This conference may be not too much of a car crash for Corbyn that will be next year after the left have organised
25 Sep 2015 at 11:07
The golden rule in politics is when you expect a car crash it rarely happens. It’s the unexpected unexpected that tends to screw things up. You can have wonderfully crafted and media friendly speeches drowned out by some junior minister caught with his knob out at the train station toilets (just anyone go just for a pee in these places?). So it’s off piste where spin doctors have no control. And it frightens the life out of them. It’s when the likes of old pros such as Damien McBride come in very useful by punting a bigger story or briefing against the hapless minister who has ‘let himself and his party down…….between you and me he was a waste of space and has saved the PM the job of sacking him……by the way you realise that KH has a serious Columbian marching powder problem….. much better story’.
So what will happen in Brighton? A tricky one. There will be lots of huff and puff about Trident and the lefties will be out in force, not in the main conference hall but at the fringes. A mate of mine who is a lifelong Labour supporter but of the sensible variety, was not too downhearted. ‘It will of course be like off the wall student politics, but remember the delegates with the vote will be councillors and ward worthies. All the vast rump of the Corbynistas would not have had time to apply for conference passes as the deadline expired a couple of months ago.’
And then keep a look out for Tom Watson, the man charged with reorganising the party machine, perhaps in his own image, who will be working behind the scenes and ensuring that there will be a reasonable proportion of speakers who are not raving lunatics will be called in the sensitive debates. So, at the moment it looks like Trident will be not blown out of the water. Well, not at this conference. 2016 will be the real bloodbath conference when the left have had time to marshall their troops and organise. So, this year Corbyn might have the perfect let out. If the really loony ideas are thrown out his supporters can’t accuse him of ratting on his promises as it will be conference who will have decided. A little bit of wriggle room.
The real fun will be had at the fringes which the left will swarm to. Expect, ugliness, arrogance and general nastiness. Pity an Blairite who has the walk the gauntlet. And there will be a lot of despondent delegates who will be crying into their beers to a consoling press who provided the beers in the first place.
This will be a conference of questions. Will Corbyn snub big business? Will he be sharing herbal tea with Gerry Adams? Will he address conference as Comrades? Will he have the wit to craft a speech that is not speaking to the converted but to the country? Will he try and busk it and speak from the heart? And will he have the courage to be interviewed by Andrew Neil?
So Corbyn has some assets. He has the worst first poll rating (-3) of any Labour leader in history. Can it get worse? Probably. But I suspect not at this conference.