October newsletter note
Author: Liam Booth-Smith |
Perhaps the silliest aspect of party conferences is the pseudo-psychic attempts at articulating their ‘mood’. How can anyone reduce hundreds of events, thousands of speeches, tens of thousands of people’s experiences into a singular epithet? It’s a task fit for only a Plato, Camus or Wodehouse. This strikes me as an unreasonable burden to place on sleep deprived journalists. For a task akin to knotting fog it seems apt most approach it as if they were doing the weather;
“What’s the mood like Laura?”
“Nervous in the hall, but outside things are calmer. Overwhelmingly it’s positive, with signs that Monday’s difficulty has passed and everyone is looking forward to this afternoon.”
Less cumulus than mood is the miasma of cliché that conferences offer. Again, it must be something to do with sleep deprivation. “Putting it centre stage”, “laying the foundations”, “zeroing in”… Orwell was right, political language often gives the “appearance of solidity to pure wind”. I’ll be awarding a prize to the best conference speech delivered by a either Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet Minister. Naturally, this is will be arbitrary and decided by my good taste alone, but if anyone has a nomination let me know and make your case. The winner’s prize will be a book (title tbc), and both will be revealed in our next newsletter.
This will be my third Newsletter Note and I’ve had some lovely comments plus some nasty ones. Both are wonderful in their own ways and long may they continue. I particularly enjoyed the one email ending “I’m not a commie, even though everything I’ve written makes me sound like one” and the one beginning “You’re writing is hugely damaging.” I remain honoured anyone reads them at all. Your passion is inspiring.
Finally, a bit of business. We have a number of events at next week’s Conservative Party conference, details below, so don’t be shy. See you there.