The principle of whether spring conferences should continue was discussed at September’s NEC meeting and there was broad agreement that given the lack of tangible business at spring conferences – and, yes, the financial implications both for the Party nationally and for CLPs – the practice could be discontinued in favour of more local events.
No decision was made about 2007, however, because the costs of cancelling bookings for the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, as well as associated hotels and other costs, had not been assessed.
So, the answer is a slightly grey area – the NEC agreed the principle about spring conferences, but the decision about Glasgow was made by senior staff once they had dusted off Victoria Street’s abacus and done their sums.
Of course, some will no doubt wonder who tabled the proposal in the first place, but overall the decision was probably sensible on financial grounds, if the conference wasn’t going to be part of the elections timetable anyway.
A decision on when and where (and possibly if) the Young Labour Conference due next year is to be held will be made by the NEC Organisation Sub-Committee at their next meeting on October 17. Some people have speculated that the powers that be will locate it wherever their political forces are strongest, but we would not be so cynical.