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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK
The A to Z of conference
This year's Labour conference promises to one of the most difficult faced by Tony Blair and his government - here is BBC News Online's A to Z guide to the week in Bournemouth.

A ...is for applause. How much will the prime minister receive during conference?  He needs his party like never before - but do they still need him?

B ...is for Blair. All eyes will be on the prime minister in Bournemouth as he faces his toughest ever conference and his most important conference speech. Yes, they say that every year, but this time it's true.

C ...is for composite motion. The procedures during conference week are baffling at best and meaningless at worst.

D ....is for defeat. Even if a defeat for the leadership during conference doesn't mean that much anymore, with Tony Blair in trouble on a range of issues, any such setbacks really won't help.

E ...is for education - and specifically the plan to charge students top-up fees. Like foundation hospitals (see below) it's a policy which falls foul of many in the party.

F ...is for foundation hospitals. Many Labour activists are deeply upset about the policy. Mr Blair is pressing ahead. Watch the sparks fly.

Mr Bush may get a mention or two at conference
G ...is for George. President Bush won't be at the conference - now that would be a story - but his name will resonate from the conference hall to the fringe and into the bars.

H ...is for Hoon. The defence secretary hasn't exactly had a great time recently, and his every move will be scrutinised during conference.

I ...is for Iraq. It hardly needs saying. One of the biggest issues on the agenda at this year's conference amid much unhappiness about the decision to join the US in taking action against Saddam Hussein.

J ...is for John Reid. The combative health secretary will have to defend the controversial foundation hospitals plan amid much opposition. Should be interesting.

K ...is for Karzai The Afghan leader is following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela as this year's special guest and is assured a warm welcome from conference.

L ...is for leadership. Some of those most unhappy with Mr Blair are muttering about a leadership challenge. Opinion polls suggest his popularity has fallen to new lows.

What will Mr Cook have to say?
M ...is for motion. Of which there are quite a few which the government would really rather weren't being debated.

N ...is for New Labour - well, for some in the party it is. Others prefer Old Labour and some union bosses are seeking their holy grail of "real Labour".

O ...is for ovation. See 'A'.

P ...is for party. Some light relief for the faithful will be provided as ever by a many and varied range of parties. The chance to see a cabinet minister dancing perhaps, while hot gossip is a certainty.

R ...is for Robin. Mr Cook, the former foreign secretary, is likely to be a significant figure during conference week. And his words are unlikely to be soothing for his old cabinet colleagues.

S ...is for speech. Of which we're in for quite a lot. But as in most years, and Mr Blair's effort aside, it will probably be those outside the conference room which make most impact.

T ...is for "trust me". Mr Blair has almost made the phrase his own. But can he use conference to regain some of the trust he seems to have lost?

U ...is for unions. They made it pretty clear that they're not happy at TUC conference. They're likely to be just as vocal at Labour conference.

What will Mr Prescott get up to?
V ...is for v-sign - John Prescott may be able to flick them at journalists in Downing Street, but surely the good residents of Bournemouth won't put up with that sort of behaviour?

W ...is for weapons. Specifically those weapons of mass destruction programmes said to be in Iraq. Expect to hear quite a lot about them.

X ...is for what Labour didn't get enough of in Brent East - the crosses on the by-election ballot papers. The shock defeat won't have made delegates any happier.

Y ...is for the firefighters' logo - a unwelcome reminder for a prime minister anxious to avoid more strikes

Z ...is for zzzzzz - well, some of those speeches are bound to have delegates snoozing in the aisles.



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