For my manifold sins I shall from Thursday to Sunday of this week be attending the biennial Delegate Meeting of the National Union of Journalists. The conference this year is being held in Eastbourne, the elephant graveyard of the English south coast.
At the conference I will be a delegate for the London Freelance Branch of the NUJ, which comprises around one-tenth of the British and Irish trade body’s membership. I shall also be in Eastbourne in part to support the NUJ Equality Council on two motions of concern to the body which deals with matters of gender and other discrimination: (1) abortion rights in Ireland, and (2) the reporting of transgender people and issues.
LFB is sending nine delegates to DM. We have a number of motions in our own name, along with various amendments to motions submitted by other branches. We are especially concerned with the membership subscription structure of a trade union which in demographic terms is increasingly freelance, but the organisational structure and practices of which reflect an old-world journalistic milieu centred on newspaper and broadcast media newsrooms.
Trade union conferences are notoriously boozy affairs, and this is especially true when it comes to mass gatherings of hacks. We are also a garrulous and cantankerous lot, not averse to squabbling for squabbling’s sake. All in all, we are guaranteed lively discussion in the conference hall, and some even livelier goings on outside it. Recovery normally takes a week or so.