Prince Henry’s cap fits

The hundreds of journalists in Manchester have the vital task of deciding what the story is. This can be quite hard if one has just stepped off a train from Euston. So I am grateful to a colleague with a keen news sense who provided a five-word update: “It’s trash Jeremy Corbyn afternoon.” And there, sure enough, was Michael Gove on the platform, trashing Corbyn in a bit more than five words.

But let it not be thought Gove was ungenerous. For he also said of the Labour leader: “I am happy to acknowledge that he is better dressed, better spoken and, indeed, much posher than me.” On the interesting question of poshness, this column can shed new light. Corbyn is often said to wear a Lenin cap, and may himself be under the impression that he is wearing a Lenin cap. But what he is in fact wearing is a Prince Henry cap.

This item of headgear was popularised before the First World War by Prince Henry of Prussia, who was a younger brother of the Kaiser and seems to have been a thoroughly decent fellow. He wore the cap when he went yachting, at which he was very good. I am indebted for this revelation about the cap to Andrew Mackinlay, once the admirably independent-minded Labour MP for Thurrock, who in Manchester can be found manning the Gibraltar stall. If some other former Labour MP can reveal that Corbyn has a yacht to go with his cap, please get in touch.

Off the rails

On the aforementioned train from Euston, a slightly odd announcement was made just south of Milton Keynes: “Please maintain a modicum of decorum at all times.” The Tories round me all appeared perfectly decorous, but apparently there had been a disturbance in the quiet coach.

Pass go

With almost inconceivable carelessness, I reached Manchester with the wrong pass: one valid for the general election, not the party conference. This was replaced within about two minutes by the staff in the late accreditation office in the Radisson Hotel. In days gone past, such an operation would have entailed hours of frustration. I am grateful for their efficiency.