Spring conference cancelled

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.

Update here.

9 Responses to Spring conference cancelled

  1. Matthew says:

    Happy days – the spring conference has probably been scrapped entirely because the Labour Student loons haven’t found a candidate yet.

  2. Well, the left (in its broadest sense) seems have two so maybe they could borrow one.

    If I was a few years younger I’d offer to be the Labour Students candidate. I’ve always wanted to have a go at some Blairite headbanging.

    I can see myself now, proclaiming the socialist case for the flat tax coupled with another coup attempt in Venezuela.

  3. Andrea says:

    who actually took that decision? The NEC Organisation Committee?

  4. That is as yet unclear – certainly Ann Black didn’t mention any decision in her report of the last full NEC or during their meetings at Party Conference.

  5. Matthew says:

    Does The Daily need a corrections column like the Guardian?

    Ann Black said in her report: “The NEC agreed that spring conference was not essential, with some suggestions for demerging the local government and women’s elements, and that resources would be better put into local forums involving the wider membership than into overnight national policy forum meetings.”

    Now, that doesn’t look like they took a vote on it or anything, but it seems pretty clear wouldn’t you say?

  6. That read to me like a general discussion of Spring Conference as an annual event, not the specific Spring Conference coming up – for which a venue is booked, the website is advertising, etc etc.

    It’s a big leap from “spring conference was not essential” and “some suggestions for demerging the local government and women’s elements” to a decision to cancel Glasgow 2007.

    I’d imagine that if the NEC decided this then Ann might have made more of it than a half sentence that doesn’t even mention Glasgow or 2007.

  7. Matthew says:

    Yes, but they debated it and came to the conclusion that “it wasn’t essential”. That’s a bit away from what you said above – that she didn’t mention it in her report at all…

  8. I didn’t say “she didn’t mention it” – I said she “didn’t mention any decision“. I didn’t read in to Ann’s words that the decision in question had been made.

    It is possible that she just underplayed it, but I think it more likely that a general discussion at NEC was then used as authority for the decision by whoever took it, which is what I was getting at.

  9. Nick says:

    To be fair to The Daily, they seem to have the same interpretation that other blogs have put on it:

    http://unionfutures.blogspot.com/2006/10/labour-shelves-spring-conference.html

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