…And so the shadow chancellor, Ed Balls who has such a hard time with the media pushing the notion that the Economy is somehow safe in the hands of Geirge Osborne. It may well be for millionaires but not for the millions. (sorry Ed, a shameless steal of your words. His comprehensive speech was received with great approval and a lengthy standing ovation. Rightly so. For a full transcript try this link.
I am in the FUjitsu Room (plug) at the Conference Centre, where we are offered free wifi, free charging and free computer access, so I write and publish my blog: a sign of how digital political life has become.THere are TV screens where I can keep an eye on what,s going on in the Hall. Before settling down here, I went for a wander around the various stalls, starting at NAS/UWT my old Union. Although I have always tried to keep up with what has been going on in the teaching profession, and in Eduction generally: mainly through the media, colleagues still teaching, and of course my own experience through grandchildren, I hadn’t realised quite how dire the teaching contracts had become. Of course I am sympathetic to my friends pay and conditions and pension rights, but the impact that this will have on the schools had not really hit home. We are seeing the fragmentation of Education Nationally and of course locally. Very soon Macclesfield will have only one Local AUthority school. Consider the impact when pupils from outside the area take up the places and the Local AUthority can not provide enough schools. Not likely? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Soon I have a date with Alastair CAmpbell on WAterstones stall 73 where he will be signing his book. THats where the digital age lets me down: he can’t sign my copy as its on my kindle.
Off now to hear Douglas Alexander in the Hall.
Apart from star gazing, the aim of conference for some people seems to be where to find the best reception. By that, I mean free food and drink: the best so far being the SCottish group on SUnday evening. Delicious canapés and free flow alcohol. I can only assume that the EAst Midlands reception was a three course sit down meal, and we were stopped at their door.
Kudos to the NUT who were offering apples for the teachers, so that sustained me for a while during the day.
I had been ‘warned’ to expect freebies thrust upon delegates by way of leaflets and booklets, but when I came across freebie canvas bags, it just opened the door to the expansion of my collection of documentation. I am now into serious excess baggage mode.
Conference Sunday offered an early morning Church event, but I sat it out in the Hall all day.
To get into conference you pass through security, and POlice are in evidence all round the various venues but I was a bit surprised to find G4S manning the gates. They don’t have the best reputation of keeping their workforce or indeed their ‘prisoners’ under control. Maybe theres to be no escaping Brighton.
I turned down the chance to go food hunting and gathering and took the advice of my landlord to visit Brighton’s Lanes: where all the restaurants and wine bars are situated. Having paid 3.50 for a cup of tea in a paper cup in the Grand, I wasn’t hopeful of getting away without a second mortgage for my dinner. But lovely food in comfortable surroundings can be had. 10.00 later I was fed and watered and on my way back to my Hotel. On the way through the lanes, I happened upon aa blue light (yes a blue light) which was a charging post for electric car/ vehicle. Clearly the Caroline Lucas effect!
And so to Monday….
What an incredible day! At noon Yvette Cooper gave the 1000 #labwomen13 a clear and concise summary of Labours achievements of which she and we were proud. Sadly of course many of these noble achievements have been unpicked by the current Toryslash and burn politics.
Then we were invited to form two orderly queues at the microphone to make points or ask questions and explore what our policy priorities should be for women facing a cost of living crisis.
There was no hanging back. After lunch Bonnie Greer chaired a session where Melissa Benn and Caroline Criado-Perez discussed how sexism manifests itself in the everyday lives of women and how it should be challenged. My Grandmother would have been familiar with many of the incidents related over the next open mic session. Some men just don’t get it, do they? It was inevitable that Godfrey ‘Bloomers’ Bloom was mentioned-a pity really to give him space in this article, but for many women there today, he epitomised their experiences in the work place.
And so like our heroines before us who blazed this particular trail, the #labwomen13 resolved to continue the fight to establish a secure and lasting equal place for women in Society.
I don’t know what I was expecting from this day, but I was impressed by the warmth, friendship and commitment and quite surprised ( why?) at the age profile. So many feisty young bright intelligent women!
My thanks go to Michelle and the fourteen women from Stevenage, who swept me along with them and are now my new best friends. I also bumped into two women from Erewash ( Nottingham?)who through mutual friends Les and Nancy White, were looking out for me. Catherine Atkinson is the Constituency Labour candidate and will make an excellent MP.
All in all a terrific and inspirational day.
is safe in the hands of all these women.
Things could only get better was our anthem – and for Tony, , Brian Cox and the Country they did. So maybe with boy band One Direction riding high we should reflect on that. Not that I am at all familiar with their songs but if there were one about the amateur way Cameron is running his team of misfits, that would be a bonus for this blog. So moving in one direction, towards London on the high speed Pendolino train and onwards to Conference in Brighton, there’s time for reflection.
Im sureyou know that I once met Ed Miliband on a Virgin train: he was in my seat! More accurately, his entourage were occupying the three seats reserved for myself and two noisy grandchildren. He offered to move but I was so thrilled to meet him and more thrilled that he was travelinge in Standard Class that I insisted he stay put. Remember the explanation. given by Nicholas WintertonMP who justified his more expensive choice of first class travel when he said – and I quote Wikipedia, where his other interesting Parliamentary activities are listed. He said People who travel in Standard Class were “a totally different type of people” Yes, they’re called the electorate Nick!
But back to Ed: what a nice man. Charming amusing engaging and wanting to do the right thing taking us together in one direction. If I have the tiniest complaint, it is that his media presence doesnt bang home the achievements of the previous Government
Nor does he clearly lay the global financial chaos where it belongs, starting with Lehman Brothers shocking criminal behaviour. Cameron on the other hand has a media presence that would win him t he Apprentice, X Factor and Im a celebrity…It’s the image not the lyrics that appeal to the electorate: His upper clarse, born to rule arrogant persona and yes he is related to the Queen (thanks again Wkipedia)
No longer D’Ream and a boy band but One Nation, One Direction Miliband
Next stop Brighton!
My bags are packed I’m ready to go and I have received a whole pile of advice on what to do, what to say and more importantly what NOT to say.
The UKIP Bloomers are resonating around the media, though my opinion is that it won’t affect membership numbers, as probably the general UKIP member can’t see what the problem was.
I am so very pleased that Ed Miliband has come out and vigorously declared that we in Labour will abolish the cruel ‘Bedroom Tax’ when we win the election in 2015 – as we surely will after the Welfare Reform debacle is revealed for what it it – ill thought out uneconomic.
But I have an early train to catch.
The countdown has begun so follow me to the Labour Party Conference 2013…….