As a long-time conference survivor I’ve had more than one blast on this blog at these sometimes meaningless events, including my feelings about political keynote speakers – often sold as the main reason for your ‘essential’ (humph) attendance.

My e-mail this morning brings me an update from a young person just embarking on a public service career and attending their first big conference:

The Minister of XYZ was speaking. It was quite funny seeing everyone flapping about before he arrived then him turning up with a 10 strong entourage straight into the VIP room. Then ushered into the hall to give a 10 minute speech and then straight to his car and away. No looking at posters or speaking to delegates. It actually seems a bit pointless him coming because he doesn’t gain any insight about what’s happening at the conference.

Well, well…plus ça change etc. The politico concerned can tick off another point of engagement with the troops, the civil servants can hustle him off self-importantly to his next engagement, I can settle down to the latest episode of The Thick of It. After all fiction is more entertaining than real life, isn’t it?

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