Labour conference: A healthy debate

The vote on health logistics privatisation has already been reported this morning – along with housing and corporate manslaughter, a crushing defeat for the platform.

During the debate, UNISON General Secretary David Prentis paused for repeated applause and went over the 10-minute limit, at which point the microphone was cut off without morning by the chair, leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party Gary Titley MEP.

Unreported was the exchange provoked when one delegate produced an example of anti-UNISON flyers being distributed on conference floor, allegedly by party staff, and demanded to know who was responsible.

Another delegate replied, saying that in fact she had distributed the leaflets and not party staff. It is widely suspected that she had been put up to it by the leadership, but they evidently hadn’t briefed her very well.

She went on to accuse the “UNISON stand” of “taking a million pounds of public money”. Presumably she had been meant to say that opposing privatisation would incur such a cost, rather than accusing those on the UNISON stall in the exhibition hall of pinching the money.

She then waved a letter from David Prentis attacking the government’s position and said “I demand to know who is responsible for this piece of paper!”

We suspect that it may have been, erm, David Prentis.

We can only say to the party fixers who organise these antics – if you’re going to do it, at least try to get it right.

9 Responses to Labour conference: A healthy debate

  1. Benjamin says:

    Pure farce.

  2. Bob Piper says:

    Titley’s stupidity guaranteed the UNISON motion would win even if it had not been certain before. As for the letter, to demand to know who was responsible for a letter written on UNISON headed notepaper, signed by Dave Prentis was just embarrassing.

  3. Andrea says:

    The delegate is, I think, Carol Dean from Tamworth

  4. media scum says:

    yes, The Times pinned down the the person as the CLP delegate form Tamworth. A good one for the comrades there to talk about when they get their post conference report back…….

  5. Personally, I share Ms Dean’s disgust. How dare trade unions turn up to party conference and maintain a consistent policy position? They’ll be supporting their own opinions on the NEC next.

  6. Ian G says:

    Could anyone really think that an ordinary CLP delegate is going to be so annoyed to spontaniously write and copy several thousand lealfets? And get access to the facillities to produce it? It refers to an NEC statement that I think was only given to conference delegates at the begining of the session, so this would have to be done in a mere few hours.

    I only wish I saw the people who started it going around the hall. Somebody must have, and they should name names.

    I’m not so much worried about the absue of party democracy, as this wouldn’t have changed anything. I’m more annoyed about people treating us like idiots.

  7. Antonia Bance has written quite a funny piece on this:

    http://www.antoniabance.org.uk/2006/09/29/delegates/

    Her comparison to student politics certainly brings back some memories of running print operations at NUS Conference, and I’m sure the preponderance of ex-NOLS apparatchiks at Party HQ is no coincidence.

  8. Antonia says:

    Quite. Though the reason I know so much about running print operations is having run a pretty good student print operation myself a few times. 😉

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