Labour Conference Brighton 2019
Part One of the Conference Report essentially outlines important points in relation to conference proceedings, general organisation and recommendations. I should only like to add that, as a first time delegate, I found it an informative, stimulating experience to which I felt privileged to attend and for this I thank my Branch for nominating me as a Delegate.
The following issues were for me a matter of concern:
- The Motion on Ethical Foreign Policy
- Media Coverage
- Unwarranted pressure on venues and outlets focussing on Palestinian issues
- Suggestions / recommendations for future conferences
The motion on Ethical Foreign Policy discussed and passed at a Regency Branch Meeting was eventually proposed by Hove & Portslade CLP. It was very well received, passed with only one vote against, and supported by relevant contributions from the floor.
I should emphasise that nothing in the motion could in any way be interpreted as anti-Semitic. It was a matter of great distress that a negative and inaccurate report was sent to the Jewish Chronicle. Fortunately, the proceedings were recorded so the claims were refuted. It serves as a warning of the negative effects of media bias.
Media Coverage from the press, the BBC and Sky was in general unsupportive presenting a picture of a failed conference beset with inner tensions and murmurings against the leadership.
This view is supported by a forensic overview of all the papers at the end of each day. It was difficult to reconcile what I had experienced during the day with what I subsequently read in the evening. I consistently witnessed an outlining of policies that would attempt to address critical issues of the day and respond to the needs of an increasingly disaffected marginalised population. Jeremy Corbyn’s closing address laid out a very clear agenda for which he rightly received a standing ovation. I fear this would have been lost on the wider community many of whom are not engaged with social media but whose votes at the general election on December 12th will nevertheless be significant.
Pressures on venues to cancel events:
This took place before Conference in response to the demands of a small section of the community. Fortunately, such cancellations did not, as feared, escalate and where they did occur alternative venues were found. The refusal of a local bookshop to cancel a book launch was unexpected and distressing and did little to enhance the reputation of the city.
In her welcoming address Nancy Platts, Chair of Brighton and Hove City Council, spoke of a Vibrant: Diverse: Progressive: City. If Brighton is to maintain that reputation there is a need for local politicians, council dignitaries and the local press, regardless of political persuasion and other pressures, to unite and offer a genuine, supportive welcome to all those attending. There was, unfortunately, too little evidence of this.
Sandy Kennedy, Regency Delegate