This year we have the Labour Party's conference in Brighton (as if you didn't know). After managing to negotiate Sussex Police's astonishingly large Operation Otter (who comes up with these names?) I've slipped into quite a few fringe meetings already.
Before reporting on the fringes though, a few other items. The main thoroughfares in Brighton have become banner battle-grounds with supporters of the new stadium in Falmer making some creative entries (unfortunately as I'm rather opposed to building a football stadium in the countryside next to my University!). e.g. 'Professional football club, GSOH, looking for new home' or something to that effect.
Still the most striking banners are the primary colour New Labour ones which strike me as being odd in a number of ways…
The 'New Labour, New Britain' thing just seems remarkably hackneyed and dated in any context including the banners.
The statements on the banners are just so banal, meaningless and impossible to verify as so they do nothing for the casual observer. 'A better life for children' or 'A better life for communities' means what exactly? Labour has made many good changes (along with several bad) but these banners don't highlight the good work, they're almost aspirational – if they mean anything at all.
Robin Grant over at Perfect.co.uk (who is making blogging ever so challenging, he's posting on everything before I ever get a chance to!) has noticed that there are matching banners being advertised on the web. Nice to see some banner ads being used, but the same comments above apply to Labour's particular implementation.
The banners link through to the Labour Virtual Conference which does provide quite a decent conference experience with webcasting, live chats and… a blog ('conference diaries' in Labour.org.uk lingo) with comments enabled and even some entries from Party Chairman Ian McCartney. Some of the posts are a little garbled but I'm really rather impressed. Again Robin at Perfect.co.uk has more on Labour conference blogging.
Well this has turned into a rather large post in its own right so fringe reports in a later post…