Stephen Beer, Blog, Stephen Beer

Stephen Beer (www.stephenbeer.com)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Labour Conference day 5

The final day of Conference has been much reported but here's my summary. There were debates on health and education, which filled up most of the time. We had speeches from Alan Johnson, Ed Balls, and John Denham.

The education debate was sandwiched between the health debate and, towards the end of the session, a celebration of the 60th birthday of the NHS. Alan Johnson spoke again. He introduced one of the first hospital administrators (and first woman) of the NHS, appointed by Aneurin Bevan (to run the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel). You could tell why she was appointed! We also heard from the first person to be born under the NHS and from someone who had recently recovered from cancer, which was dealt with around a month from diagnosis (ie pretty quickly).

Towards the beginning of the session Transport Secretary of State Ruth Kelly spoke to conference. She had rewritten part of her speech following an overnight leak that she had asked to resign at the next cabinet reshuffle (rumoured to be imminent) for family reasons. That leak still seems a mystery (ie how did it come out?) and did a bit to overshadow the PM's speech the previous day. In her speech she emphasised the importance of spending time with her family.

Finally, the conference ended (late lunchtime) with a speech from the deputy leader, Harriet Harman, and the traditional singing of the Red Flag and Jerusalem.

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