News has now hit the blogosphere (hat-tip to Tygerland who we think was the first to pick it up) that the Labour Party has decided to cancel Glasgow Spring Conference.
We’ll be interested to hear whether the decision was made by the NEC or sprung on us by faceless apparatchiks, but it seems a little surprising either way. It will certainly save money, but it would have saved even more to not book the venue in the first place.
Will those who have booked hotels get a refund? There are already an angry mob of people who got turned away from Manchester having gone to a lot of expense to get there.
Paul Linford speculates that this will get Blair out of being pressured to use his speech to give a departure date. It will certainly quash any remaining hope of a leadership election early in the New Year, with the results announced at Spring Conference and that used as a springboard for the Scottish and Welsh elections.
Now there is no springboard at all, which may leave Scottish comrades gritting their teeth, though at least it means that Blair can be kept entirely out of the country during the campaign.
The Prime Minister himself may now be thinking of Annual Conference 2007 as a departure date – it would save some money on the declaration of results after all. Leadership and deputy leadership candidates will be preparing for a long campaign.
There is also one other more minor matter, which is that Spring Conference had been intended to host the Biennial Conference of Young Labour, which elects a youth rep to the NEC.
In the past the hard-right leadership of Labour Students have gone to extraordinary lengths to stitch up this position, even getting the NEC to propose a constitutional amendment at Annual Conference in order to invalidate the “wrong” candidate in one year. Who knows what they will come up with now, but you can bet it won’t involve an OMOV ballot to replace the conference. Perhaps the election will be held by podcast. Perhaps the incumbent will be declared officially young for life. Nothing would surprise us.