Posts Tagged ‘Roger Thornhill’

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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