Labour Party Conference, Brighton
Determined to do something more than just walk up and down listening to the same ol' SWP/Globalise Resistance slogans, Tim Notech elected instead for the cheese and canape soiree at the Leave Country Sports Alone fringe meeting. After a run in with Kate Hoey MP, Baroness Mallilieu QC, and twenty coppers, he rounded off a vintage evening with Robin Cook
1st October 2001
Well, it was a wet one. By 1pm, I was both completely drenched and completely pissed off by the speeches. The only exception to the shouty, socialist alternative, distorting microphones ranters were a couple of speakers from Bolivia & Ya Basta, who - despite coming a long way to speak - were given much less time to speak than the usual suspects.
Walking back to the park I saw a large group of riot cops marching down one side of the back section of the march, they cut right through the march and surrounded one section. Snatch squads then started pulling out any one in white overalls (five Wombles in total), and arrested them. Some of the immediate march reacted but mostly no one did anything, I tried to inform the front part of the march but there was either no interest or disbelief. The stewards around the part of the march where the Wombles had been grabbed were encouraging every one to get on with the march and leave the Police to it. So, on the march went with plenty of slogan, slogan, chant, chant.
It was a good turn out, and it pissed down for the whole march to conference centre and then back again. A group of us from London and Brighton decided to leave the march and go to a pub to dry out and discuss other options. There were loads of cops from different counties but mainly Sussex and Met. Come the evening, a group of about 25 of us decided to attend the 'Leave Country Sports Alone' lobby meeting, open to the public with free booze and well dodgy food. We walked straight into the small room about 10 mins before it was officially open, which surprised the people still setting up there stalls. We passed Robin Cook on his way out.
Grabbed a glass of red wine and set about collecting the pro-hunt propaganda. I was asked by Kate Hoey, ex Sports Minister and Labour MP to put back most of the leaflets that I had collected as - according to Ms Hoey - I was taking too many (about 5-7 of each).
I refused her requests and a five minute comical conversation ended with Kate saying that I could keep them as long as I use them.
Immediately afterwards another muppet approached me and told me to put the leaflets back, I refused and explained that they were a gift from Kate. The muppet then informed me that she was in fact the Chairman of the Leave Country Sports Alone group, Baroness Mallalieu QC, and she wanted me to leave immediately. I refused to leave on the grounds that I hadn't done anything except pick up some leaflets and try to drink a glass of wine. But I was told if I didn't go she would get the Police to throw me out. I had, had enough of polite conversation and ridiculous situation so I told her to fuck off!
Sure enough, within 20 seconds in come a few cops. I still refuse to leave, so in come yet more cops, a police photographer and a video cop. Still refusing to leave I get dragged out, down the stairs in a particularly twisted half nelson, thrown throw the revolving doors and out into the street. It was still raining and I hadn't had my glass of wine.
Still after about half an hour of standing outside the Hotel, Robin Cook comes out with a few pals and walks down the street. To good to be true, so a couple of us follow and see them slip into a nearby restaurant. We hang around waiting to see were they sit, but it turns out they are only waiting for a cab, which they quickly dive into. A bit of spontaneous barracking around the cab re: ethical foreign policy for the last 4 years and then they shoot off into the wet and very windy night.
Nearly dried out