by Atul Hatwal
It’s always an odd experience attending Tory conference (I was there to speak for the Migration Matters Trust at a fringe), particularly this year. As a Labour member it felt almost like Her Majesty’s Opposition had ceased to exist as a practical concern for the Tories.
Here are three reflections on how and why.
1.The protests have utterly toxified Labour’s relationship with the media
It’s not nice being spat at. Or being called scum. Nor seeing women being called whores and threatened with rape.
That’s the experience virtually everybody attending Tory conference had at the start of the week.
The people shouting and spitting weren’t necessarily Labour party members or supporters but the ideological comity between Labour’s leadership and the more extreme protesters is clear.
Labour’s shadow chancellor, John McDonnell is on the record as backing “insurrection” and “direct action” and there were plenty of Labour members and even parliamentary staffers on Twitter, eager to Corbsplain the abuse.
For the journalists, whose words and pictures will frame public views of the party, Tory conference indelibly connected the dots between Labour’s leadership and the nutters.
Beyond the horrendous nature of the experience for the journalists, it set a prism, one of extremism, through which most will now perceive – even sub-consciously – Labour politics.
It would be a miracle if this then didn’t shape their reporting.
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