Labour’s European dissonance

Next up on the conference circuit for MPC was a trip to sunny Liverpool for Labour’s annual conference last week. And what did we learn?

To be quite frank, I wasn’t entirely sure. I read what others had written and still felt a little lost. Some wonderfully witty, clever, articulate writers had been in attendance and had provided us with the nuts and bolts. New homes (yay!), a green jobs revolution (cool!), an extension of free childcare (brill!), worker’s seats on company boards (sure!?), but the whole affair left me feeling slightly lost.

Many of the policies are not particularly news. Fine policies, yes, but did I have to spend an inordinate amount of time slumped in a train vestibule with 3 million other party members to hear them? Absolutely not. Party conferences are there for the policy announcements, of course, but they should also exist to create a bond between members, a sense of purpose, a set of shared values and shared ideas.

These are difficult to foster when the key headline of the conference served to confuse. Ahhhhhhhh, Brexit. It felt as if the official line changed depending on which room you happened to be standing in at the time and whilst I accept and enjoy the “broad church” analogy, I would rather those directing the choir owned the same hymn books.

We are told that Labour will push for a general election, should parliament vote down a deal or no deal being reached by the government. “Failing that, all options are on the table”, says Jeremy Corbyn. Quite. Would you care to share your preference?

Whilst I’m sure you’re all as bored of reading about Brexit as I am of writing about it, I feel that without something tangible and positive to say, the Labour Party are struggling to find much to rally behind.

This article was written by Gerard Cockburn, attending the Labour Party Conference on behalf of MPC.