A Word In Your Ear - October 11, 2018

Roy EdmondsRoy Edmonds
Roy Edmonds
I'm obliged to well-informed Lytham pal Nick for spotting an opinion column from the New Statesman magazine. This called for a return to Blackpool for political conferences.

In it, Patrick Maguire bemoaned the trend for big-city conferences by ‘urban-professional’ politicians only comfortable ‘in posh hotels behind a ring of steel’ - keeping the general public at bay.

Mr Maguire applauded quality hotels now being built in the resort and £25m invested in Winter Gardens improvements. He concluded, ‘If Corbyn and May are serious about people who voted for Brexit, they should have their 2020 conferences in Blackpool.’

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This brought back telling memories of true political heavyweights, who let our sea air blow away their capital cares.

Who can forget Margaret Thatcher’s visits and our streets lined with police sharpshooters? While, previously, Ted Heath had sojourned leisurely at the gourmet River House hotel, at Skippool Creek.

Labour’s James Callaghan (pictured) appealed privately to striking firemen in our town hall, then mistook me for his minders who were also waiting outside the committee-room door.

“Got the car? Shall we go then?” Big Jim asked me. My surprise was such I gaped wordlessly as detectives escorted the PM away.

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I remember another Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, falling downstairs at Carriages restaurant, Talbot Square. What a bumbler the unfortunate man was! Little wonder he became a European commissioner.

Then there was grinning Tony Blair posing on breezy Prom, as John Prescott took a limousine to the conference - because his wife had ‘just had her hair done’.

Finally, there was the Gazette photographer’s story of Harold Wilson. When about to be pictured dining with his Labour Cabinet at the Winter Gardens, the wily PM had them pose with pints - rather than the cognacs they were really drinking. He also swapped a pipe for his cigar.

Oh for such craftiness now, for sorting out Brexit!

For Roy’s books go to royedmonds-blackpool.com.