Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Corporate' Fantasy Land of Politics; Opinion

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Corporate' Fantasy Land of Politics; Opinion

Article excerpt

Byline: Peter Troy

PARTY political conferences were once events where party members could contribute debate and vote on party policy - a chance for the party's rank-and-file to have their say.

To make the conferences accessible, they were held in seaside towns with out-of-season hotel room prices. Now the high cost of corporate hotel accommodation makes access to the conferences only available for the well-off or the well-funded.

Having attended both the Labour and Conservative conferences and closely followed the Lib Dem event I have since been reflecting not on the differences between them but the similarities. The modern political conferences have become corporate-style sales rallies rather than examples of democracy in action.

In both parties I observed a sort of cosy, rather smug and introverted political elite, living and communicating in a fantasy world of political gossip and rumour. They all have more in common with each other than with the rest of us. The conferences are held in bubbles behind high fences and concrete barricades with huge and oppressive security. Debates on issues affecting the outside world are reduced to tightly controlled large and small gatherings. The language of our political masters has become irrelevant.

Up until recently the terms 'left' and 'right' were an essential part of the language of politics. Politicians were once identifiable by their positions on the political spectrum. This is now something of the past, a matter of history. In the modern political world our politicians resemble slick corporate executives exhorting over their brand of politics which increasingly resembles a product that is marketed to both the party faithful as well as the electorate; party activists being treated as a direct sales team. …

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