Thursday, September 28, 2006

Feeling Blairy?

I bet you are. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that I know a disturbing number of people who have to go to Labour Party Conference as part of their job. Far from me to name and shame (?) but you know who you are, guys! Having no such obligation I've just been relaxing and watching proceedings on the telly. Normal service was of course resumed yesterday after Tuesday's emotional speech from the Dear Leader, with the predictable massive defeat of the Government on NHS "reform". (I confidently expect to see the following definition in the online OED: "reform vt to sell, give away, break up or discard. From Lat. reformare to talk cobblers while doing something appaling").

As for Blair's big speech itself, I was amazed at the media reaction. Quarter of an hour on the main news broadcasts, commentators saying it was a "tour de force", and so on. The main emotion I detected was relief, from Tony himself not least. Who, after all, would want to spend a decade as PM? Maggie Thatcher did it and look at her now...At any rate, one would have to have a heart of stone not to applaud Blair's last Conference speech, even - or rather especially - if one were mainly applauding the fact that it was the last one!

Another thing I noticed was the paucity of policy announcements. The terrible twins said so very little that all there was to talk about was whether Cherie really passed a snide remark abouit Gordon (well, wouldn't you?) What wonderful new New Labour radical visions of the future were proclaimed from the platform? Umm...more regulation of buses more GCSE maths coursework. Amazing! Seriously, though, one no longer waits with bated breath for major policy commitments at Conference, simply because ministers no longer dare to tell Conference what they plan to do. Of course, one can guess - but Blairites and Brownites join forces to repeat "It's not about that". It's not surprising. Walter Wolfgang is a remarkably polite old gentleman, after all...

I did, however, go to the anti-war demo on Saturday (which had 10-15,000 people on it, whatever the Morning Star says). I won't say much about it, given that the splendid Volty, Jim and LaLaMiMi have posted copiously here already - indeed if Manchester Stop the War had been half as enthusiastic about organising it as people were about going on it (Comrade Denham always excepted!) it might have been a lot better! Perhaps I'm just a bit sour because I ended up next to the 9-11 Conspiracy Rapper for so long...Just one funny bit though - the British Muslim Initiative placards saying "Respect - The Palestinians' Choice!" Y'know, I thought that was Hamas. Or is there something we should know...?!


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