Thursday, 15 October 2009

The end of conference season

There are two kinds of speech at a party conference; there are good speeches and there are speeches made by good speakers. The difference is that while the former, though still well delivered, is written in order to promote policies, aims and ideas, the latter is written for the promotion only of the person who wrote it. As year by year we drift further into the realm of personality politics, the line between the two categories becomes increasingly blurred, to the point where it is now hard to judge the value of a party conference at all. Though in the past it has served as an opportunity for the press to put the spotlight on party policy and to give the grassroot membership the opportunity to take on an active role in influencing those policies as the party political system require, increasingly, conference season has become an opportunity for the party PR teams to exhibit their products out on the podium while the role of the membership is reduced in the press to providing lengths of applause as measurements of the popularity of key speakers. Party conferences may still provide members with a means of shaping policy, however as the role of the party diminishes in favour of individual personalities, so too has the value of conferences been undermined

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Rolling Back the State?

A fantastic article from Will Hutton about the role of the state in the 21st Century.

The state does have a role to play. What role should that be?