The Nether-World

October 6, 2006

Beginning of the end for the political Party Conference?

Filed under: UK Politics — netherworld @ 7:37 am

Political party conferences are becoming more obsolete and irrelevant. Whereas once policies were debated and decided upon, nowadays they are little more than political rallies where controversial issues are left off the agenda and dissenters are not allowed in. Even when there is a vote on a policy, there is no guarantee that the result will be respected if it goes against the party leadership. The conferences have become entirely predictable, whether it’s the Labour Party eveangelical love-in noteworthy only for John Reid’s terrifying leadership bid and Cherie Blair pissing on Gordon’s firework, or the Tory Sleepathon which was so policy lite that journalists were more interested in the latest off-message utterings of Boris Johnson. The conferences are also expensive. So expensive in fact that a certain party, in debt to the tune of £28 million, is having trouble funding them. Labour’s solution is to scrap its Spring party conference.

The Labour Party is to ditch its annual spring conference next year in favour of a series of smaller “seminars and consultations” across the UK.

Party bosses said shelving the 2007 party meeting in Glasgow would help to involve more people in policy-making and was not designed to save money. [of course not]

Blogs and podcasts would be used to broaden “online engagement” with the new “interactive party”, they said.

The party had debts of about £28m earlier this year.

While the main conference was held in Manchester in September, some 3,000 delegates had been expected in the Scottish city next spring.

I can’t help wondering just how much consultation there will actually be. However, this seems like a step in the right direction which will hopefully catch on. Maybe further savings could be made if all the parties had one big conference together where they divided up the costs. It’s not as if their policies are vastly different and it would be easier for them to steal each others ideas when they have them. It might even become a more interesting event.



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