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One of the rituals of Labour Party conference is the scrum in the press room when tickets to the leader’s speech are being allocated. Demand routinely exceeds supply, and, in the best egalitarian traditions, reputation counts for little in the scramble for seats (your correspondent found himself behind one of the doyens of the commentariat in the queue). We’ll know at lunchtime if we’ve got a ticket, apparently – unsuccessful applicants will have to watch on the screens in the press room, an unforgivingly strip-lit hanger on an upper floor of the conference centre.

Just as ritualistic are the declarations…

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