Socialist Worker

Labour conference: where are all the delegates?

Issue No. 2171

While chancellor Alistair Darling was making his keynote speech complaining about the bankers, but promising to do nothing about them, the conference hall was half empty.

It was the same on the opening day, when the hall wasn’t even half-full for Gordon Brown’s “operation fightback” rallying cry.

Part of the reason for that is that hundreds of delegates simply didn’t turn up. And scores of MPs didn’t bother either – so convinced are they that they will be losing their jobs at the election.

The swarms of corporate lobbyists and spin doctors who have been the mainstays of the conference over recent years have simply deserted Labour as they presume better deals are to be done with the Tories.

The Scotch Whisky Association delivered a symbolic snub by cancelling its traditional drink-fuelled bash for the Labour elite. The group will, however, host a lavish party at the Tories’ conference.

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