In a typically dishonest article, The Sun says McDonald's have been "banned", and Wes Streeting is called upon to denounce the "snobby attitude towards fast-food restaurants and people who work or eat at them." It's worth stating at this point there is no suggestion whatsoever that the "banning" took place because NEC members disapprove of fast food. That has been made up by The Sun, and it is disappointing - to put it euphemistically - for Wes and others to join one of our movement's fiercest enemies in dumping on our party.
In my years on the left, I've occasionally encountered snobbish attitudes towards McDonald's, albeit indirectly. One of my erstwhile Socialist Party comrades told me he had to argue down a SWP proposal at his local trades council to boycott and picket several city centre branches. Likewise, cast your minds back to the anti-capitalist protests of the early noughties. If there was a McDonald's along the route, it could expect to have its windows smashed. In both cases, it was lifestyle leftyism of the most cretinous kind, of appearing super-radical and being seen to offer no quarter to a prominent manifestation of global capitalism. I suppose having scant regard for the (low paid) people who work there, and the families for whom a Maccy's is a cheap way of eating out is another sign of revolutionary grit.
Most people with a scant interest in politics know there is an element of lifestylism to Jez's politics, including a good section of the new party members. In the absence of an explanation why the NEC decided to not grant McDonald's a stall The Sun's view is superficially plausible. However, as he piled in surely Wes could not help but be reminded that many of his PLP friends on the "trendy" right of the party are more likely to indulge a quinoa smoothie than a McDonald's milkshake.
There are many good reasons why a business like McDonald's shouldn't have a space at Labour Party conference. Refusal to offer permanent full-time jobs is one of those, even though it is moving away from zero hour contracts. Not recognising a trade union is another. And that's before we start talking about its toxic environmental record. Note to moaning Labour MPs who think it's madness to turn £30k down: it's hypocritical and politically stupid to take money from businesses whose practices are at odds with the values and objectives of the movement of which you're part. And for those PLP members who find walking and breathing at the same time difficult, it's quite possible to have this position without being "snobbish".
Of course, there might be a more mundane explanation. Labour Party conference this year is set to be the biggest we've seen for many a year as thousands of new members visit for the first time. More visitors = a larger audience strolling around the exhibition centre, and the more the party can ask exhibitors to cough up. It's not beyond the realms of that McDonald's were unwilling to pay more than £30k. Not everything is a nefarious conspiracy.
As this was a NEC decision the details will be out in a forthcoming report.