What should I say to Labour delegates?

What should I say to Labour delegates?

Is it all doom and gloom?

I’ve just accepted an invitation to give my thoughts on the general election outcome at a fringe event at the Labour conference in Brighton. This will be the first time I’ve been and I like the idea that it’s at somebody else’s expense. There’s a similar session at the Tory conference the following week.

What I’ve been pondering is what on earth can I say in Brighton that is not going to go down like a lead balloon. For in April there was a step-change in opinion which took Labour back into the mid-20s again. That was followed by the June 4th electoral disasters and last month the Norwich North by election.

Of course events can change things as we saw temporarily in the period between the Lehmans collapse in September 2008 and Christmas. But even when the “Brown – the saviour of the world” hype was at its peak the party failed to overhaul the Tories – not even in a single poll.

I will tell them that currently I’m refraining from risking any cash on the commons seats spread markets – but that’s more of a betting rather than a political decision. There’s just a risk that the political climate could change dramatically with a new Labour leader and I don’t want to be caught with costly positions.

For the big problem for Labour remains: after facing Cameron for nearly four year they have yet to find a strategy that works. Dismissing him as a “toff” or a “cutter” or a “novice” doesn’t seem to have resonated. That could still happen but time is slipping away.

Mike Smithson

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