Labour conference: Tony “tough views” Woodley

Love him or hate him (and we love him), Tony Woodley tells it like it is.  Speaking tonight alongside Steve Richards of the Indy and Jon Cruddas MP, Woodley gave a barnstorming speech at the Compass rally.  But towards the end of the meeting he got a call.  Sat on the platform in front of everyone he answered it and started speaking animatedly.  After a bit of swearing, he grabbed the microphone and said, “Sorry everyone, I have got to go to compositing – the government is threatening to withdraw the entire Corporate Manslaughter Bill if we don’t withdraw our proposed amendments”.  Cue stunned silence.  Tony then exclaimed, “And I am going to tell them to bugger off!” – and off he went.  Nothing like straight talking!

Update: The Compass rally also heard a very surprising speech from Steve Richards. The Indy’s Political Editor has previously been regarded as one of the more Blairite journalists, but he launched a stinging attack Alan Milburn and and unnamed others who he described as believing in objectively “centre-right” politics. He quoted Milburn’s telling recent statement that, “If we don’t do these things, then David Cameron will”, suggesting that Milburn had revealed the limits of his ambition – to simply do the same things that a Tory government would, only sooner. He suggested that Blairism had now reached its natural end point and there were big decisions ahead if we were to take forward genuine centre-left politics in Britain.

Also notable was a good contribution by Jon Cruddas. We recommend reading his pamphlet for the details, but perhaps the most telling thing he said was an aside – mentioning that his CLP had increased its membership almost every month for the last eighteen months. There can’t be many CLPs that can say the same, and it points to a campaigning record that the party could usefully draw wider lessons from.

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