Disputing the meaning of applause

In an interview broadcast yesterday about a meeting with his constituents in Bracknell, Andrew MacKay made much of the fact that three quarters of the clapping was in favour of him and only a quarter was against him (see HERE).

Given that my research into political speeches started by using applause as a gross measure of approval, I always find it fascinating when its presence or absence becomes an issue in a media interview.

The MacKay sequence reminded me of a gem from my collection in which Peter Snow tackled Francis Pym for not applauding vigorously enough during a Tory Party Conference speech by the then Chancellor, Sir Geoffrey Howe – in an effort to use it as evidence of a split on economic policy in the cabinet:

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