The Conference season has come and gone. They are strange beats coming just after Parliament had sat for a fortnight following a seven week holiday. Nothing much happens in the two week period but it was brought in to stop the tabloids going on about MPs all apparently having twelve weeks on the beach.
But it does cost the tax payer over £50k a day to open it for such a short time. The Conference season is a complete waste of time. Except. Except, for the finance offices of both the Tories and the Labour parties as they make £1m plus each from fees, sponsorship and broadcast rights.
The Conference season is wrongly placed in the Parliamentary calendar. General Elections generally, with the odd exception, happen in May or June. They happen then because daylight is longest and the weather is usually good enough to canvas people in their homes. Sandwiched between the General Elections are others including County, Metropolitan and borough (and Europe but not for long).
The Conference season should move to the Easter holidays. This would mean that once in every five years they would be worth listening too because a General Election would be just around the corner. As important it would mean that once our MPs had returned from their beach huts in early September they would sit continually through to December.
Much was made of Jeremy Corbyn’s almost evangelical reception wherever he went in Brighton. The polls are with him but it will not last. Theresa May is having a wretched time and she must be looking forward to 2019 when the documents to leave the EU would have been agreed and signed off.
But knowing how slowly departments work in Whitehall I will be amazed if we will have signed these documents by then. But anyway even if we have we have a further two years of transition when all the EU laws will still apply. This is a complete madness. By agreeing to this transition, the PM has ensured that she will have stood down before the next election leaving her successor to fight the 2022 General
Election. By 2020 we will know the costs of leaving Europe. This will be north of £60bn. Voters will be angry. They will voice the anger by voting against the government in 2022. The Tories could suffer their worst results since 2001.
If only Captain Birdseye, aka Jeremy Corbyn, could be persuaded to change his views on Europe. If Labour stopped fudging its policy on the single market and came out in support of it, then the 2022 General would become a second referendum that many Londoners crave.