The Tory-splits-over-Europe angle has dominated much of the BBC's coverage of the first day of the Conservative conference with much of 'The Daily Politics' being devoted to the subject. In interviews with Boris Johnson and Norman Lamont the subject was the first subject to be broached and broached at some length and it was the raison-d'etre of the interviews with Dan Hannan and Ian Taylor. Andrew Neil's discussion with David Cameron however ranged more widely.
Similarly The World At One devoted the bulk of its coverage to the subject (over a quarter of an hour), with all of the interviews with Andrew Rosindell and Sir Malcolm Rifkind and all but one question of Martha Kearney's hugely entertaining interview with Boris Johnson fixing on it like an illegal wheel-clamp. Martha got very excited and kept on asserting that the 'toxic' element Cameron had, according to Boris, taken out of the European debate within the Conservative Party was back: "now it's back!..it's back now!..it's back now!...it's back!", she cried over and over again, like Violet Elizabeth Bott. "You're just trying to make it back!" countered Boris. (The interview's I.C. was 1.5). Even after the subject changed to welfare reform, Martha's interview with Theresa May turned back to Europe at the very end.
The programme also featured Ben ('Son of Tony') Wright who trotted off to a fringe meeting to hunt down Kenneth Clarke, in the hope of highlighting those 'Tory splits'. He got nowhere!
As another developing strand we had Evan Davis plugging away at the "retro" angle in his interview with Michael Gove on this morning's Today, plugging the Labour line that the Conservatives are going back to their 'bad old ways'. This line and the word "retro" was also used at the beginning of Martha Kearney's coverage. Beeboids clearly like to hunt in packs, as we saw so blatantly yesterday!
Saturday Seven Up
9 hours ago