- Over the years, I have watched ‘New’ Labour whizzkids turn conference from a passionate bear pit, which party leaders sometimes ignored at their peril, to an impotent parade of the on message.
- We will next week see less of a British party conference and more like a US-style Blackpool caucus - a bear pit where candidates will be heckled and sized up by constituency chairman who will report their thoughts back to party members.
- This year's Labour conference will be a walkover rather than a bear pit.
Late 16th century: bear from bear2. The original sense was 'a place set apart for bear-baiting'; bear gardens were often used for other rough sports, hence the figurative meaning.
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