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So, after a lot of thought and debate over the past few months, I decided to come to conference. On the one hand, I have met some fantastic new Labour people in Wales, and already made some firm friends (which is partly what it should all be about) but conference is also going to be a stark reminder of all the things that perhaps I’m subconsciously blocking out. I think this conference will be a big deal for everyone in the party, but for many different reasons.
Already out of women’s conference we have one MP praising the work of Militant influenced Labour Council in Liverpool, some will be cheering that, seeing civil disobedience as a way forward, indeed it has been strongly encouraged by members for Labour councils to set illegal budgets etc, but fundamentally I believe that is the wrong thing to be praising. Indeed the rule-book itself had to have the addition that stops Local Labour councils setting illegal budgets.
However on the plus side, the announcement that Domestic Violence Survivors will be entitled to 10 days paid leave is a good idea. As always the devil is in the detail and I look forward to see how this will work without unintentionally making things worse, but I’m sure we can work all that out. he language is important here too, we are talking about survivors and not victims, it may seem subtle but it makes a difference.
I’m excited to be going to some of the welsh events that I have not been able to go to before, and hopefully catch up with colleagues from the South West and elsewhere. However it is not the same as usual as many members are simply not coming, not wanting to engage with what the Labour party seems to be evolving into.
The fringe events have a broad range of topics, which is always good to see, however I am very disappointed to see two events, one being focused on MP de-selection (by, of course, Chris Williamson) and a fringe by Sinn Fein. On the plus side, I see some interesting debates in Defence, Business and policy around developing communities.
All in all, I am hoping this is a good conference and we can stop looking inward and start looking outward. I hope there is less talk about deselection and more talk about Brexit, poverty, communities, job creation and social equality. I aim to try and do my daily blog (and try to get past monday this time 😉 )
Right now, there are regional receptions starting in just over an hour, so I’m looking forward to going to the Wales one for the first time, and there is the South West one int he room next door, so might have to see if I can crash it to catch up with people 😉
(Oh and the headline was inspired by the fact that Liverpool is apparently playing tonight, and already round the docks, that’s what you can hear).