Amanda Evans – Labour Conference Summary Report
I found Conference 2017 a positive and often inspiring event, where the phrase describing Labour as ‘a Government in waiting’ became a cliché only because it felt so accurate.
There were many brilliant speeches, both from the platform (my highlights included Naomi Klein, Angela Rayner, Emily Thornberry, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, and a fantastic Leaders speech from Jeremy Corbyn) and at least as importantly, from the floor.
There were excellent contributions from many delegates, some of whose names I didn’t catch, sadly. Those I did included locals Daniel Harris and Darryl Telles from Hove CLP, (Darryl in particular speaking passionately on supporting the leadership of Keir Starmer and Jeremy Corbyn on Brexit), Leah Levane, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Dennis Skinner, and our own Elaine Bewley, Juliet McCaffery and Claire Wadey, who made a great job of moving our rule change, and trying to Reference Back the CAC report that refused our emergency motion on the unjust handling of suspensions by the Party. We were the only CLP not to cave in to the pressure to remit, and although we were defeated (which was always likely in those circumstances) it was instructive to see that there was a clear divide between CLP delegates, who voted with us, and affiliates, who didn’t.
I spoke to the (national) Treasurer’s report, and won an important concession from her that will hopefully benefit us and other CLPs in future years, and was glad to have been heard. On this, I do believe that, with conference expanding in both numbers and democracy, the CAC will have to think of better/fairer ways to call people to speak.
The free-for-all of hordes of people jumping about waving flags, inflatable parrots, dragons etc in ever more desperate attempts to be noticed and called upon by the Chair are not only ludicrous, they also disadvantage anyone who isn’t able to behave in this manner, as well as everyone in the further reaches of the hall.
My only regret in what was a brilliant few days, was not to have been able to go to any fringe or TWT events. I felt it was important as a delegate to be in the main hall when conference was in session, but was very aware how much I was missing out on!