Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Farty Conference Season

Brian Death reporting from the latest corporate funfest gushed about a political leader managing to speak for over an hour -- without notes! Truly this is the way to measure an ability to run the country. Forget content and values ....he spoke without notes!

At the upcoming Tory party funfest, barely one-third of those present will be members. The other two-thirds will comprise mega corps who happen to pay to support ‘initiatives’ and ‘policy research’. The rest will be media bubble dwellers minutely examining every nuance in a desperate attempt to breathe life into a long-dead event. The other two major parties constitute similar set-ups. Even the Lib-Dems, who lasted longest in maintaining at least an element of democracy in their proceedings, finally gave up this year.

Resembling nothing so much as cult leaders spouting to the faithful, farty conferences are way past their credible sell-by date. They do little but remind us of how the bubble-dwellers take after each other. Gone are the days of Kinnock having a go at Militant Tendency.

If the purpose is to allow mega corps access to the political system then it needs to be politely pointed out that they have this facility all year round anyway. [See Update below]

What would be truly novel would be to hold a conference to which any member of the public could go. Further, one in which ordinary folk could have a say in how things are run.

Now that would be worth watching and paying attention to. 

Update 25/9/13

There are several ‘advantages’ for companies hosting events at Farty Conferences. Who would have thought that the Labour Party would allow the Philip Morris tobacco company exhibition space - especially when the company had successfully lobbied to kick the plain packaging of cigarettes into touch? Well they did - and they were paid for doing so. 

The Electoral Reform society has obtained details of party funding and conferences. For instance, the Tory party made over £4 million from selling their conference spaces and access last year. The grassroots of the party, those stalwarts so beloved by Tory ministers,donated about £750,000 in the same year. 

The biggest advantage for ministers and their shadows is that meetings at Farty Conferences are ‘off the record’. Throughout the rest of the year meetings with corporate bosses have to be recorded. 

Now why would any company pay thousands of pounds to a political party to host an event? 
What can they possibly get out of it?

Look at our two-tier society and you will see the result.  

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