In many ways this conference is proving to be an anticlimax. Given the new direction of the party, I was hoping for a bit more debate, discussion, maybe the odd curveball to challenge us, but quite frankly, its a bit business as usual in many respects. That said, the leaders speech is later, it could all change 😉
I attended a variety of fringes yesterday, including an in-depth review of the devolution agenda, and while I think we all agree that devolution is a good thing, we also agreed that the pace of the devolution agenda was too fast and we are not ale to scrutinise the bids, or engage with the public about it. Fundamentally, we as politicos are all over it, but the public are just going to have “government done to them” again and the net benefit to them will be little change. This is a massive pity as it is a huge opportunity for mass public engagement and ongoing participation. My gut feel is that one helpful solution would be to encourage Gloucester City to engage in developing local community councils, in a similar way to residents associations, but with more local “clout”. A discussion for a later time maybe.
I also attended a discussion with Maria Eagle on the future of defence, which was interesting and whilst Maria has only been in the job 2 weeks, she is very open and honest about her views and positions and need to quickly learn the issues. I look forward to welcoming her to the K Sharp office in the future 😉
I guess the big deal of the day was the Shadow Chancellors speech. I didn’t think it was bad at all. I didn’t feel it was necessary to rerun the leadership election stories again, but there is a lot of good stuff in there regarding having a really good look at the tax system etc not to mention the squashing of the “deficit deniers” issue.
Given I’m the owner of a small business, my radar is always on for the effects on business, and there is a bit of concern from that speech that we are in serious danger of becoming anti business again, and that would be a huge mistake.
I was very disappointed in his last statement in encouraging people to come back into the fold. While I understand people think this was a nice sentiment, it highlighted the issue on a very public stage and quite frankly was a calculated attempt to pressure people who have already make their personal decisions. To try and do this in that way was tantamount to bullying in my opinion.
Finished the day in a comedy club with the Stand Up For Labour acts, a brilliant night and well worth it for the much needed laugh!