21 April 2008

Conference Call

I've been in Edinburgh over the past few days for the SNP Conference. Everyone (myself included) seems to have come away happy with how things are progressing, but ye gods, this one has been hard to blog. Let me explain why.

The atmosphere was neither electric nor quiet, but somehow it managed to be both of those things. There's still that pleasure at having the power to actually do things but the sheer oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-this-is-really-happening excitement that was bouncing off the walls at Aviemore has been replaced by something else. The only way I can describe it is that it was the sort of Conference you'd expect from a party that has been in government for about a year and is still in a decent position both in terms of the way things have gone and the way people have responded. "Are we really here? Are we really doing this?" has given way to "Yeah, we are here, we are doing this, and we're doing all right."

Also, this was always going to be quieter than Aviemore - this was the Spring Conference, not the main event in October. And there's more than a year until the next Election, when we kick off the mother of all electoral cycles: 2009 is the European election; 2010 is when the next Wetminster election is expected, unless Gordon Brown surprises us all and grows a backbone; 2011 is the next Holyrood election; and 2012 is now the likely time for the next Local Elections to be held. There may also be a second Westminster election in the cycle if the next election delivers a Hung Parliament, which is what the Party is hoping for. We will, in short, not see such a quiet period in politics until 2013.

Despite that, Conference has been judged a success and I have to agree with that: the Party got its day in the Press, nothing seemed to go wrong and everyone left happy. I'm hoping for some real tales to tell from Perth, but for now I'll just have to settle for sharing the headline I was going to use, after the Federation of Student Nationalists targetted Parliamentarians during their fundraising drive: "Youths accost Justice Secretary for money!!!!!"

Well, I thought it was funny.


Semaj Mahgih said...

"Are we really here? Are we really doing this?" has given way to "Yeah, we are here, we are doing this, and we're doing all right."

Hard to blog on - hard to comment on too.

Will said...

Yes, this is the thing - there's an air of stability in the Party and the Government at the moment - you wouldn't expect that from a minority administration but it will be a year old in four weeks time and there (at the moment) doesn't seem to be any credible to threat to its survival.

Now as an SNP supporter, that sort of internal stability is great to see, and I want it to continue.

But as a blogger on a very narrow subject matter, ye gods, it does leave me with very little subject matter.

Nothing for it. I'm going to have to do more football posts.

Louise said...

Being an exhibitor at the conference I got quite a good idea of the atmosphere. It was happy but not excited I would say. A general air of contentment with no feelings of urgency. But a love of posh pens was shown....

The trick will be to not turn from content to complacent.