Wednesday, 5 October 2011

A bit of a do for the commercial gents

Quentin Letts captures the vacuity and pointlessness of the party conference season in the Mail today; instead of a plenum for party members to evolve policy, the conference has become a bit of a do for the commercial gents, with alcohol awash;
There are the trade bodies, the professions’ alliances, the Private Finance Initiative companies. There are the privatised utilities, the more go-ahead charities or “Third Sector” as they demand to be called, and then the foreign observers. A few would-be parliamentary candidates attend, agreeing madly with everyone they meet. But for the most part, as figures from the website this week showed, the conference-goers are what we might loosely call “trade”: suited smoothies who press business cards into the palms of passers-by, dispensing trinkets, sweet-meats and whispers that “we must do lunch”.
With fewer than 1% of the UK electorate being members of any of the three big parties they have become so disconnected from the ordinary voter that they survive only through funding from the corporates; remote, metropolitan, Statist and exclusive, these private clubs will nevertheless make a case this Autumn for stealing even more tax money to prop-up their bankrupt structures. Quentin Letts has seen the reality, and it's not pretty;
This conference season I stood in one drinks party and looked across a large room in which perhaps 400 people were gathered. It included some of the most senior politicians in the land. The fug was fetid with alcohol, sweat, self-serving gossip and ambition. The TV cameras might once have captured the scene but they were banned. If the electors of Britain had seen that room, I seriously doubt they would have voted for any of these parties again.


Barnacle Bill said...

Our politicians have evolved into almost a separate class, very few have had to get their hands dirty to earn a crust, even more are completely detached from the constituencies they are supposed to represent.
Their understanding of what is right and what is very wrong warped by the bubble they live in now.
How are we to regain control?
Firstly, proper electoral reform with PR, the ability to recall MPs by their constituencies, and binding people's referendums.
Secondly, party funding, cap on business donations, and if a party is bankrupt it is broken up.
However, short of bringing the Halifax guillotine out of storage, I feel we're doomed!

Anonymous said...

The final chapter of this post, has me in mind of the closing scenes and final chapter from Orwell's Animal Farm.

"Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

And so it has been for the three conferences - and if we all could have "looked in through the window" perhaps none of us would have voted for any of them because they all look the same.

Coney Island

Weekend Yachtsman said...

Great article.

And of course, it will get worse once they manage to finagle State funding for the parties.

Is anyone betting that they won't?


Thought not.

Anonymous said...

Quentin is a remarkable observer, sensitive to lack of anything of import and the banality of conference hogwash.
It is a lobbying exercise, nothing else.

Anonymous said...

"the more go-ahead charities or “Third Sector” as they demand to be called"

And so they should, 'cos they ain't charities nor charitable, largely the third sector is as voracious for your money as any capitalist pig.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

"electoral reform with PR" won't make any damn difference at all. If anything it will get worse with slavish party hacks at the top of the unaccountable party list, never ever to be kicked out.

One thing that will make a difference is a recall power - or a "a none of the above option" rejecting all the offered candidates.

English Pensioner said...

When I was working, I went as a delegate to the annual conference of my Trade Union. Our General Secretary spoke on the current situation, after which we debated motions from various branches. I was able to indicate from the floor that I wished to speak, and was chosen on several occasions.
Did the local Conservative Branches submit motions to their conference? Could members speak if the wished? Apparently not, all they had was speeches from the senior Tories for the party faithful and journalists. So what is the point of the conference?
In many ways, my old Trade Union was more democratic.

Anonymous said...

We do not live in a democracy any longer, Westminster is a bloody town council and all the political parties trough in the same piggery.

Arguing over niceties and nuances of what damn system we have is something akin to, changing the bed sheets in a burning hotel.

The whole shebang is defunct and all they [party shills, MPs, cabinet ministers, PMs] do at conference, is sort out their future careers working for corporate big business, the little man, ie, the taxpayer and voter - is not needed.

What to do?

Guy Fawkes [had an idea] springs to mind.

James Higham said...

Two years ago I observed similar but it took another year to wake up.