Stephen Beer, Blog, Stephen Beer

Stephen Beer (www.stephenbeer.com)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Labour Conference day 3

A packed day at the Conference today with speeches from a number of cabinet ministers.

In the morning we debated Prosperity and work (ie the economy) and in the afternoon, Britain in the World.

Alistair Darling gave an important speech outlining Labour's approach to the economy in the light of the current global financial crisis. He said he would do what it takes to promote financial stability and protect the banking system.

The Chancellor was well-received, with a standing ovation of some length. I really do believe that the Tories are vulnerable following last week's events, including the US plan to effectively nationalise $700bn of debt. The completely free market philosophy has been discredited.

There were various contributions from the floor, with many mentioning fuel poverty issues. My union, Unite-Amicus, proposed an emergency resolution on the crisis of confidence in the banking sector, which I voted for (received overwhelming support). I did not manage to get to speak however.

The Britain in the World debate saw speeches from David Milliband (well-received in particular), Des Browne, and Douglas Alexander.

In addition, Lovemore Moyo, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Movement for Democratic Change and new Speaker of the Zimbabwe National Assembly, addressed conference. Lovemore spoke to Vauxhall CLP's GC on Thursday last week. Conference stood to applaud him at the beginning and end of his speech. He spoke movingly of his life and of the challenges and hopes ahead. He gave credit to Labour, to Gordon Brown, and also singled out Kate Hoey (watching the debate in the hall), as being key supporters for whom he was thankful (to conference applause). Kate has led parliamentary campaigning on Zimbabwe.

I attended a delegates' seminar on getting more people into work. I again asked how our politics needed to change following recent financial events. Speakers were confident we had the right policies on welfare and pensions whatever the financial outlook.

After an interview with Premier Radio, I attended a fringe event run by the City of London and the Financial Times on the role of the City, particularly appropriate at this time.

Finally, I popped into a Labour Region reception before a bit of socialising.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) of course is the day of the leader's speech.

More detail on Conference can be found at the Labour Party website.

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