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Politics

46 Things We Learned From This Year's Political Party Conferences

The UK's political parties have spent the last three weeks holding their annual conferences across the UK. This is what you missed.

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1. Ed Balls is actually a pretty good footballer.

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3. But he can't get in the door at the Rovers Return.

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6. Launching an Instagram page during a party conference can be really smart... or it could lead a politician to get instantly trolled.

Reading the comments under @Ed_Miliband's Instagram account is already my favourite thing.

Siraj Datoo@datsFollow

Reading the comments under @Ed_Miliband's Instagram account is already my favourite thing.

6:00 PM - 30 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

7. Politicians take driving simulator games really seriously.

Just going to leave this here #Lab14

8. Keith Vaz is still a thing.

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Vazville, getting frisky on the dancefloor. Pics from Standard: http://t.co/lYYrV7OV4Y

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

Keith Vaz, Labour MP for Vazville, getting frisky on the dancefloor. Pics from Standard: http://t.co/lYYrV7OV4Y

12:53 PM - 23 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

9. There's always room for fiscal restraint at Roy's Rolls.

Ed Balls says Roy's Rolls can cure the economic deficit.

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

Ed Balls says Roy's Rolls can cure the economic deficit.

11:36 PM - 23 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

12. And Ed also likes to grab mints.

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13. Conferences are strange places where newspaper columnists and MPs are treated like rock stars and get selfies.

Oh, and also, we got a selfie with @OwenJones84... not bragging or anything @pegahmaysaMYP

Ciaran O'Shea PG@CiaranOSheaPGFollow

Oh, and also, we got a selfie with @OwenJones84... not bragging or anything @pegahmaysaMYP

12:16 PM - 22 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

15. There is always a place for the man with the No Nukes dog.

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Although sadly its old "No Nuke's" sign has been replaced.

16. The UKIP "we're not racist" closet is the greatest thing ever.

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17. Surprise defections enliven any conference.

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18. Giving way to terrible jokes.

Delighted I can finally use my "to lose one MP to UKIP may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks Reckless" joke

Jess Brammar@jessbrammarFollow

Delighted I can finally use my "to lose one MP to UKIP may be regarded as a misfortune, to lose two looks Reckless" joke

2:52 PM - 27 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

20. But certain UKIP politicians like to challenge stereotypes.

Overheard at UKIP conference: "I am a raving homosexual. I have been taking it up the arse for 35 years." #challengingstereotypes

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

Overheard at UKIP conference: "I am a raving homosexual. I have been taking it up the arse for 35 years." #challengingstereotypes

11:57 AM - 27 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

21. During conference season absolutely everything was at risk of defecting from the Conservatives to UKIP.

Strong rumour this smashed plant pot on a Birmingham street is about to defect to UKIP. It has yet to return my calls

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

Strong rumour this smashed plant pot on a Birmingham street is about to defect to UKIP. It has yet to return my calls

9:31 AM - 30 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

22. We discovered David Cameron writes his speeches while watching David Cameron.

Who approved this photo-op with the PM writing his speech while having the TV in the background showing his own face?

Siraj Datoo@datsFollow

Who approved this photo-op with the PM writing his speech while having the TV in the background showing his own face?

8:30 AM - 01 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

23. And heard David Cameron's fascinating Yorkshire accent.

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24. People didn't always get the coverage they were after.

28. Even the press officers get bored at their party's conference.

Miley Cyrus is playing loudly in the press room of #CPC14

Siraj Datoo@datsFollow

Miley Cyrus is playing loudly in the press room of #CPC14

8:53 PM - 29 Sep 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

29. And politicians occasionally find it really difficult to come up with different words.

Siraj Datoo / BuzzFeed

Choose a compact disc player.

31. Michael Gove selfies are a thing.

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32. Party conferences are prime time for figuring out just how much environment minister Liz Truss cares about pork.

Dino Sofos

33. And more people will watch mash-ups of political speeches than the speeches.

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34. Politicians talk to bricks these days, apparently.

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35. And you're never more than five yards away from a PR stunt.

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36. Free booze is still the easiest way to get people along to your event.

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38. By the end of conference season it become a bit too much for some people.

Ironic that #LibDems think their conference slogan "Winning Here" is appropriate in a venue that is virtually empty.

Paul Monaghan@_PaulMonaghanFollow

Ironic that #LibDems think their conference slogan "Winning Here" is appropriate in a venue that is virtually empty.

2:26 PM - 05 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

39. Despite the thrilling fringe events everywhere.

Anyone want to come to this at Lib Dem conference? #ldconf14

Siraj Datoo@datsFollow

Anyone want to come to this at Lib Dem conference? #ldconf14

8:58 AM - 06 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

40. It also became clear that white elephants don't last forever.

The anti-HS2 inflatable white elephant, a feature of every party conference, reaches the Lib Dems and deflates.

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

The anti-HS2 inflatable white elephant, a feature of every party conference, reaches the Lib Dems and deflates.

3:46 PM - 05 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

41. You can buy anything branded with any politician.

I've just bought a heavily-discounted mug featuring energy secretary Ed Davey. How's YOUR Sunday?

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

I've just bought a heavily-discounted mug featuring energy secretary Ed Davey. How's YOUR Sunday?

5:01 PM - 05 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

42. The Lib Dems like to hold discos.

MC Huppz and his disco crew in da house!!! #libdemdisco #ldconf

Sarah Whitebread@swhitebreadFollow

MC Huppz and his disco crew in da house!!! #libdemdisco #ldconf

11:22 AM - 04 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

43. People are still obsessed with what the politicians wear.

Nick Clegg's trousers will be "casual until the speech tomorrow" says spokesman, in a tone that suggests this is a new low for journalism.

Jim Waterson@jimwatersonFollow

Nick Clegg's trousers will be "casual until the speech tomorrow" says spokesman, in a tone that suggests this is a new low for journalism.

5:19 PM - 06 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

44. Journalists start to lose it by the end of conference season.

Revealed. The secret behind the tireless @paulwaugh...a stash of Irn Bru. The waugh room memo is made from girders

Martyn Brown@MartynExpressFollow

Revealed. The secret behind the tireless @paulwaugh...a stash of Irn Bru. The waugh room memo is made from girders

2:25 PM - 07 Oct 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

45. The annual Lib Dem glee club sing-a-long is a dark, dark place.

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46. And no matter where the conference is held, there will be a man dressed as a giant sun trying to flog solar panels to schools.

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Because that's politics, basically. See you next year.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at siraj.datoo@buzzfeed.com.

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