All three conferences show how poorly politics is…
Waiting for David Cameron’s no-doubt doom leaden and no-doubt, economically speaking, lemming-like speech it struck me that each of the three main Party conferences have, in their own way, been pretty dire. One common theme that has through them all is the lack of genuine debate and the fact that these have less been conferences – more rallies.
I expect at this point, Liberal Democrats will leap-in. It says something about the demoralisation of activists that most Conservative and Labour people would probably accept the above point is broadly true – however, Lib Dems always insist they are different. However, if they are so different then they will have to explain to me why, when it came to the NHS vote, over 50% of those present voted for a wider debate but it still did not happen. Don’t kid yourself Lib Dems, your Party and your Party Conference is just as stage-managed as the rest of them. Even the dissent is largely manufactured – carefully calibrated to preserve the appearance of a living and vibrant political organisation awash with fresh ideas and controversy.
People are disengaging from politics and when you look at what has been on-show over the last few weeks it’s hardly surprising. Put simply, these theatre shows are profoundly boring and disengaging. Nothing exists to stimulate the grey matter and get people talking. Don’t get me wrong – I am sure it’s great to be their – to network, meet old comrades and attend the fringe events which, I suspect are much more lively and interesting than the set-piece events but nobody really sees that and this is where the media is also somewhat to blame.
What the last three weeks have shown us is a Liberal Democrat Party putting a brave face on the fact its hanging over the edge of a very sheer electoral drop, a Labour Party whose opposition to this disastrous government is confused and muddled and is weighed down with an unpopular leader and a governing Conservative Party that literally is clueless about what to do about the situation the country finds itself in except, of course, retreat into the comfort zone of the same dogma that thirty odd years ago sowed the seeds of the current bad harvest of crippling debt and rampant social inequality.
Passion, intensity, controversy and great debate is all absent and at a time when the country desperately needs the light that such heat generates to shine a way forward that should worry us all, not just those who are already passionately political but every single one of us.