An early start got me to my first fringe event of the day which was a DEMOS/Detica event to discuss the ways of getting “better for less” in public services. A good discussion but the main point for me was that there is no real quality measure therefore when you look at compromise across the time, cost, quality model then your immediately scuppered. There was comment made of the value in preventative spending, but as with all spend to save programmes, you have to have the money to spend in the first place, and this government has already shown that they dont really care about any long term issues, they seem to be concentrating at ideological spending reductions.
I then spent most of the morning in the conference hall, listening to the various motions etc. The Labour finances were submitted and as I have had discussions on the visit Gloucestershire forum about the state of the finances, I was pleasantly surprised about how they look. There was discussion about how long it can take for a proposed rule chance to be discussed and voted on by conference, and a desire for it to be reduced to 4 months and not 12 as at the moment, especially as the NEC can pretty much do what they want. I think I agree with this, given today’s ability with email etc, I see no reason why not, and would make us a more reactive organisation.
Then the big event was Ed Milibands Speech. I will admit that I was quite nervous before hand, because he had such a job to do in one speech. But he did hit all the bases. He covered the Iraq war, what the government did wrong as well as what the party did right! While I did vote David, I do believe that Ed can do something that David couldn’t, and that is pull together both the Left and the Right of the party. By the end of the speech, I had that tingly feeling down my spine that you get when you hear something that really chimes with you. I think the party have done the right thing and as I tweeted afterwards, I’m hugely optimistic about the future.
In the evening it was a hunt for food, and after a false start at one event where the “canaps” (apparently Canapés are so yesterday darling)were late and rubbish, we went to another event that had a buffet dinner and a really interesting discussion on social care.
I ended up in the CWU event which had speeches from Harriet, and then the first one I had heard from Ed Balls. A few beers there and met a few new people which was good. Then my walk back through the city to my hotel and sleep. I didn’t think I would make the early fringe event I had planned, and as it is on now as I’m writing this, then I was right.