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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Party Conferences: Wasted Time and Money

The major political parties - and most of the minor ones - have now held their annual conferences. They were all covered intensively by the media, yet even within the week of the Conservative Conference apolitical televiewers have forgotten all that was said in them. The party faithful have gone home, with mild sensations of satisfaction at having rubbed shoulders with the second-tier professionals, has-beens and never-quite-made-its; and seen themselves on TV monitors and in newspaper photographs. Any feel-good sensations derived from being inside the tent cannot be supported by new policies or by any scintilla of hope for a relaxation of the depressing economic trend. David Cameron's status has been increased, largely because no other politician has enhanced his or her stature: hence the incumbent looms larger, and his responsibility  for the ultimate failure of his government becomes more conspicuous.
The great majority of delegates [and Tory representatives] are people of modest means who will feel the cost of staying in budget accommodation for a few nights over the next couple of months as they are forced to manage their spending that bit more tightly.
Standing outside any party one cannot see any value in the whole ritual; but the negative evidence of the potential bankruptcy of the British model of democracy becomes more compelling. The unfolding experience of economic failure combines with the democratic deficit to lead  towards disillusion with all the underlying assumptions that have allowed Britain to be a successful democracy for over a century. There is no sign of what will follow the final collapse.

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