When David Cameron spoke of his wife - the posh-as-a-quail-egg-omelette Samantha - the TV cameras couldn't find her so the director gave us a shot of Theresa May instead. This must have confused some viewers, particularly as Cameron had just said he woke up next to an entrepreneur every morning. Was he confessing to an affair?
The director was more mischievous when Cameron condemned the scandals around MPs expenses. The camera settled on Caroline Spelman who is under investigation for allegedly using taxpayers' money to pay her nanny on the grounds that the nanny also undertook secretarial duties - e.g., answering the telephone when nobody else was in the house. Not surprisingly, Mrs Spelman, although applauding, had the pained expression of a woman who has just been told by the News of the World that her husband has been photographed in bed with a rentboy and a Thai transexual.
(Legal note: this is an analogy and does not imply that Mr Spelman has ever strayed from the fragrant embrace of his wife).
The cut-away shots of the audience are always the worst thing about watching the leader's speech. If I had a swear box, it would end up with enough money in it to bail out a small High Street bank. I start with 'bastards!' and rapidly move on to the next letter of the alphabet. These are some of the most obnoxious people in Britain.
Let's be honest: with many of them you couldn't get a cigarette paper between their views and those of the BNP. But it's nod-and-a-wink nationalism and bigotry, the 'are you thinking what we're thinking' of Michael Howard's election slogan, a self-styled 'common sense' nastiness in a garden party, Church of England, Daily Mail-reading, gin-and-tonic, blazer and flannels, twinset and pearls, Waitrose-shopping world.
Yeah, yeah, there are now a few Asian businessmen in the hall and Alan Duncan has just celebrated his Civil Partnership ("I said to Daphne: I know he's queer but he's got a good head on him").
I sometimes see seagulls in my garden but that doesn't mean I live on the coast.
The fact that the Tory party in the country hasn't changed very much is one reason why Cameron's was the most Thatcherite speech I've heard since the lady herself was in her pomp. For smoothie-chops it was more important to throw these people red meat than to expound actual policies, most of which they probably wouldn't like very much.
"Man with a Plan" must surely be the most naff political slogan ever coined, especially as we haven't been told what the plan is. Do you think they plagiarised it from the cut-price removal company 'Man with a Van'? At least the latter has an actual van and can tell you what he can do and what it will cost. With Cameron's 'plan' we are still none the wiser.
Party Conference speeches now all follow the same template. Perhaps you can download one from the internet like a website template.
One feature in every leader's speech these days is people they have met. Cameron had met a young soldier in Afghanistan and will never forget him saying that he was doing his duty. Nick Clegg, a few weeks' earlier, had met a young mother and he had seen the anxiety in her face. (She was probably thinking "I must be mad if I think this public school ponce is going to get the fucking bailiffs off my back.")
"Look", they are saying, "I meet real people. I feel their pain. I understand their problems. I help them. Sometimes I'm inspired by their courage and achievements."
Oh, fuck off.
Cameron used a letter from a man whose wife had died from MRSA to condemn the entire NHS. Apparently, the staff are totally demoralised. Having recently been in hospital, I've never met staff who were more chipper, friendly, amusing and dedicated in my life. And, whilst I disagree with PFI schemes, the foyer of our new hospital is more like the foyer of a top hotel.
The Tories' priority is to increase the number of single rooms in hospitals. That would be nice, but notice how it has nothing to do with improving actual treatment or increasing the drugs budget. I suspect it's because middle-class Tories don't want to share a ward with a load of chavs who, in their view, have brought their misfortunes on themselves.
Cameron persisted with his assertion that Britain is a 'broken society'. If patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel, then denigrating your own country on the basis of a falsehood is the most despicable act of an ambitious and unprincipled politician.
Iraq is a broken society. We and the Americans broke it, strongly supported by Cameron and most of his party.
Boris Johnson, in one of the few instances of him saying something sensible, said that talk of Britain being a broken society is 'piffle'. With Andrew Neil this week, Johnson embarked on a rambling and incoherent analogy with a broken computer. If I may help him out, I think it's the difference between a computer that you've smashed to pieces and a computer that has one or two software malfunctions.
Cameron, for his own self-serving motives, repeatedly generalises from serious but relatively rare crimes to suggest that civil society has completely collapsed. Blair never went that far but, hungry for office, Blair could not resist exploiting the murder of James Bulger for political gain.
Having condemned Labour's 'nanny state' (the Tories know a lot about nannies), Cameron proposed recruiting thousands more Health Visitors to assist mothers after the birth of a child. Some contradiction there, surely?
But the Tories don't really believe in a 'small State', just a State that will interfere in different ways from Labour. Remember Section 28? A massive increase in State power and centralisation took place under Thatcher. (Read Simon Jenkins' excellent 'Thatcher and Sons').
Speaking of Thatcher, if we must, Cameron said that if experience were a prerequisite for becoming Prime Minister, we would never have had Margaret Thatcher nor Tony Blair.
Well, there's an appealing thought!
Let's make previous experience of high office for prospective Prime Ministers a constitutional requirement immediately.