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Family drama grips Labour Party conference

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BRITAIN-LABOUR/Just when the Labour Party thought it had got over the long feud between Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, it has been gripped by an even more compelling drama worthy of prime-time TV – the tale of two brothers who reached the top of British politics only to see their ambitions collide.

Delegates at the Labour Party conference in Manchester are just getting over their surprise that Ed Miliband, 40, pipped his brother David, 45, to be Labour leader. David had long been favourite to win and Ed’s shock victory on Saturday brought gasps from delegates.

David Miliband had received the loudest applause when the leadership candidates strode into the hall to hear the results and there were no euphoric celebrations of Ed’s victory. That’s because many in the hall had not backed him.

To have knocked out the former foreign secretary long seen as the heir to Blair and Brown felt like regicide to some.

People, Britain and change – Brown’s speech keywords

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Prime Minister Gordon Brown has promised to clean up politics, get tough on crime in his keynote speech to the annual Labour Party conference in Brighton. He also pledged to address the bonus culture that many blame for the financial crisis.

The ‘Word Cloud’ below (click the image for a larger view), produced by Wordle, shows the words he used most frequently.

Among the lobbyists at Labour conference

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BRITAIN-LABOUR/As a conference first-timer, I was curious to know what goes on off stage in the conference centre — where the television cameras seldom go.******The lobby area at the Brighton Conference venue is packed with stalls for various campaign groups — everyone from the heavyweights of the Nuclear Industry Association to the Paul Daisley Trust, touchingly run by the widow of a Labour MP who died of colorectal cancer in 2003.******There are plenty of sweets on offer and the canvas bag with slogan is the favourite giveaway.******The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association even allow visitors to try out on Wii Fit’s ski jump. For the record, your correspondent cleared 100 metres before crashing out on his second attempt — way off the conference record marked on the whiteboard.******The most arresting sight is a lollipop lady made of ice — she is slowly melting away in the conference heat. The Unison Union warns that public services would suffer a similar fate if political parties cut public spending.

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