Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oh Darling

Not a barnstormer of a speech from our new Chancellor, but I don't think that the Silver Fox does rabble-rousing. He did get his standing ovation at the end, but that seemed more out of courtesy and production planning than a genuine admiration for his delivery. Still, I want a calm hand on the economic tiller, not tub-thumping, so I'll settle for that.

A couple of good lines from one of the delegates (Darren Clifford, if memory serves). He was clearly nervous, but one guaranteed way to get a response from a Labour audience is to batter the opposition, so he got in a couple of good digs.

'There's a skills gap in Britain - at the top of the Liberal Democrat Party'
'Brown versus Cameron is experience against work experience, public service against public relations.'

I may steal those.

Lucy Seymour Smith also returned with a confidence that belies her years to update the party on the progress of Longbridge since she last stormed the conference.

Dave Milliband took on a controversial set of rule changes to the policy-making process and the rules of conference with a good speech, drawing on his own father's speech to conference some fifty years ago and reminding us that we
are not just a government but a cause
The speakers were broadly supportive, although Michael Meacher flashed his awkward squad credentials and opposed the changes. I'm not overly concerned about them - I back involving members more thoroughly in policy-making and giving them a vote in our policies. I'm also not sure that smoke-filled rooms spending hours boilerplating motions together to try and devise a composite compromise that suits everyone is the best way for the conference to take on important current issues. I think that the changes will pass, but the results aren't in yet.

Right, I'm off to raid the exhibitors' stands for pens and other freebies. The Top Trumps Politics card set looks likely to be a favourite and top marks for Crossrail for providing us with keyrings attached to a bottle-opener.

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