Lefties get a jolly good workout these days. It’s Zumba for radicals

Lefties get a good workout these days – Labour conference is like Zumba for radicals: QUENTIN LETTS sees shouty delgates turn on their own MPs

Back in Blair days, Labour conference would start with an exercise in grisly suppression. Apparatchik Margaret Wheeler, cold as uncooked Crispy Cod Fries, would listen impassively while activists complained that Blair, Mandelson and Co had stitched up the agenda. She would then exterminate dissent – Rosa Klebb drowning kittens.

She is now in the House of Lords, naturally.

The Corbyn Labour Party is more fun. No wonder vigorous Lefties have joined in droves. They are given plenty of time to fulminate. It’s like Zumba for radicals: A jolly good workout where they can all have a blow and pummel their chests.

Pictured: Jeremy Corbyn at the Labour Party conference in Liverpool, September 23

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Did they attack the rotten Tories for stealing bread out of puir bairns’ mouths? Not much. Instead they spent the afternoon denouncing Labour MPs for not being loyal to Jeremy Corbyn and the party. They took too many holidays. They did not turn up to Commons debates. Etc.

A prototype Trot from Blyth Valley castigated those who owned shares in private enterprise. Crikey. It’s just as well multi-millionaire Shaun Woodward is no longer an MP. The Blyth Valley lad also referred to Chuka Umunna’s recent plea to Mr Corbyn to ‘call off the dogs’ who were mobilising against Blairite MPs. ‘WE ARE NOT DOGS!’ shouted this delegate. Thunderous applause.

Back in Blair days, Margaret Wheeler (pictured) would listen impassively while activists complained that Blair, Mandelson and Co had stitched up the agenda

The hall is about five times bigger than last week’s Lib Dem conference. The chairman could have done with some field glasses to help him call people from the seats at the back. That might have looked a bit grouse moor, mind you.

At one point he just waved his hand in a vague way and said: ‘I’ll take a delegate from the far right’. Dear hearts, I thought my moment had come and was about to stride up to the podium to speak in favour of a no-deal Brexit. Alas, he only meant ‘the far right of the hall’.

Delegates deplored the disproportionate clout Labour MPs have when it comes to choosing Labour leaders. This was ‘an affront to democracy!’ shrieked a sister from Bishop Auckland. Gosh, she was noisy. Many of them were. Was it the sound system turned up too high or is it simply that in Corbyn’s Labour you need to shout?

‘Being an MP is not a job for life,’ said a boy with a double-barrelled name (quite a few of those). This went down well. Odd. I thought the hard Left approved of jobs for life.

Some speakers were quite posh. ‘Hello, I’m Samantha from Erewash,’ began a honey with a Lady Di complexion and a Sloane’s husky tones. Poor Samantha was booed. Almost as glamorous was someone by the name of Mick: Long blond tresses like Guinevere, big biceps, tight leggings, high heels, voice as deep as a tuba.

The Corbyn Labour Party is more fun. No wonder vigorous Lefties have joined in droves

The chairman had to call for order – ‘respect!’ – when an old-fashioned union autocrat tried to voice some TUC menace. John Pickard from Brentwood had not made a conference speech since 1974, and that, too, had been about trying to force MPs to be more accountable to the party. They loved him.

A Unite trade unionist bawled that ‘we stand on the precipice of power’. He possibly did not intend to compare the possibility of a Corbyn government to standing on Beachy Head. He said everyone in the room could think of MPs who would be immediately dumped by activists if they had to submit to re-selection before every general election. ‘There is no place for MPs who attack our leader and side with the Tories!’ More keen applause.

If only such attitudes could be vented at the Conservatives’ conference. Philip Hammond would have to hoist his socks and that Wollaston woman from Devon would be out before she could say ‘second referendum’. Talking of which, Lord (Roger) Liddle, prominent Blairite, was sitting alone in the hall. He was tapping his foot hard. This sort of splendid insurrection could be rat poison to the Centrists.

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