Yes, the Political Party Conference season is with us again. And my heart sinks. As far as I know, we`ve already had the UKIP one, presumably somewhere in the UK; the Plaid Cymru one, no doubt somewhere in Wales; the Green Party one, which is doubtless biodegradable and last week the LibDem shindig in Brighton. And today the Labour Party are limbering up for their turn before the Conservatives bring the curtain down on it all in a week or so`s time.
There are so many irksome things wrong with these `conferences` that it`s difficult to know where to begin, so I`ll just give the one example of the sight yesterday of Ed Milliband, rumoured to be the Labour Party Leader, getting out of a chauffeur driven car in Manchester, not bothering to shut the door as presumably some lackey will do that for him as a claim to fame ("I actually got to shut Ed Milliband`s car door!!"), immediately being pounced on, embraced and greeted by some woman who was every so pleased to see him and then running the gauntlet of an obvious rent-a-crowd of smiling, handshaking tame admirers straight from central casting.
You see, it`s all the falsehood of it all, the daft notion these people have that we are impressed by stunts like that. Closer to home, the MP for an adjoining constituency writes a column every week in the Kent Messenger (my own constituency MP clearly can`t be bothered) and this week she proposes "What better place to chew the cud than at Party conferences? Consultation, exchange of information, consideration of differences, creation of common policy and a bit of fun too."
She then complains that she had to shell out £80 as the entrance fee for her party conference - the Conservative one, of course - but this was a bargain because she booked early and suggests that anyone wanting to sign up now would have to pay a lot more. I imagine her £80 comes from the taxpayer anyway, along with her MP`s salary, her ministerial salary now she has a foot on the greasy pole, her expenses, subsidised everything and all the rest of it. She complains too that conferences are now attended by fewer party members, more lobbyists and more media and that what`s needed is inclusivity, especially from the younger generation.
She invites anyone who has something to say about all this to "write to me as I will be talking with our party Chairman." I might just do that and suggest that it`s about time she and her MP chums got back to Parliament after their long, long summer recess and now these pointless fol-de-rols and did the job we pay them to do. On the other hand, maybe not, for I have come round to the view that what we really need is some kind of benign dictatorship - someone like Joanna Lumley would do nicely.