Labour had to call on previously untapped depths of optimism to get through conference – stretching the nation’s credulity in the process. “Go fourth” the stickers adorning the crowd proclaimed, as Brown appeared on stage to the strains of Jackie Wilson’s ‘Higher and Higher’ for his keynote speech. At a time when the party’s poll rating has plummeted to historic lows, it verged on the surreal. But the activists enjoyed it.
Alex Finnegan liked Brown’s address, but was ultimately left unsure whether it was enough to save his neck.
“He has won himself a stay of execution. But that is all. It will take more than a good speech to turn around Labour's fortunes,” he wrote.
Taking a break from complaining his mouldy hotel room mattress, Kerron Cross heaped praise on the PM’s speech, enthusing:
“Gordon played to his strengths. He has beliefs. He wants to do the right thing. And hey, if you don't like him, then fine - he will just get on with doing the right thing and take it on the chin. Because our party is not about personality, it is about doing what is right.”
Inexcusably, he used emotions twice in his post.
Paul Anderson directed his thoughts towards Miliband’s address, and concluded that:
“…while managing to steer the fine line he had to between expressing loyalty to Gordon Brown and placing himself as the front-runner to succeed Brown if and when Brown's position becomes utterly hopeless.”
This was prior to the revelation of Miliband’s ”Heseltine moment”.
Other Labour bloggers avoided obsessing about conference. My namesake on Never Trust a Hippy (I hope this clears up any confusion) was interested in the future of socialism. Identifying with the “new left,” he argued that collective action is best channelled through civil society:
“The beauty of this, of course, is that the left have always had this argument in their peripheral vision. We have won huge victories while no-one was looking - often with Tory governments in power.”
Sounds more like liberalism to me.
Elsewhere, Recess Monkey and Labour Home’s Alex Hilton, who watched Brown’s speech lurking at the back of a hotel bar, this week took a really rather cheap shot at the Tories on the grounds that its party website had a
black and white photo of Sayeeda Warsi. Come on Alex, you can do better than that.
What have we learned this week?
As the cabinet’s gender balance shifts in the wrong direction, it is a woman who takes the lead in the contest to decide the new Lib Dem president. Nomination forms were due in this week, and as predicted at NS online, Chandila Fernando joins Opik and Baroness Scott among the nominees. Scott blogged about her confidence in the race proper, in upbeat mood she wrote:
“We intend to be positive - I think I've got a good story to tell and I'm going to tell it loud and clear. We intend to be innovative - using new campaigning ideas and methods”.
A break from Focus leaflets? That’s what we want to hear!
Reform my kitchen
The conference season gives us the opportunity to amass piles of branded rubbish: mainly mugs, badges and tote bags. The Electoral Reform Society gave us fun fridge magnets. So far my flatmates have used them to spell out “it’s party time,” “strengthen my members” and “I make love with real MPs”. Callow, I know. The society’s excellent Make My Vote Count blog can be found here.
Across the Pond
Over at Shakesville, Melissa McEwan takes issue with Rush Limbaugh’s mendaciously motivated assertion that Barack Obama is not an African-American, but an Arab.
“Neither of Obama's parents were African-Americans, but the fact that his father was African and his mother was an American pretty much makes Obama about as literally African-American as it gets,” she quite reasonably asserted.
Limbaugh often refers to himself as a “harmless lovable little fuzz ball” – if only he were.
Videos of the Week
This week Chester Conservative Future uses T.Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution’ to flog its fresher drive, Will Hutton talks at the Unions 21 fringe and Celia Barlow MP celebrates Labour’s clampdown on lapdancing.
Quote of the Week
“How fair is it that British workers still have the poorest employment rights of any industrialised countries? How fair is it to allow employers to sack staff by text message? How fair is it that cleaners pay a higher marginal rate of tax than hedge fund bosses?”
Dave Osler on Liberal Conspiracy questions Brown’s understanding of “fairness”.