Wednesday 26 September 2012

Comic Book Conference Season

Ahhhh, Conference Season is upon us. That annual dash of showhands and illusion. That nod to the equally feared and reviled "grassroots"

Yesterday, I met some very nice Lib Dems at a fringe event on Adult Social Care. Delusional, trapped  Lib Dems - "There is No Al-ter-na-tive", "We stab-il-ised Int-erest Rates", "We're ma-king things less bad" - kindly automatons who don't believe a word they're saying. A grassroots totally detached from their leadership. A party almost totally at odds with the direction they are taking. But conference does it's job well. Nothing is more important than a show of unity. Dissension is carefully managed. The Lib Dems will stay in this loveless marriage because for them, there really IS No Alternative.

Like a comic book version of politics, conference bears no relation to what is really happening, or indeed what will happen once the backdrops have been folded up and put away, once the lights have dimmed and the veneer of inclusivity and democracy have faded for another year.

Cameron, The Joker, will ooze sociopathic idiocy for a week in Birmingham. It may just be that some plebs will have to be admitted and tolerated, but the champagne swilling Baddies will pepper the news with snobby utterances and outrageous put-downs. There will be a Theresa May cat incident or a "Toxic Tories" own goal or two. Beyond the secure zone we will shake our heads and agree that they are unfit to govern.

The words of the Joker will chill us all

"Madness is the emergency exit, you can just step outside and just close the door on all those dreadful things that happened. You can lock them away......forever"

But what is left?? So the conversation always goes. We have rejected the sociopaths, despaired of the automatons, but who will take their place? What is The Alternative?

Yet again, the country answers as one : There is No Alternative.

Ed Miliband has nailed Clark Kent, got him down to a tee. But Clark needs to find his underpants - and quick. OK, I'm mixing my comic book metaphors, but Clark can't defeat the Joker!!! He can't even face the automatons. He can't philosophise his way out of this mess.

In a whirl of decision, Labour Conference needs to give us Superman. We need a hero, someone we can believe in. We need the impossible to become possible, and we need the geeky Kent to astonish us all.

We need direction, a belief that if entrusted with saving the nation, Labour are up to the job. They need to give us Kryptonite, not philosophy. A great superhero can make the impossible possible, can find answers when others see only problems. They need total belief and a touch of magic.

Clark Kent is racked by indecision and caution, Superman has no such doubts.

Superheroes don't win by default. They don't sit back and wait for the Joker to burn himself out. They don't back off. They don't dither.

They see a disaster and they know what they have to do to make it better.

They become the Alternative.


  1. Beautifully written, Sue. I really can't remember a time in British politics when there have been three such ineffectual and dull party leaders. Ed is simply the best option to choose from a very poor selection. Maybe the theme tune to the conference this year should be "I believe in Miracles" !

  2. Weeeell, then we would be calling Ed a "sexy thing" in the next line.....

    1. Ugh! perish the thought! No, all the partys should have the same conference theme "send in the clowns"

  3. The problem with the lib conference is that they haven't a clue on how to get the right message across as apart from clegg the speeches are way to feeble and well off the mark in what goes on in daily life
    they talk to the audience as if the queen was sat next to them

    no passion or vibrancy in the speeches
    yet again no mention of the large death toll on the sick and disabled in being found fit for work despite me giving the list to clegg to read out

    clegg can talk but this is just a skill like Darren brown there is nothing positive at all in cleggs speeches other then to confirm what we already know in that the cutbacks on the sick and disabled will last for another 10 years or so

    as for hitting the rich that is not even possible in countries where you try to do this you end up a target for assassination clegg is daft bit he's not that daft the same as Cameron

    All there trying to do is try to sound convincing by being nice but in reality the liberals are finished

    As to where there vote will go at the next election it will end up with labour but yet again that party is way to conservative

    the bottom line is at the end of the day if your sick or disabled you are well and truly stuffed and sunk and that is the only conclusion to draw and i see no politician at this time on the hunt to change things

  4. I agree Sue, we need some heroism from Labour now. They can't just depend on the Tories 'losing' the next election; we need a decisive win. Voter apathy won't be altered unless Labour have the conviction to realise that the vast majority of people do believe in social justice, compassion and fairness. He doesn't need to pander to the scrounger rhetoric anymore; the 'squeezed middle' are as fed up as the rest of us. But it all depends on the framing of the message. Obviously there can be no return to the impassioned speeches of pre-Blair Labourism but something close to it might work wonders. Remember Kinnock; don't grow old, or be ill, or be unemployed under the Tories? We need a new version of that same outraged call to action. Surely now, with the 'gift' of Mitchell's gaff, Ed is in the perfect position to create a united vision of a country allied around revulsion and anger towards the braying elites who represent no-one but themselves. If he can't grasp the nettle now then God help us.