21.09.2018

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The Simple Politics guide to next week in Parliament.
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Coming together to move on

The role of Her Majesty's Opposition is to hold the government to account. To scrutinise. To stand up and shout when you see things going wrong. That's currently the official job of the Labour Party. Unfortunately, right now, they are getting far more headlines for the splits and issues within the party than they are for the work they are doing providing an alternative vision for government. 

The summer has seen then dogged by accusations of antisemitism (which still haven't entirely disappeared), in party squabbling over Brexit policy and MPs facing criticism from the local parties. Now, whether you see these as actual problems or stories that have been twisted / blown out of proportion by the media largely depends on whether you are a fan of Team Red.  Some of you will read this and swear that this 'Tory Media' have created the whole situation. Others will shake their heads at the issues and double down on their resolve to ensure that Corbyn never becomes Prime Minister.

Whatever the truth (and, it's perfectly possible that the truth is somewhere between those extremes) this is an important conference for Labour. They need to show that they can be a force for change. They can successfully hold Theresa May's feet to the fire. They can offer a credible alternative to the Conservative government. They can hold themselves together.

It is telling that Tom Watson, deputy leader, does not have a keynote speech planned at the main conference. There has been much campaigning against him and perhaps it is just a more unifying conference without him. 

The big question ahead of the conference (because 2018...) is Brexit. With more and more calling for a 'People's Vote' (or a second referendum if you like your descriptions to be less partisan), there is some pressure on Corbyn to come out in favour. This would be a vote on the final deal we have. (Although some disagree over what the vote might say: Take the deal or leave without one? Remain, take the deal or leave without one?)
 
There are many, many different motions that local activists are bringing to the conference. The GMB (and other unions) have thrown their weight behind the People's Vote. The difficulty is that Theresa May is desperate for Corbyn to come out in favour of a second vote. She will then set about painting Corbyn as being anti-democratic. The enemy of those people who voted leave 'in good faith'. 

So, it could look a bit like Corbyn is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Except that they've got conference to launch a new policy (if one is coming). So they can present a united front. Get their arguments out there. Own the news agenda.  But. Only if they can just stick together for these 5 days. 

Make sure you're watching. Whatever happens it's going to be interesting.

Also in Liverpool this week is 'The World Transformed'. This is 'a 4-day politics, arts and music festival running alongside the Labour Party Conference, working to build left power both inside and outside of Parliament'. There are lots of events programmed around left-wing politics and more. Far from being a fringe event with no links to the main event, many MPs are talking, including many from the Shadow Cabinet and even Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Friday - If you (a) open this email as soon as it drops in your inbox and (b) are interested you can catch the Gerrard Batten leader's speech from the UKIP conference at 11.55. I would strongly recommend that you do catch it if you can, if only because these leaders speeches give a wonderful insight into the mindset of a party. 

Saturday - The UKIP conference continues. It's also the Labour Women's Conference in Liverpool.

Sunday - Marr will probably be live from Liverpool for the Labour conference. Will definitely be worth a watch.

At the main conference, it's mostly policy seminars, but there is a major session on party democracy. That is on straight after Marr, so it might be worth turning over to BBC Parliament to see what various people have to say about re-selection for all sitting MPs.

Jeremy Corbyn is giving a talk called 'A world for the many' at The World Transformed.
 
Monday - Labour are in power in Wales, so when the morning session will focus on the achievements there. Expect to hear from First Minister Carwyn Jones and Shadow Wales Minister Christina Rees. We then move onto build up to John McDonnell's big speech which takes place at 12.15.

The afternoon will focus on Universal Credit. Margaret Greenwood will be having her say about it and she will be joined by others highlighting the issues they see with the rollout.


Tuesday - Liverpool will feel very Brexit-y today.  That's because the morning will be all about Labour's policy and many will be interested to see if they swing round and join calls for a 'People's Vote' on the eventual Brexit deal.

Wednesday - It's all about the leader today. Corbyn's speech is guaranteed to make headlines. Tune in from 12.15 to watch it live, or follow our extensive coverage on twitter, facebook and Instagram. Be sure to check in with us beforehand for your Big Speech Bingo card.

Thursday - Not much planned politics today. That said, I'll be at the Hen and Chickens in Bristol with my 'Beginner's Guide to UK Politics' talk. It's relaxed, fun and informative. If you're in that neck of the woods come along. Talk starts at 7.30.

Saturday - The family show rolls into Hertford today. We'll be at the Hertford Theatre at 4pm as part of the Hi-Jinks festival. We're on after The Snail and The Whale. So there is something for everyone!

Sunday - All eyes on Birmingham for the Conservative Party Conference.
It's Bristol and Hertford this weekend, people! Come along!
Bristol tickets!
Hertford tickets!
Manchester tickets!
Colchester tickets!
Ps - please don't forget to click here to chip in with Patreon if you can
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