Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Weird Conference Experience

Sitting in the foyer of the main conference hotel, and having wandered round the commercial exhibition for half an hour (something I could easily have done in ten minutes) I wonder if I have come to the right conference. There just doesn't seem to be anyone here. I've never experienced such a quiet conference.

You'd think that the day after a new leader was elected there would be a buzz of excitement around. Instead, there's a slightly weird nervousness where people seem unwilling to commit themselves as to what should happen next. In some ways, perhaps this is not surprising. After all, the conference will now be dominated by a series of speeches by shadow ministers on subjects they all know they won't be covering in a fortnight's time.

Interestingly, there are quite a few ex MPs here. I've spotted four or five of them so far - including Jonathan Shaw and Tony McNulty. Clearly they are going to have another tilt.

Apart from the miniscule cmmercial exhibition another sign that this conference is not what it once was is the much smaller than usual fringe. I thought I'd find one to attend this lunchtime but there are only six, yes six, to choose from. And frankly, In Conversation with Oona King, Unite Against Fascism and How Labour's Labour don't really get my juices flowing.

The funny thinkg is that no one seems to want to talk politics. I bumped intp Tom Watson earlier and he was very keen to chat about West Brownich Albion's victory at the Emirates yesterday and West Ham's win over Spurs. As were several others.

All in all, this is a bit of a weird experience.


Matt said...

Spurs lost? No wonder my wife was in such a foul mood this morning! I'll tread very carefully after she gets back from work...

Unknown said...

Whilst you were walking around Manchester, I listened to The World at One; the interviewer asked Labour talking head whether Labour would apologise for its economic record. Question evaded. Perhaps not surprising, but until they can find some way of admitting what an enormous mess they made, what will they have to say?

Michael CP said...

If they win power what will they do with it?

Everything's been tried other than handing power back to the people, which the coalition already propose

Anonymous said...

ilistened to you in nthr Nolan show yesterday night and you took a balanced position on Ed Milipede. The othee Labour party-supporting guests, seemed to brush aside the important fact thatEd Milipede won because of the trade union and other fringe votes. Many of my ex-colleagues received ballot papers because ONCE they were trade union members of sme kind in academia and no longer, and I am not surprised they voted for Red Ed out of mischief!!
The Coalition has to fix the union dosh going to Labour without questions.

Anonymous said...

The Haridian was asked yesterday about the way the unions broke the ballot rules. she said it did not matter.

If labour cannot uphold the rules of their own leadership ballot then what can hope is there.

Martin said...

Just plain daft to hold a Conference that intersects with a Harvest Equinox.

Nuff said, I'm keepin' stoum!

Brian said...

Will James Purnell (remember him?) be CGI'd into the conference afterwards?

Tapestry said...

You are describing the atmosphere of a funeral.

If Labour is anything it is a party that attacks. There will be a period of grieving to pass first, the wearing of black, and a respectable period of silence must go by, while old ghosts like Mandelson, Brown, Blair, and Prescot take their seats at the back of the church.

As for which hymns they're going to sing next, no one's quite sure. Better to talk about football, while the new younger vicar moves into the vicarage.