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Red and the Blue, The (1983)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

October 1982. The Conservative and Labour party conferences in Brighton and Blackpool are shown via a series of interwoven vignettes, usually featuring the grass roots members of each party going about their conference business. As well as speeches from established politicians, including Norman Tebbit and Dennis Skinner, up and coming politicians such as stockbroker Peter Lilley nervously get to grips with the mechanics of conference week while undergoing various traumas, including the loss of a speech.

While the Labour Party wrestles with the problem of how best to deal with the Militant Tendency, the Conservatives own radical wing, represented by the Monday Club, maintains a much cosier relationship with the leadership. As well as the debate on the conference floor, there are many social events taking place throughout the week, some of which involve tipsy party members desperate for a glimpse of Cecil Parkinson while engaging in conversations about capital punishment. The Labour Party workers make do with fish and chips in a local cafe.

The conference draws to an end with events such as ballroom dancing and a cabaret, which are shown intercut with speeches by Dennis Skinner, the Labour leader Neil Kinnock and the climactic call to electoral battle by prime minister Margaret Thatcher. As the credits roll, a Conservative member protests that the entire conference has been stage-managed, while over in Blackpool the Labour collective sing The Red Flag one more time.