3 comments on “Err?

  1. The Labour Party is always in conference mood. As Harold Wilson used to put it:

    “The labour party is like a stage-coach. If you rattle along at great speed everybody inside is too exhilarated or too seasick to cause any trouble. But if you stop everybody gets out and argues about where to go next.”
    http://creativequotations.com/one/480.htm

  2. Party conferences are jamborees for really dedicated political activists and it seems not to be sufficiently widely understood just how much of an extremist minority political activists are.

    Add up the membership of all the mainstream political parties – which necessarily includes almost all MPs, MEPs, Councillors and elected members of regional assemblies – and we’ll get a number close to three-quarters of a million. That compares with an electorate of 44 millions and estimates of the size of the floating vote at general elections have ranged upwards from around 20 per cent of the total vote cast. At the last general election in 2005, the percentage of the electorate which didn’t vote was actually larger than the percentage which voted for Labour candidates.

    For casual and incidental observers, an insight into the full symbolic ritualism of Labour Party conferences is perhaps better gained from this news report in the press about events in the margins during the Labour Conference in Cardiff five years ago:
    http://news.scotsman.com/topics.cfm?tid=247&id=710142002

    There is absolutely nothing remotely happenstance about such eventualities. I can recall – from times as an official, naturally – of politicians who maintained a commitment to attending party conferences and who had a regular but discrete annual arrangement for similar mutual exchanges of . . err views in the margins. It was something to look forward to from one year to the next and which probably did much to render the otherwise mind-destroying tedium of party conferences tolerable.

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