A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cancellation of Spring Conference

I'm not impressed by the Labour Party's decision to cancel its 2009 Spring Conference reported in the press today.

It's pretty pathetic if we can't manage to organise an event in a way that is at least self-funding and ideally profit-making.

It's also insulting to Labour councillors as the main function of the Spring Conference is to discuss local government issues - and removes a platform that could have been used to launch our campaign for important County and Euro elections.

The proposed substitution of regional events was a disaster when it was tried before in 2007 - amateurish, poorly publicised and attended and attracting none of the beneficial collateral media coverage the Spring Conferences get.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I completely agree. The PLP may be very depressed about life, but as I remarked to a Minister the other day, if you feel you are going to lose the next election, dont wait for the public to push you, announce that you will step down and allow a keen person to fight your seat.

The above attitude in the PLP is just not acceptable when in Local Government a hell of a lot of positive work is being done in power or from opposition.

The various local government conferences are no substitute for a proper rallying political conference of our own.

Its being held in Birmingham, which should lend itself to a good attendance for even a cut down one day conference, if not a move to London would increase the number of councillors who could attend in a day IF the weekend conference was too costly.

9:16 am, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Labour Matters said...

At least the announcement that it was cancelled this time wasn't accompanied by the fluffy, upbeat press releases like in 2007.

9:43 am, July 16, 2008

Anonymous hughes views said...

It seems eminently sensible to ditch the conference as it would make another big hole in the party's non existent funds.

It’s surely better to have a little cash in the kitty to run some sort of campaign for the elections rather than blowing it on another talking shop / ego-massaging weekend isn't it?

Or would you rather go back to the party’s recent tactic of mortgaging its future to pay for its campaigns? It’s that short-termism which has got it into the parlous financial state it’s in today. One jamboree a year is surely enough, maybe even a bit more than enough...

If you can come up with a way of making a conference genuinely self-financing (ie taking nothing from CLP funds or central party funds) you’re a better man than any other on the planet. Even if individual members could be persuaded to pay for most of it out of their own pockets it would mean they’d have less money left to donate to the party...

10:33 am, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Shambolic said...

Luke writes: "It's pretty pathetic if we can't manage to organise an event in a way that is at least self-funding and ideally profit-making."

Self-funding? Check out the comments in your own entry because I thought our Spring Conference was subsidised to the tune of 10,000 pounds by the tax payers of Hackney. Surely we can fleece them again this year?

I admit though, now we've cancelled this event we can avoid any chance of a repeat of last year's disaster.

11:06 am, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Ian G said...

Good point. When you say 'self financing' do you mean cripplingly expensive for CLPs (or individual members) to be delegates?

I was rather looking forward to going to my first local government conference as a councillor, but in reality I can think of far more useful purposes for the money.

11:12 am, July 16, 2008

Anonymous tim f said...

I'm in complete agreement with hughes' views on this.

One less weekend of people talking to each other instead of going out campaigning is no great loss.

In practice these events aren't self-funding because they take up staff time that could be better spent doing other things instead of organising networking opportunities. Not to mention the costs to CLPs, where it really can come down to a direct choice between leaflets or travel costs for conferences.

The media and polling benefits of annual conference aren't mirrored to nearly the same extent in Spring Conference, so I can see nothing to recommend it. Good riddance to it.

11:18 am, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect that the economics of Spring Conference are that the cost of the venue and accomodating all the Party staff attending (to say nothing of all the Spads/Ministers)could never be covered by the exhibition revenues (which are considerbaly lower than for Annual Conference both in terms of rates and volume)- and that Spring Conference has been a cost for years. Using fancy Confernece venues and overnight accomodation cost lots of money - fact of life I'm afraid.

12:54 pm, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm grateful as a voter that this column allows me to see the real state of the Labour Party.

You are a shambles. A total shambles.

As you have proved in government.

That said, I like Luke, or rather, or like the views that Luke asserts here, even though I disagree with everything he says.

What I fear is a complete collapse of the Labour Party at the next election.

And Cameron and Osborne given an absolute mandate to DWTFTL (Do What The Fuck They Like).

4:01 pm, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Oxbridge Prat said...

Any hope of even vaguely breaking even on the conference would depend on major "sponsorship" in one form or another from business, and frankly most businesses have lost interest in the Labour Party, a dying brand with little hope of imminent recovery.

It's managed decline from here on guys, trying to remain alive until sentiment turns (say in 15 years time).

5:12 pm, July 16, 2008

Blogger susan press said...

I went to Spring Conference four years ago. It was just a pointless talking shop. As we now have that once a year what's the point in another? I agree with the others. No great loss.Why not bring back the women's conference and Youth Conference instead.

9:30 pm, July 16, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Might have something to do with the Labour party bank balance. Brown is currently trying to divert attention to party funding crisis.

10:28 pm, July 16, 2008

Blogger Luke Akehurst said...


the Spring Conference consisted of between 2 and 4 of the Local Govt, Euro, Youth & Women's conferences, depending on which was due each year, plus some joint plenaries.

11:26 pm, July 16, 2008

Blogger Newmania said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:31 am, July 17, 2008

Blogger Newmania said...


Luke Labour are broke. The Unions now run it having quadrupled their bung...No peerages to sell , no private equity of motor racing thugs to bribe , a tiny member base and a seemingly irreconcilable gulf between the Liberal elite and the natural support. To give you some idea .35% of Labour voters told a Survey quoted in ”The Likes of us and “What’s Left” their second choice was the BNP. What has a Harriet Harman got to say to these socially conservative and communitarian folk( I like them , always had a soft spot for the Unions until they went all faux managerial )

I dread to think what promises have been extracted for the cash and when you think of Ecclestone , the DUP and assorted Peerages ....eeek pity the poor tax payer.

I saw a Guardian editorial yesterday saying that the Conservatives would fail because they had not made the sort of journey , in reverse , Labour did ,from Michael Foot to Tony Blair accepting market economics. My thought was , well they didn’t have to they were right and it was only a matter of style . So much has dropped into Cameron`s lap that the work of detoxifying the brand is far from complete actually , it was envisaged as a long process.

Shame about your safe seat but on the other hand an opportunity for those on the right . The old guard must surely be changing very soon

9:34 am, July 17, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:02 pm, July 17, 2008

Blogger Ravi Gopaul said...

Newsmania, add flights of fantasy to your litany of illnesses, seriously see a doctor, I'm worried about you.

2:23 pm, July 17, 2008

Anonymous brownite said...

Brother GoPaul seems to have become curiously detatched.

He's posting anonymously, insulting himself, and then defending himself under his own name to look hard.

This is very dirturbing behaviour.

He's even let it slip that he lusts for a sado-masochisitc KGB-themed orgy with John McDonnell and Susan Press.

Susan Press! Seriously Brother GoPaul, you can do better. No one can be that desperate.

5:47 pm, July 17, 2008

Blogger Newmania said...

Why not bring back the women's conference

Yes that`ll stop all that pointless talking

8:37 pm, July 17, 2008

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