Posts Tagged ‘Labour conference’

Conference diary: the morning after, part 1

26/09/2010, 11:47:42 AM

Union chiefs toasting Ed Miliband’s success last night should be on their guard. Uncut understands that John Prescott is likely to fail in his bid to become the party’s treasurer, pipped to the post by Unite’s Diana Holland. As with the leadership, it appears that union votes were the decisive factor. Hell hath no fury like a Prescott scorned.

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Changes on Team Ed? Spectators surprised at the vigour with which Neil Kinnock campaigned for our new leader will have noted Rachel Kinnock leading Ed on his tour of the victory circuit. Rachel has been a senior advisor over the past few months, and is likely to be a key player in his leadership team. More mysterious is the sudden disappearance of Polly Billington, Ed’s chief spinner. She was apparently not returning calls last night, and hungry hacks were being re-routed to other aides. Where are you Polly? Give Uncut a call.

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Great excitement in the Uncut office yesterday when we received a tip from a senior Labour insider. “David’s in first”, came the message. Excitedly, we prepared to unleash our scoop to the world. Then we learned that our comrade had merely got on the train to Manchester, and seen David Miliband sitting in a first class carriage. He was in good company.

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If Peter Mandelson was planning to do a turn at conference, Uncut advises him to stay away. Already identified by Team Ed as the source of much of the “bile” directed at their candidate, he has now been fingered by Team Dave as a key factor in the their defeat. Last night disappointed DM staffers were identifying Peter’s interventions at key moments as the turning point in the contest.  “It was Peter that lost it for us”, said one exasperated aide.

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Touring the bars in the early hours in our bid to bring our readers the most juicy conference morsels, Uncut bumped into David Clark, Robin Cook’s former special advisor. “Much more of this and you should change your name to Labour Half-cut”, he said. It’s under consideration.

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Peter Wheeler’s alternative conference guide

24/09/2010, 03:38:42 PM

PWFP Guide

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What really goes on at Labour party conference, by Dan Hodges

24/09/2010, 02:00:57 PM

At the opening of North by North West, Cary Grant’s character, Roger Thornhill, is abducted from his friends and family, transported to a remote location, and persecuted by his captors. Confused and disoriented, they pour alcohol down his throat, question and abuse him, and demand answers about his work with government. Finally, his ordeal complete, he is thrown out onto the road, left to negotiate his own hazardous route back to safety  and sanity.

Roger Thornhill would have felt right at home at Labour conference. As a party we proclaim a passionate commitment to reform of the Parliamentary process. The insane working hours. The drinking culture. A building unfit for purpose. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to internal policymaking we think the best solution is to entomb the entire Labour movement for a week in a cramped, sweaty, municipal arena, deny them food and sleep, ply them with booze, then refuse to let them out until they’ve discovered the new Jerusalem.

Soon after our victory in 1997, I asked a Downing Street aide whether they planned to follow through on Tony Blair’s stated desire to downsize conference, or even make it a biennial event. “Daren’t”, came the reply. “Party wouldn’t stand for it”. Abolish Clause four. Invade Iraq. Privatise public services. No  problem. Touch the free spread at agents’ night and you’re history.


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Ed Miliband and the Tribune rally

24/09/2010, 11:29:13 AM

Straws in the wind? Uncut notes with interest Ed Miliband’s sudden announcement that he will be rubbing comradely shoulders with  the cream of the left at this Tuesday’s Tribune rally.

According to a report on Twitter, Ed is now scheduled to appear with other Labour luminaries Neil Kinnock, Ken Livingstone, (no mean achievement to get those two sharing the same platform), Dave Prentis and Lisa Nandy. It would be a  bold appearance for a newly crowned leader, coming hours after his maiden conference speech. Ed’s aides will be only too aware of the headlines accompanying his triumphant arrival, supported by robustly captioned photos of comradely badinage between him, the doyen of the London radical left and the leader of one of the nation’s largest unions.

Another interpretation is that it represents an insurance policy in the event of a defeat. During the campaign Ed built an impressive following amongst the centre-left, and his appearance could be part of a strategy of embedding his coalition in the event the result goes against him. It could make him a formidable political force, regardless of how the shadow cabinet chairs are shuffled.

Alternatively, he may just fancy some political banter and a glass of wine after a long election. Whatever the reason, he’s sure to draw a crowd.

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