Adam Lovejoy reports from Brighton: the party conference season is here. The Greens, that strange collective of environmentalists are gathering first, to talk about environment a lot. With passion but lacking any sense really. And then the rest will join in, with delegates rubberstamping decisions taken in advance, drink, have sex with each other and do a bit of dope. So what’s the deal then?
Nothing is ever said of any substance at these pathetic gatherings. All the speeches are vetted by the leadership and everyone is obliged to toe the party line. (All in the interests of keeping the unity intact and winning the elections. Very Soviet, that.) The climax of each annual party conference is the speech by the relevant ‘great leader’, who is greeted with rapturous applause, even if he’s rubbish at what he does and says. (That applies to the leaders of all the three major parties in Britain at the moment.)
Let me give you some indication of how useless party conferences have become. Not one party leader or senior member of the leadership has ever been ousted at these gatherings, with the delegates gritting their teeth and applauding these nonentities. Grotesquely stupid policies have been approved that have nothing to do with the real needs of the country and not a single delegate has ever stood up and said: ‘Are you people nuts or what?’ Yet, vast amounts of money have been blown on security for these gatherings that could have been spent on other things, like battling crime, for example, or funding the trial of that war criminal Tony Blair. (In my dreams, eh?)
Each year is no different from another. Out of the big three first come the Liberal Democrats, who gather to pretend that they are not looking at a meltdown at the next election and, even more importantly, that they haven’t sold their supporters down the river by getting into bed with the Tories. Their great leader, Nick Clegg, will keep his job, even though easily excitable hacks will bang on about the tensions in the party and the ‘battle for its soul’. Drinking will be widespread and dope taking will happen all over the place as well, as the Lib Dems are known for their tolerant approach to drugs. Delegate after delegate will come up with the most appalling left-wing drivel and at times it will seem that the party may do everyone a favour by voting to disband itself there and then.
Then it will be Labour’s turn to bore the nation with their idiocy, insisting that they know what needs to be done to get the country out of the mess it is in. The mess, I would add, Labour created in the first place. These arrogant left-wingers have learnt nothing from their disastrous 13 years in government. They haven’t even bothered to apologise for starting a war in Iraq on false pretences, bankrupting the country, corrupting the civil service and dismantling the British constitution. Not to mention changing the social landscape by opening the doors to uncontrollable immigration, introducing round the clock drinking, and relaxing restrictions on gambling. The gathering will listen to their leader Ed Miliband in awe, as if he knows what he’s talking about, and applaud hysterically. Nothing of any substance will be decided; but the comrades will still congratulate themselves on the great reviews in leftie rags such as The Guardian they will get.
And then it will be the turn of the Tories to stage their annual bash and once again irrelevance and boredom will reign at the conference hall during the early part of the day, with things picking up in the afternoon and in the evening, when alcohol flows and sweet-smelling smoke rises in the corridors and toilets. Delegates will pretend that they are actually still conservatives, even though everyone knows by now that they are lefties who have no idea what to do. David Cameron will get his share of applause and will get it into his head that he is not such a bad leader after all. And the agony will continue for another year.
Why they all bother, I have no idea.