The political conference season is at the half way stage. The good comrades, all trundle up to Manchester for Sunday. This year, yours truly won’t be doing the circuit. Having tended more conferences than is good for the sanity of any man. I’ve been let off for good behaviour or is it for bad behaviour.
Having attended conferences of all political hue its still baffles as to why so many ordinary party members turn up at these events. Some even making it their annual holiday. Hardly, normal behaviour, it’s a bit sad really.
And what for. Certainly not to debate issues. Those days are far gone. Everything is a set piece event that party planners think will go down well on the the tele. Policy making, it is not. Well, apart from the Liberal Democrats who still cling on to the quaint idea of using their members to make policy.
And what do they do? They also serve who only sit and wait. And sit they do, through the most tedious of speakers. At one time you’d hear the odd orator, not any more. It’s all so bland.
The increase in standing ovations for mediocre politicians is probably more to do with preventing deep vein thrombosis than with the merits of the speakers.
It does take a special type of person to turn up to germ ridden, hot and sweaty conference halls. They may not be inspired to take a political message back to their constituencies but they sure as hell spread colds and flu around the country on their return.
With lemmings its a once in a lifetime event, for the party delegate they do it year after year after year. Why?
They’re the rump of the old ideology that brought them into that particular party in the first place. While the rest of their party has become an ideology free zone, they continue to hold with the old faith. And each year they meet with others that hold the flame alive.
Despite disappointment after disappointment they still hope that things will be different and their leaders will start to listen to them. Unlikely.
But like the old religious revival meetings they can sing the Red Flag, Jerusalem or Land of Hope and Glory. And the warm glow will bring them back again next year.