Monday 27 September 2010

First Day of Conference

Conference opened at Noon, but the day at Manchester Central began much earlier. Personally I had opted for a relaxed morning. After uploading the Washminster post for Sunday, I continued reading the excellent “Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century” by John A Farrell. Later I stopped at a Starbucks en route to the Conference where I read the Observer. I arrived at the conference centre over an hour before the first session began. It was a very useful time as I met up with friends; discussed the meaning of the leadership results – and made arrangements for future videos and posts for Washminster. By the end of the day I had fixed up some interesting interviews and material which will appear on this blog in the next few months.

Noon was meant to be the starting time, but timekeeping is not one of Conference’s strengths. The new leader entered with the Conference Chair and other guests and officials. After an address from the Chair formal business began. One of the highlights was the tribute to former leader, Michael Foot. A video was shown and Neil Kinnock gave a moving and warm oration. We then stood in silence to remember all those who had worked for the Party – be it at the highest or the grassroots level – who had passed away in the last year.

The rest afternoon was spent meeting up with old friends, and making new ones. The activity now referred to as “networking”. I also made a visit to the bookshop – so I have plenty of reading to keep me busy in the weeks ahead.

Sunday evening is traditionally a time for receptions – which are toured by the leader. Over my lifetime I have built up many roots in a number of regions – growing up in the West Midlands and returning there for seven years at the start of this century; the East Midlands where I served as a County Councillor and ran twice for Parliament and once for the European Parliament; the South East where I currently live – and Yorkshire and Humberside – where I studied for my Law Degree (Sheffield) and where my studies for the doctorate are based (Hull). I attended all the regional receptions for these areas. My local government roots (and future) enabled me to attend the local government reception. Ed Miliband’s speech improved with each delivery. He is clearly focused on reflection and learning from experience.

While social (read networking) events continue, the “fringe” now turns to discussing policy matters. Today I set out with a list of meetings I hope to attend. My hope is, that as with previous conferences, I will have gained much food for thought to develop upon in the months ahead.

I have noticed that my tweets to “jdavidmorgan” seem to be failing, but the ‘newsfeed’ of “WM_Alert” is working. My facebook account (jdavidmorgan) also seems to be working. I hope you can follow these between the Washminster posts.