Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.
SWEET September, here at last, bringing all those lovely conferences. First up, this week, the TUC, at Blackpool. Great excitement at headquarters, much nudging of media about the new, exciting TUC - campaigning, Euro-aware, reaching out beyond the narrow confines of self-interest, don't mention the dinosaur, you know the sort of thing. Word reaches the Captain, though, that not all the brothers are entirely happy. The TUC conference used to be a genial affair, a chance to greet old friends and drown in general conviviality and anything else available at the hotel bar. Now, suddenly, there are all these fringe meetings and briefings you're expected to go to. I mean, what would you rather do - get yourself down to Yates's or listen to Hilary Benn debating with a chap from the Institute of Directors about deregulation? Not to mention the BMA on Quality in Health Care Delivery, or the meeting organised jointly by the Community and Youth Workers' Union and the Socialist Education Association. And there is more: an insidious rumour circulating that Jimmy Knapp agreed to have his strike on Thursday to stop anybody slipping away early. Enjoy]