Yesterday was my first proper day at conference and an interesting day it was.
It started at a fringe event with the Campaign for Labour Democracy, which I learned that they represent the far left of the party. There were a number of speakers, including Diane Abbott, Ann Black, Michael Meecher MP to name but a few. I thought it was interesting but a bit too left wing for my liking.
For Lunch I went to a LME event which is all about Europe and the Labour MEPs. I have always had mixed views on Europe and a lot of that is down to lack of knowledge more than anything else so this very interesting to hear just what sort of impact we are having there and how we are doing things for the good of the country. Also, it was highlighted that Ed did pledge to have the leader of the MEP group sitting with (not on) the shadow cabinet was a good thing.
Had a look round the Exhibition hall, and had a chat with a few people on stands. Also looked into the book shop and saw the Total Politics guide to Political Blogging and was chuffed to see this blog listed in the Directory 🙂
In the afternoon I went and sat in the conference proper, met up with Sonia Friend who is the Gloucester CLP delegate and Keir Dhillon who was running and later confirmed in the NPF (National Policy Forum), so well done Keir.
On the way out of that I ran into Parmjit Dhanda and we had a catch up which led to the pub for a couple of quick pints. It had been a while since I had saw him, so it was good to chat, but also get his take on the events of the past couple of days.
Evening brought along a fringe event on Industry Strategy, which BAE Systems was a sponsor and it was interesting to hear the need for a good balance between the financial sector and the manufacturing sector.
This was followed by a reception for the South West region. Kamella was on the door, and inside was a load of people to mingle and meet. A first speech by Harriet Harman, where she spoke of, amongst other things, about the great result in Exeter.
From there I went to the ADS Wealth Creating industries reception, which was interesting to discuss the Labour future with other industry players.
Back to the South West Reception and with good timing as just after me came Ed Miliband and I positioned myself nicely for a handshake as he went by (I think you can tell so much about a person by their handshake). He gave a good speech and was positive about the direction that the party needs to go.
My final stop was to the USDAW event, which was brilliant, a fantastic band, food, drink and also more speeches. The first was by David Miliband and was very good indeed. He also mentioned the Gloucester campaign and why, in his opinion, we lost there considering the fantastic campaign that was ran. I also did the pushy thing and got a photo of him with Parmjit.
Ed Miliband and gave another speech, which was substantially the same as what I had previously heard, but there was enough difference to still make it interesting. Unfortunately my phone camera did not do a great job of photos there, also not helped with him going in the other direction at the end. 🙁 Hope to get some before the end of conference.
It was really good being at an event where there were so many young people, having a good time, and brought together by a common cause.
In some ways I feel for Ed, David and Harriet, they had to go from one reception to another, essentially giving the same message over and over, without much of a break. They can’t be getting much personal time, when they probably need it right now. But I guess thats part of the job.
Overall a great day, very interesting, and hopefully a sign of what is to come over the next few days.