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All the Best Stuff We've Overheard at the Labour Conference

Really great stuff happening down here in Brighton, guys.
Simon Childs
London, GB
Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

The Labour Party conference: really the place to be if you want to hear excited Corbynistas discuss spanking tax-exile Richard Branson back into the dark ages, or Blairites weeping nostalgically for Cool Britannia. It's also a great place to be if you want to observe two different wings – left Corbyn fans and right Corbyn boo-boys – and all the sub-groupings of those wings going at each other with what Kim Jong-un would no doubt term "rude nonsense".


I've had a great few days drifting about, texting other media workers I once met to see if they want to go for a drink. "They're probably all really busy speaking on panels, or attending a drinks reception I'm not on the list for" is what I can infer from their non-response. (No problem, guys, catch you back in London!) So instead, I've been earwigging on delegates and in conference meetings. Here's the best stuff I've heard.


"I expect David Attenborough is going to come and watch me and say, 'Oh look, she's eating!'"

– A working class woman is made to feel like a rare specimen at a panel about reconnecting with working class voters.

"I don't give a toss about the egos of these men."

– Jess Philips declares her position on the question of Corbynistas vs Blairites.

"Don't think there isn't a plan. There is a plan… you're not going to hear about it."

– Luke Akehurst, head of Labour First, hints that the Labour right is making moves to "dig ourselves out of this hole"… the hole of being one of the biggest political parties in Europe following a wave of enthusiasm that has politicised a generation.

"If you see any Progress people tell them… tell them they're an endangered species!"

"I'm not so sure."

– Two Socialist newspaper sellers on the seafront discuss the decline of their enemies on the "moderate" wing of the party.

"If you know someone who's particularly got spare money lying around, send them our way and I'll take them to lunch."

– Richard Angell, Director of Progress, gets out the begging bowl now that Lord Sainsbury is no longer sinking millions into the Tony Blair fan-club.

"Y'know, I'm not saying violence is the answer…"

– A delegate discusses party infighting on the seafront.

"Oooh, Yvette Cooper"

– A very half hearted attempt by the Labour right to reclaim Corbyn's "Seven Nation Army" tune at a meeting of Labour First.

"Oooh, Caroline Lucas"

– Green Party members doing the same thing on the pro-EU march on Sunday. Can people think of some new songs please?

"This protest. Nobody in the conference centre knows it's going on."

– A news photographer documenting the pro-EU march muses on the futility of protest to an on-looking police officer.

"Overthrow your EU globalist overlords"

– A possible conspiracy theorist shouts his objections to the pro-EU march into the bemused crowd.

"Tony Blair was a decent Prime Minister."

– Mic-drop moment after performing at the Labour karaoke from a comrade who looked like he was born a few years after 1997.

"Tony! Tony! Tony!"

– Chanted by Blairites at conference karaoke after a rendition of "Things Can Only Get Better" by D:ream, much like they did last year.

"Fuck 'em"

– An attendee at The World Transformed gives her answer to the possibility of big corporations fleeing the country if Corbyn taxes businesses more.