Conference 2015: the “Peoples’
Assembly” vs the people

It’s that time of the year again. Tory conference is upon us and the good folks at Conservatives for Liberty couldn’t be more excited about it. We’ve got some really awesome stuff planned. We will also be covering all the big speeches, so watch this space.

Unfortunately there’s an unpleasant side to conference, too.

We’ve all been there. You’re walking along, minding your own business, when suddenly some dreadlocked trustafarian with bad breath, piercings and serious acne problems decides to stand in your way and start screaming in your face.

It’s hard to make out quite what he (or she) is trying to tell you, but the gist of it is this: ‘You are a terrible human being, personally responsible for war, climate change, cuts, and the mass slaughter of the poor and disabled. I don’t like you very much. Or your mother for that matter. You are “Tory scum”‘.

Well, expect a lot of that this year. The TUC and the Peoples Assembly are both planning protests and with the left experiencing something akin to a happy-clappy religious revival right now, it’s going to be big.

Who are these people? What is the point of them? Are they against the existence of Tories in general, or simply the choices of the 11 million voters who bothered to show up back in May and vote Conservative?

Whatever the case, they might as well not have bothered to turn up. What exactly do they hope to achieve? The Conservative Party will not break up because a few thousand hipsters threw a tantrum. A Conservative government will still be in power when the demonstrators go home.

The People’s Assembly Against Austerity are the corbynistas militant wing. Launched two years ago, it’s founding members are a veritable who’s who of the British left: Owen Jones, Len McCluskey, Caroline Lucas, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Ken Loach, the late Tony Benn, etc.

So some people got together. And they had an assembly. Apparently, that’s rather a big deal. Enough for them to declare illegitimate a democratically elected government with a decisive majority of seats.

They call themselves “a national forum for anti-austerity views which, while increasingly popular, are barely represented in parliament”. Their manifesto is an amusing list of future Corbyn U-turns. You’ll occasionally see them in town centres or on campus. I try to stop by whenever I see them. The confusion on their faces when I tell them I’m a Tory is just precious.

The protests this week – much like the elevation of Mr Corbyn – will be talked up by some commentators as evidence of a left wing ‘moment’. They are nothing of the sort. The demonstrators are highly organised and highly motivated but they do not represent the great mass of public opinion any more than the execrable One Direction (another ‘movement’ with a lot of twitter followers) represent British music.

Corbynists and their ilk justify practically everything they do in the name of “the people”: the “peoples’ prime minister”, the “peoples’ chancellor”, the “peoples’ railway”, “peoples’ QE”. Do you think they enjoy the peoples’ bathtime before retiring to the peoples’ bed? It all sounds a bit North Korean to me

But it would appear that “the people” are just not that into them.

Have a look at the latest voting intention figures. If you add together the ‘right wing’ votes (Conservatives and UKIP), you get a majority of 54 percent. That’s without even considering the centrist Blairites and Lib Dems. I admit the method is crude but it makes the point effectively: the British people are not clamouring for hardline socialism. Whatever Owen Jones says about changing the “narrative”.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn, a Labour leader who embodies most of the things the People’s Assembly stand for (unlimited welfare, scrapping Trident, tackling ‘inequality’, etc) has the worst rating of any opposition leader ever. That’s not an exaggeration.

Tory chairman Lord Feldman has advised delegates to hide their identification badges due to “safety concerns”. That says it all, really.

There are genuine human beings out there who would beat you to a bloody pulp for wearing a blue badge. All in the name of kindness, peace and social justice of course. So much for the new “kinder, gentler” politics espoused by the Labour leader in his reheated speech last week.

The actions of the TUC and the Peoples Assembly are the crude politics of the playground bully. No Tory in Manchester should stand for intimidation and intolerance.

Wear your badges with pride and tell the bully boys to bugger off. Ask them how many people voted for their agenda. Tell them the truth: that you represent “the people” far better than they do.

Your move, comrades.


Chris has been a member of the Conservative Party since 2010. He believes strongly in individual freedom, personal responsibility, and the power of free markets to eliminate poverty by encouraging wealth creation. Follow him on Twitter: @cjmanby1989

Follow Conservatives for Liberty on Twitter: @Con4lib