Labour Party Conference experience by Jo

I am just getting through the mountain of cleaning, ironing and catching up work after events at the Labour Party 2012 conference and thinking was it worth it?  Of course it was!

This has been my third year at conference, 1st year as a wide eyed visitor, 2nd year as a delegate and lucky enough to speak about the important role of Sure Start and 3rd year being able to do what I damn well pleased.  I crammed in as many fringe events as humanly possible, ate soggy packed lunches and met some wonderful people.  The café opposite the Sky TV platform was nicknamed “mothers meeting point” notably for the fact we were spotted behind interviews having daily mother meetings, righting the wrongs, or more importantly wronging the RIGHT!  It was here that I met some wonderful Labour party members, each with their own personal story to tell, all inspirational and affirms why Labour is the party for the many not just the few.

The talking point of conference had to be the Leaders Speech.  Ed I thought did a spectacular job, not only for remembering his 60+ minute speech but the sheer content of his vision, very cleverly disguised as Conservative thinking but hinting towards a nation “equal”.  As we know equality is something the Tories don’t do well in!  It united most within our party, whilst knotting the knickers of the far right media and trolls alike! Brilliant!  Let’s hope the momentum continues and Ed continues to connect, with not just Labour members but more importantly our voters!

This brings me neatly onto the theme of conference and fringe events alike.  Most questions asked or speeches given were about connection, connection with our lost voters and letting those that are most vulnerable know that we’re on their side.  The amount of times I and many others have heard “They’re / you’re all the same” on the doorstep. Those inside the party know we’re not but to outsiders looking in, all they see is suits; pointless political jargon; university educated; middle class and usually male! (It isn’t hard to see where they’re coming from).  Even my father, a Labour armchair supporter, commented on “the foreign language that Labour politicians speak.” He longs for the days when politicians got angry, especially with issues such as welfare, youth unemployment and the NHS.  With voter turnout low there has never been a more urgent time to recruit MP’s, Councillors and organisers which represent the nation we live in who are able to speak the same language, have similar experiences with an understanding of the area they represent.

Harriet Harman in her closing speech indicated the demand for more diverse representation and I am pleased that the Labour Party now recognises the need to recruit more working class MP’s into parliament.  The “train to win” academy, coupled with Union training will no doubt strengthen our party within the workplace, on the street and in parliament.  We will no longer be classed alongside the party that is out of touch but the party who moves forward and gains respect in doing so.  Here’s hoping.  Now back to the ironing!

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