A cynic would say it was HRT talking, but Hattie was in playful and coquettish mood, as she often is - you know, young at heart and all that.
More importantly, she was effective. Though I cringed through bits of her homily of the bordello - praying she’d segue into less alarmingly evocative subjects like gender equality, VAT and rape anonymity - she put nationalised train-set gags into relief, and didn’t sound like a human adenoid. It was a teasing and witty send-off to the doddery remnants of New Labour’s old guard, ending with a rousing call to arms against the Lib Dem's duplicity - the culmination of Harman’s surprisingly adept reign as Labour’s caretaker. Here are some excerpts:
‘As some of you may have seen, the Sky Top Trump cards which score MPs in a number of categories. There were some surprising results. I came out as the most fanciable female MP! If you were wondering why – clearly it’s because Jack Dromey used the Unite block vote.
Conference, May 6th was a blow to us all. And it was difficult for everyone to see us relegated to the opposition benches. But the Shadow Cabinet dusted themselves down and lost no time in leading the attack on the Tories’ broken promises and the Lib Dems' downwright hypocrisy.
Alistair Darling transformed overnight from Finance Minister to political street fighter. And though it’s not something that Alistair would have noticed - he’s been drawing many admiring glances from older women – you know, the New Generation. We all know Joan Bakewell was called the thinking man’s crumpet – well Alasdair Darling is definitely the thinking woman’s oatcake.
Jack Straw masterminded the attack on the government’s outrageous gerrymandering of the parliamentary constituency boundaries. Now, there’s been lots of jokes this week about Jack’s long service in public life. People have commented that Jack was there when Moses came down from the mountain. There’ve even been references to stair lifts. But Conference, that’s just not fair, because Jack is a man in his prime. I’ll tell you something – he outdoes everyone in his spinning class in the House of Commons gym. So today I’m inviting Jack to be the poster boy for my special new campaign – “you’re not past it when you’re past 60”.’