Tory conference reflects party’s dismal state

Tory conference reflects party's dismal state

The Frightening and Dismal Contrast of the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences

Labour and Conservative Party Conferences

If I had to sum up the Labour Party conference in Brighton last week in a single word, it would be “frightening”. A major British political party has been captured by a hard-left clique that has little respect for the basic principles of a liberal society. The conference paints a worrying picture of a party that is being led down a dangerous path.

On arrival at the Conservative Party conference, the first thing that caught my attention was the chaos outside. A large army of angry demonstrators, controlled by a smaller army of police, created an atmosphere of tension. Some of the demonstrators hurled insults, with one greeting me with the charming refrain, “fuck off Tory scum”, and then modifying it to “fuck off Tory media scum” upon learning I was a journalist. It is worth noting that it is often only those on the left who object so vehemently to their opponents, resorting to sometimes violent protests.

Inside the conference hall, however, everything is calm to the point of blandness. The corporate presence dominates; the conference has been essentially contracted out to corporations, lobbyists, PR people, and career politicians. Corporate booths line the convention center, promoting various products and services. PR people eagerly distribute free samples, notebooks, and pens. In a striking juxtaposition, during Philip Hammond’s address defending capitalism from its critics, individuals in the row in front of me sported “Aston Martin” logos on their backs. The atmosphere in Manchester is a stark contrast to Brighton’s electric enthusiasm, as boredom hangs heavy in the air.

The reason for this contrast is simple: conferences no longer hold the sway they once did. In the past, conferences made binding decisions that shaped party policy. For example, in 1950, the Tory Party was forced to commit to building 300,000 new houses after rebellions on the conference floor. Today, conferences serve as little more than backdrops for speeches by well-known politicians. They are filled with stale announcements and a predictable audience of party loyalists, the elderly, and PR professionals bused in to enhance the optics.

However, not all hope is lost. Some fringe events at the conference prove genuinely interesting. The brightest minds in the Conservative Party are actively trying to understand why they fumbled the last election and why young voters are turning away from them. The growing threat of Jeremy Corbyn and his Labour Party galvanizes opinion within the Conservatives. There is a sense that, for the first time in years, there is something genuinely worth fighting for in politics. The party must acknowledge that things cannot continue as they are. They must either dramatically improve and adapt or face surrendering power to a government committed to undoing decades of their work.

Upping the ante might start with the Conservative Party conference itself. The event, as it stands, plays right into the hands of Mr. Corbyn and his followers. The party should reduce the cost of attending the conference, allowing ordinary foot soldiers like local councillors to participate. Additionally, they need to corral the PR people into their own designated areas instead of allowing them to overshadow the entire event. Finally, the party should grant more power to delegates, enabling them to hold party leaders onstage accountable.

In conclusion, while both the Labour and Conservative Party conferences provided notable experiences, they came from opposite ends of the spectrum. The Labour Party conference was dominated by a hard-left presence, leaving many concerned about the direction of the party. The Conservative Party conference, in contrast, was lackluster and lacked excitement. However, there is hope for the Conservative Party if they take steps to revitalize their conference and address the concerns of the growing threat posed by Jeremy Corbyn and his followers. Only time will tell if they rise to the occasion and successfully navigate these challenging political times.