Propaganda, pledges and polls
Well, the Labour membership have apparently managed to force a vote about the Iraq war at the conference, but this still doesn't stop the party's website clogging itself up with unintuitive design, little easily-accessible content, constant demands for money, and Q&A sessions filled with stooge questions. Could this be because genuine members might ask slightly awkward ones, perchance?
Meanwhile Gordon Brown chugs on apace as the new face of caring, sharing Labour:
"Last night Mr Brown pledged £100m a year to help debt relief for 32 of the poorest nations. He promised to write off Britain's share of the countries' debts to the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The move, part of increased aid budgets announced in this summer's three-year spending review, was designed to encourage the international community to speed efforts to write off Third World debt."
Elsewhere, more reports of Brown's speech seem to make it look like he's going for the business vote alongside the fair trade one:
"Facing a global recovery that is uneven and still fragile, where oil prices have doubled and imbalances worsened, I will tell the G7 and IMF when I travel to Washington later this week that we will take no risks with inflationary pay deals ... no short-termism, no easy options, no irresponsible pre-election promises."
Can Brown really appeal to all constituencies simultaneously? Hell, why not - Blair managed it back in '97, after all...
Oh, and speaking of Blair, The Times runs one of those classic pointless polls which tells us nothing we don't know already - namely that Blair's less popular than he was, but that no one's going to vote Tory anyway. Hurrah!
And even as I write this, the full text of Gordon Brown's speech pops up online - he had a three minute standing ovation, apparently. Not amazing, but it'll be interesting to see how Tony's received in comparison. But was this bit somewhat pointed?
"I believe that we have shown that when we make a compelling case and trust the progressive instincts of the British people we can build a shared sense of national purpose, we can build a progressive consensus that inspires the country..."
Plus Gordon manages to slag off both the US and EU:
"learning from but different from America whom I admire for its enterprise but where - with 45 million without health insurance - great economic success is not matched by great social justice... learning from but different from the rest of Europe which has greater social cohesion but where, with 19 million out of work, that social cohesion is not matched by economic dynamism."
Is he really starting to build up the patriotic argument? What is Brown's game at the moment?