I’ve been at the Labour Party Conference for two days and my back and brain are aching. The sweet scent of power and privilege overwhelms the subtle breeze of socialism blowing through the hallways. Everybody knows that the party needs a new direction, and some people are even starting to say it out loud: what Hazel Blears MP yesterday called ‘the unsayable’. The fact that Labour is ‘not about altruism, or philanthropy, but about personal advancement and gain for working people’ – for those poorer social groups who are now leaving the party in droves for the Tories and the BNP. Labour is not about the good-hearted rich giving out sweeties – it’s about the people making a better deal for themselves. And now the party has retreated to Westminster, the cost of abandoning its communities is racking up. One councillor from Stoke, a new BNP heartland where skills are amongst the lowest in the country and where the Labour presence dropped from 60 to 16 seats at the last election, noted at a debate yesterday: ‘we can have all the policies we like, but if we’re not out there knocking on doors, then the BNP will be.’
The Comrade Did Not Mention Socialism!
…is what John Denham MP wanted someone to yell out from the audience, but nobody did. I’m tempted to do it myself this afternoon when Millie gets up to talk about foreign policy, but I’m on the mikes for that event and I like my job.
Last night I went to a party, drank four glasses of free champagne and compared dresses with important political ladies for a set period of time before going outside to smoke with the other interns and attempt to throw up my own lungs in a paroxysm of horror. What on earth happened to the Labour party? What happened?
(I spent the rest of the evening shouting about the RMT to Boris’ transport minister and attempting to get people to stand on chairs with me and sing ‘the red flag’. I’m not sure I’ll be invited back.)