Entertaining Essay on English Usage

Entertaining Essays on English Usage

We've just come to the end of the party political conference season here in Britain. This takes place every year around the end of September and the beginning of October, just before the start of the new parliamentary session.

Each of the main political parties holds a conference at which the leading politicians, both national and local, as well as the "party faithful" make and listen to speeches about the issues of the day. Press and TV coverage vary of course. The Welsh and Scottish Nationalist parties tend not to attract much notice nationally but we get "wall to wall" reporting on the three main parties: the Libdems (an abbreviation for the Liberal Democrats), Labour and Conservative. The Libdems this year had a fairly quiet time.

Venues for the conferences are always famous seaside resorts such as Eastbourne and Brighton along the south coast or Blackpool and Scarborough on the northwest and northeast coasts, respectively. Hoteliers and landladies "rub their hands with glee" at the prospect of additional customers after the main holiday period is finished. "VIP's" go to the "posh" hotels and the "ordinary rank and file" members have "to make do with" simple bed and breakfast places.

Sometimes though, it pays "to keep a low profile" on occasions like these if you don't want to get too involved. A terrible example of this was when the IRA blew up part of the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984 when the Conservatives were in power under Mrs Thatcher and some of the delegates were killed or badly injured. Security of course is now part of our daily lives.

During the second week it was the turn of the Labour Party to hold their conference and naturally the "spotlight" was on Tony Blair, the Prime Minister, who has been having a difficult time recently but reception for his speech was "rapturous" and not surprisingly he received a "standing ovation". In the days of Mrs. Thatcher the length of the ovation was measured...