Charon Reports (7): From The Labour Party Conference 2008

Audio podcast: Charon Reports (7) : From The Labour Party Conference 2008

I report tonight from Manchester – a City, I discovered from Google Earth, to be in the North of England. The Labour Party annual smug fest is under way.  Yesterday we had Alistair Darling, Chancellor, telling us things would be fine, provided the government cracked down on bankers running amok with bonuses.  Today, Gordon Brown, not one of life’s natural orators, had his chance to tell us that he was getting on with the job.

If I expected to see back benchers skulking around in togas, daggers hidden, I was disappointed.  i didn’t, however, expect this because the annual conference is not about politics, it is about presentation; an opiate for the faithful who are unlikely to change their voting habits and an opportunity for the party to give the Unions some pride back and make them feel vaguely relevant to the very different world of the 21st century.

As with all my other reports, I could have done it by staying on the boat and dosing myself up with a bit of NeuroBBC… but, today, in the interests of political journalism, I managed to find my way to Manchester.

Gordon Brown managed to remind us that he likes the job, is getting on with the job and is the best person for the job.  I quote from my Reuter’s newsfeed: “I know what I want to do in this job. And I know that the way to deal with tough times is to face them down. Stay true to your beliefs. Understand that all the attacks, all the polls, all the headlines, all the criticism, it’s all worth it, if in doing this job I make life better for one child, one family, one community. Because this job is not about me, it’s about you.”

Well frankly, Gordon, you have to do a bit better than make life better for one family… there are thousands of daytime television viewers out there, soon to be joined by cardboard box carrying investment bankers – who are relying on you to take this country to the promised land.

Gordon then played the “I’m not a Celebrity” card…. so he obviously does not want to be “Out of here”….  In a remarkable use of the English language, pathos and complete speech writing bollocks, Gordon told us “I didn’t come into politics to be a celebrity or thinking I’d always be popular. Perhaps, that’s just as well…..And I didn’t come to London because I wanted to join the establishment, but because I wanted and want to change it. So I’m not going to try to be something I’m not. And if people say I’m too serious, quite honestly there’s a lot to be serious about — I’m serious about doing a serious job for all the people of this country.”

Hinting darkly, possibly, at dastardly deeds – possibly even going back as far as the famous Granita Restaurant shafting…. Gordon said “What angers me and inspires me to act is when people are treated unfairly.”

The Prime Minister, rising to his theme, remembering perhaps those ripping sermons given in The Church of Scotland and going to the heart of his message… thundered…  “First transparency, all transactions need to be transparent and not hidden. Second, sound banking, a requirement to demonstrate that risk can be managed and priced for bad times as well as good. Third, responsibility, no member of a bank’s board should be able to say they did not understand the risks they were running and walk away from them. Fourth, integrity, removing conflicts of interest so that bonuses should not be based on short-term speculative deals but on hard work effort and enterprise. And fifth, global standards and supervision because the flows of capital are global, then supervision can no longer just be national but has to be global.”

It was at this stage of the proceedings that I began to lose the will to live, to understand what it must be like to be Nick Robinson or Andrew Marr who actually try and interview the man.  I persevered.  Brown then started talking about foreign policy – a subtle reminder to David Miliband that the Lord giveth and The Lord can taketh away.  he may as well have been talking about the relief of Mafeking.  It doesn’t matter.  It is all window dressing…. all the real politics is going on behind closed doors.  The men in suits will wait until the standing ovations are over and then there will be resolution one way or another.  I have absolutely no idea why I bothered to report on it. I should have set the washing machine to spin cycle and left the BBC to get on with it.

I did think about wandering around Manchester to see if Wayne Rooney and his wife Colleen were around  but London beckons..

This is Charon, reporting from Manchester

Source: Reuters


Audio podcast: Charon Reports (7) : From The Labour Party Conference 2008

7 thoughts on “Charon Reports (7): From The Labour Party Conference 2008

  1. Sir,

    As an avid follower of your daily reports, I am compelled to complain about today’s subject matter with much indignance.

    Surely a man of your importance to the crown should not be seen discussing any of the following:

    Gordon Brown
    The Church of Scotland
    Wayne Rooney

    The above words are deemed to be distasteful and unwarranted in the circles that I mix in. I certainly do not expect to read about such topics on what is normally a very sophisticated chronicle.

