the head with a traffic cone, a moment that summed up British politics in a nutshell. IDS was apparently on the way to give a talk about Brexit when "five morons started following me, banging drums and chanting 'Tory scum.'"
He told the Independent that he had almost reached his destination when "one of them came running up with a heavy traffic cone and whacked me over the back of the head".
5) The video that said it all
Then, Jacob Rees Mogg decided to take centre stage. In a heartbreaking scene highlighting what many see to be the cold, cruel nature of Tory policies, Mogg was confronted by a man saying he had to prove he had cerebral palsy to claim benefits.
"You're an Eton millionaire who doesn't care about disabled people."
Jacob Rees-Mogg is confronted by Dominic Hutchins who says that he had to prove he had cerebral palsy to claim benefits. pic.twitter.com/JtNq1BDbqO
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) October 4, 2021
6) Closing time on the Leader of the House of Commons
Later that evening, as he tried to drown his sorrows, Rees-Mogg found himself turned away from a Manchester bar. Not a great day for the Leader of the House of Commons.
7) Where's Wally?
There were also moments that seemed to have been plucked straight from the universe of Malcolm Tucker and The Thick of It.
Such as this incredible bit of television, when policing minister Kit Malthouse claimed he had no idea where Boris Johnson was, only for the camera to pan and show him sat just metres away. Malthouse would clearly be no good at Where's Wally?
'I have no idea where he is.'@kitmalthouse says he has no idea where Boris Johnson is before the camera pans to the PM talking to Times Radio a few metres away after stating that the PM is 'honest all of the time.' pic.twitter.com/mA0SYiWndn
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) October 5, 2021
8) "I've Had The Time Of My life"
And what about Work and Pensions secretary Therese Coffey singing 'I've Had The Time Of My Life' on the eve of a £20 cut to Universal Credit that is set to leave 5.5 million families more than a thousand pounds worse off every year?
Really? Probably not the best choice of song given the timing Therese.
5.5 million families woke up £1040-a-year worse off as their universal credit was cut.
While they were sleeping, the secretary of state for work and pensions was doing karaoke. pic.twitter.com/8OSEN5lwNc
— PoliticsJOE (@PoliticsJOE_UK) October 6, 2021
It's as funny as it is tragic because these out-of-touch Tory policies are causing misery across the country.
The likes of Armando Iannucci couldn't write it, because it would probably feel too on-the-nose. We are beyond satire now, folks.
9) But we're not finished just yet. Let's address "woman against a man" misogyny!
Even on the final day of their conference, the stupidity continued.
After all, the man that messed up so badly on Afghanistan needed to perform one of his famous blunders. But, this time, not from the beach.
On Wednesday, Raab told the BBC about the issue of "woman against a man" misogyny.
Of course, the very definition of misogyny is "hatred of, aversion to, or prejudice against women," a definition that was then read out to him on air.
— Toby Earle (@TobyonTV) October 6, 2021
There we have it - no winners, only...
And the public left with very little new evidence on how to vote during the next election, whenever that may be.
So maybe this is a good time to remind you that other parties exist. Plaid Cymru, the SNP, and the Greens are all holding conferences later this month.
The Lib Dems apparently held their conference in September (nope, me neither.)
So, the main takeaway from the two conferences? They were a bit scummy.