The weather has been mostly good. As it had been in Brighton. Such a contrast to the way things feel on the ground; politically speaking, everything feels very cloudy indeed. The future of Britain in the EU, and by extension the very future of the UK itself, is in doubt. We can only hope the Tories guide us thoughtfully through the next ten years as they are only real game in town.
There were the protestors, joining us in Manchester. And they have been uglier than you can imagine. A lot of the abuse aimed at women has been downright mysognistic. So much for the kindler, gentler politics then. I spoke to one woman who works for a particularly left-wing charity who was still rattled by the things she had been called going through the gates. “I guess we’re all Tory scum now,” she said with a laugh. The scenario was a perfect metaphor for the entire country: even the most devoutly left-wing asking the Tories for protection against the angry mob on the fringes who want to tear everything down.
All this while the Conservatives announced some awful stuff. The nadir for me was Theresa May’s cynical bid for the hearts of the swivel-eyed which involved denouncing immigrants and claiming things about immigration that, as someone who has been Home Secretary for over five years, she must know aren’t really true.
Then there is the general air of Tory smugness. I attended a “Corbyn victory party” here, within the secure zone. They really think they’ve got not only the next election, but the election after that in the bag. The fact that they happen to be right does not make it any less depressing.
One of the nights I was here, I stood outside the security gates, watching the protestors play their music from the 60s and 70s (a phenomenon interesting in itself) and try and re-ignite class warfare, when a guy walked up to me and asked, “Who are these morons then?” He looked to be in his early thirties; work clothes on, probably construction; he had a thick Mancunian accent.
“Protestors,” I told him.
“It’s Tory conference in there.”
He thought about this for a second.
“So David Cameron’s in there then?”
“Right. With all that security fencing I thought someone important must be in there. Guess I was wrong about that.”
He laughed at his own quip and dashing off said to me, “See you, pal.” Turning to look once again at the protestors, he shook he head and muttered, “Fucking idiots” before shouting at them, “Don’t you lot have jobs to go to?” None of them responded to the query.
keith white says
Good piece. Dead right about labour disappearing up it’s own anal passage for the next 15 years. Cant wait for PM questions to start. Missed those emails from Sharon and Paul. Tories are hateful liars but will get away with it thanks to the railway and postman pat obsessed Corbyn.
George Lee says
This is deeply depressing stuff. So much misunderstanding and so little effort to bridge the divide.
Backing Corbyn results in a Tory swing to the right increasing the anguish and sense of injustice on the left. Backing Corbyn is an emotional escalator.
The language of left and right has meaning again. There is no rational centre.
The coalition may yet be a golden era.
John Minard says
I couldn’t even say what country the next general election will be for so I wouldn’t hazard a guess to its outcome!
Teresa :Lewis says
Don’t tar the left with the same brush. There are hot headed immature idiots on these marches and demos who should have been briefed beforehand to act in a more peaceful manner. I nearly attended that demonstration but had a prior commitment. Those people from outside the Tory party should have been engaged with not have abuse thrown at them. They are from outside organisations that show a presence at all if not most party conferences. By all means throw balls at Boris Johnson as the disability campaigners did. Save your ire for Tory cabinet ministers.