A Manchester musing

080095Manchester has some great buildings, especially in the area where the recent Labour Party annual conference was held. These are a mixture of old and new, and it makes for a nice setting for conference.

The first thing I noticed this year was the security – the lightest I have seen, and I liked it. The ring of steel was smaller than in previous years, something that will doubtless change if we are governing in twelve months’ time. Some delegates were disconcerted by the choice of G4S – and it was asked why is Labour still using G4S at its Conference? This seems a fair enough question given their record.

I go as a visitor, and this affords me the ability to wander hither and thither without the tyranny of deadlines to meet and places to be. The highlights are always the stalls, the fringes, and the old friends caught up with. I am always pretty relaxed about which conference speeches I catch, although I am glad I was in the auditorium when Harry Leslie Smith spoke.

I have read since returning to Essex that the Conference was flat – I disagree. It was anything but flat, although it was also anything but confident. My impression was of a Conference, and Party, readying itself to the task of reversing the dreadful result in 2010, our worst since 1919. There is determination mixed with belief, and a little trepidation, about the coming seven months and the battles to come. I am not about to predict what will happen on 7th May 2015, but it is pretty obvious that anything is possible, and that is a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

I could not begin to name all that I met, but I give thanks to all those who charmed and conversed. I have certainly returned with a little more fire in my belly, and there is now a clear Labour agenda for the campaign, and a promise of a better Britain if we are successful in May.


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