    My good lady wife who is / was also an avid reader, has developed a very nasty tic to her left eye as a direct result of you mentioning the ‘Gordon’ word before the 9pm watershed.

    This vulgarity must cease at once, otherwise I will have little choice but to look elsewhere for my reading material.

    We must maintain standards at all times. Good Lord man, next you will be watching cricket without a tie!

    your’s in total disgust,

    James Ba’stard Esq

  2. James Ba’stard Esq.,


    Thank you for your communication. Shortly before 9.00 am this morning, two men from the American secret service, accompanied by an itinerant PCSO (to legitimise the extraordinary rendition), arrived on my boat. I was fairly sure they were not British Police Officers because they did not Taser me or shoot me, mistaking me for a Chelsea FC supporter.,

    They explained that I had a choice. The Commander in Chief, George W Bush himself, had read but then had to listen to my Charon Reports and had instructed the CIA to “Get Charon… he’s our guy’… he can de-stablizify that buffoon in Downing Street, Gordon Ramsay.”

    I was given a stark choice. Go to Manchester, report on the Conference or it was “Look… buddy.. it is either that or you have a one way flight to Guantanamo and with your tanned complexion… orange is not your color”.

    And so, in an aircraft with no markings, unseen by the British Foreign Office, Heathrow or Fighter Intercept Command, I was flown to Manchester.

    The resulting report was the least I could do. They were not buying into the ‘Name, rank, serial number shit’…. and having waterboarded myself only earlier (It is how I wash these days – an amusing pastime, so much better than a bath) I did not fancy another one.

    Please re-assure your Lady wife that I remain of the true faith – I use the word ‘faith’ in a non-religious sense – and, there were, for those familiar with Fibonacci code and encryption algorithms… hidden messages within my report.

    I remain,


    PS… on for that drinking session with Rowan at Lambeth Palace? …. he does a good red over there…. and loaves and fishes. I’ll show you my trick of walking across The Thames without a bridge. Cracks the Archbishop up every time.

  3. It comes as such a relief to hear that El Gordo wanted and wants to change the establishment.

    After all, I’ve spent the last ten years believing that he was contentedly cosying up to said establishment to further his aims to centralise and control every aspect of our pitiful lives. It’s nice to know he’s really on the side of the Common Man (eg, yours truly) after all.

  4. I was at the 1997 Labour conference, in a role that belied my young years. Coming down some stairs, full of my own importance, I crashed headlong into Jon Snow of Channel 4 news, who had similarly not been paying attention. One of his legs left the ground and he tipped over backwards, but managed to hold on to the handrail and only fall to his knees rather than backwards down the stairs. Despite the hope and promise of the 1997 Labour conference this is the one part of it that I remember with any lucidity at all.

  5. Pingback: Mainly politics… but a bit of law… « Insitelaw magazine

  6. i was moderately interested until ruth kelly decided to drag her miserable 12yr old opus dei member’s arse out of the cabinet (along with her eyebrows one fervently hopes).
    now i begin to approve – how about hazel blears next? might actually be room for a socialist if a few of these mouth-breathing makeweights take their patriarchal conformist attitudes where they might be more welcome – like maybe dave’s bunch of shiny crappy tory people. there is a beautifully unbiased report on the telegraph online – worthy of iain dale. it’s good that the telegraph has conclusively abandonned any attempt at journalism and returned to its traditional role of issuing verbatim press releases from the conservative party – all is clearly well with the world again.
    i spy a chink of light.
    and must confess to being ok with the minister for culture media and sport andy burnham (interviews rather better than he speechifies). not sure of his beliefs but he looks like a human being with a sense of humour. wonder what on earth he’s doing in politics.

    and was delighted that dennis skinner refused to have anything to do with newsnight asking him to rank postwar labour leaders as it was a ‘cameron plot’. interviewer appeared to splutter a bit at this entirely sensible remark.

  7. I totally concur with yer comments on Gordon Braunschweiger. It’s one thing to tread on people’s faces and sack all the people in yer cabinet who merely echo the views of the population, but to then go on teevee and try to toadyyer way out of the shite is the mark of a moron. Wer’e not thick, Mr. Braunschweiger.

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