Hello darkness my old friend...
Ladies and gentlemen, the Tory party conference is officially popping! Manchester is the place to be for wild blue ties and even wilder backstage antics! Or at least, that’s the impression Conservatives are trying to give in the form of sponsored Instagram posts – the undisputed, foolproof way to let people know when an event is really ‘happening’.
For the last couple of days, while Philip Hammond promises to win young people over by teaching them a good solid history lesson about basic economics (if only they knew about the benefits of wealth trickling down from the top!), the Tory social media team is already one step ahead. As BuzzFeed journalist Scott Bryan has pointed out, there’s no escaping just how much a good time these guys are having.
Look! The drama and suspense of it all. The frayed nerves, pre-stage antics, behind the scenes tomfoolery. Oh, to be a fly on the wall as Michael Gove awkwardly shuffles about with his notes and avoids eye contact with his Cabinet peers. This is about as close as we’ll ever get.
We’re raised to believe backstage areas are drug-fuelled, graffiti-smeared and hedonistic. But in reality, step behind Brixton Academy’s curtain and you’re more likely to find a tub of hummus than a rockstar developing a lifelong gak addiction. Liam Gallagher even has to make his own tea. The times are tough. Cool Britannia is over. Or at least that’s what we thought, because the Tories are having outrageous amounts of fun. See for yourself:
Jeremy Hunt here, looking as if he’s been caught watching Loose Women with one hand under his trousers. ‘Oh it’s YOU’ he offers, wide-eyed, sweating slightly. ‘My speech isn’t for another half an hour what are you doing here ha ha ha ha.’
Boris, you old badger, come here, it’s time for a backstage snap. Let’s just point this camera in your direction. Nothing to worry about, just act natural, stand like you normally would. Arms to the side. N-, no not like that, Boris.
Has anyone ever looked like they’ve been struck by a Men in Black memory eraser quite like Michael Fallon in this exact moment? There’s nothing behind the eyes. It’s quite possible he could also be in a k-hole, such are the wild excesses of this Tory conference.
Steady on, Amber Rudd! You’ve already had four cups of water, and it’s only just gone midday! No, switching from Evian to Volvic doesn’t count, you absolute sesh gremlin!
As David Davis cracks another joke about getting the ‘best possible Brexit solution for this country’, Ruth Davidson stares into the void. It’s now Day 4, and she hasn’t moved from this pose.
That’s not all. Rumour has it one Tory MP removed their blazer and lost track of where they’d left it! Damian Green was reportedly found making himself a coffee with three spoonfuls of sugar!
While this absolute madness was taking place in the closed corridors of Manchester town hall, literally dozens of attendees took to their seats in excitement.
Forget your Glastonbury’s and your Ibiza’s and your Friday night lock-ins. This is where the real fun’s at. Summer’s been and gone, but party season isn’t over yet.