And again with knobs on to Andrew Neil; yes he of television and newspaper fame, he of the red braces and abrasive manner, he of the terrier-like interview wherein he tried to get our spokesperson Salman to admit that our conference would be ‘a shambles’ – well nyah, nyah, nyah! cos it wasn’t, so there!
Sure, there were heated debates and strong opinions; there were many disagreements – and of course there would be: we are all individuals and have individual views. Well, almost all of us: to my left (in every sense) was a block of Communists who all voted in unison and spent most of the day muttering amongst themselves. So that was annoying. But apart from that we got through a hell of a lot of business, including policies on Europe, on austerity, on fracking and on Scotland. It surprised me (though perhaps it shouldn’t have) that many people were against the break-up of the UK; not for the same reasons as the Tories but because it would ‘break up the unity of the working class.’ This is pure rhetoric as far as I’m concerned; to talk about ‘the working class’ in that way is meaningless and I wish people would stop banging on about it. You don’t have to be working-class to be against austerity, and what does ‘working-class’ mean anyway?
The main achievement of the day, however, was that we got through all that business without a major row, without anyone throwing a hissy-fit or walking out or leaving the party or throwing all their toys out of the pram or anything. I was standing by with an emergency poem just in case it all kicked off, but no need. It was all remarkably civilised, and Sheila was an excellent chair.
So that was good. The conference was held in Manchester at some great industrial museum on Deansgate. I would have liked to explore it more but by the time I’d passed all those motions I was somewhat depleted.
There will be a video report available here shortly:
And so to bed… this morning I cycled to Quaker meeting, as did just about everyone else, and I spent the afternoon in the garden. I have mown the lawn!