A Strange Conference

The National party conference this weekend was strange.

There was, of course, the usual oldies, but there was also a larger and more active group of younger to middle aged party members. It was also noticeable that this group almost unanimously abandoned the official dinner function and instead gravitated to various establishments nearby for a much better dinner and company than those left marooned eating poor quality food and having to endure a 25 minute speech from Peter Goodfellow before dessert was served.

Later as party moved to the various bars of?Courtney?Place and the poor souls who went to the official dinner joined us the verdict was unanimous. The meal was crap and speech awful. The only light moments?received?when a small group of a bout 30 arrived dressed in their silly costumes.

That is all by the by though, and certainly not why this conference was strange. It was strange not for the transformation and apparent renewal going in National but for the distinct lack of protestors.

I remarked to a few long time attendees that all the fun?has?seemed to have disappeared. No longer in election year are delegates running the?gauntlet?of abuse from various hordes of rabid left-wingers. There were only two protests. One pathetic last ditch attempt from a rag-tag bunch of Labour flunkies and assorted Student Union has-beens that was universally mocked and laughed at because of its timidity.

At one point a few of us were even able to out shout their efforts with a resounding Hey Ho, Hey Ho, Goff has to Go, replacing their word with Goff. It was a sad moment that never really improved. If VSM is so?vehemently?opposed then where were mass protests? As I said there were barely 15 of them and they couldn’t even hold their signs up the right way.

Today there was just one protestor, cutting a lonely figure, holding up an inept sign, demanding the government stop cuts to the ECE sector. He couldn’t grasp that a $500 million increase in funding wasn’t a cut.

This is an election year, by rights there should have been assorted groups of rowdies, ne’erdowell’s and opposition party hacks outside protesting. There were in reality none. There were no effigies being burned, no flags being trampled and no clever protest signs. There were more police in?attendance?than protestors.

Last conference in Wellington there were Young Labour activists crawling over the?place, bugging meetings, gate-crashing functions and shouting and protesting. It seems they have evaporated.

I suggest that Labour is in serious trouble, if even their hard core activists can’t even be fagged running protests outside the National party conference in an election year. If your activists can’t be bothered turning up then neither will your voters. Labour are destined to destruction in this years election.

I can’t hardly wait.