This week I am mostly being a New Labour spin doctor. I will endeavour to share experiences of Labour conference, but the implants that they put in as part of my training for this role may result in inadvertant self-censorship.
Regrettably, being a spin doctor doesn't seem to involve misleading the press or briefing against colleagues or any of those exciting things which I had heard about, but there are still some other interesting things happening.
I went on the anti-war march on Saturday, which was a decent size but nothing like the march at the last Labour conference I was at in February 2003. The march seemed heavily dominated by Respect, SWP and Quakers (plus some union branches), and I admired the entrepreneurial spirit of one man who was going round selling Lebanese flags.
I agree broadly with the stated aims of the march (which is why I went on it) but the issue of calling for troops out of Iraq is one I'm not sure about. I rather fear that it will be a disaster if British troops remain in Iraq, and a disaster if they leave, and that the choice is between which disaster will be greater. I'd be interested in thoughts of anyone else who was involved in anti-war campaigning in the run up to the Iraq invasion but has since got a bit uneasy about the way that the Stop the War line has developed since the fall of the Ba'ath Regime.