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Labour is in electoral meltdown. The newspaper headlines are screaming ‘We’re all doomed’ on account of the world economic crisis. But they were desperately trying not to allow the real world to impinge on the surreal world inside Labour Party Conference. 

“The weirdest conference I’ve ever attended,” so said one experienced political commentator in reviewing this year’s Labour Party conference in Manchester. With Labour trailing badly in the opinion polls and having faced a series of bad to awful results in successive by elections, local council elections and the London Mayoral election, you might have expected the mood to be depressed and flat. And so for most it was.