Just sitting in the conference coffee shop watching John Prescott do a rather comical (intentionally on this occasion) interview for someone. One favourite line coming from his performance is 'here i am, oldest pleb in the business'. Its taking quite a few takes. Anyway thats today, yesterday...
I arrived around 14.00 and once i managed past the protesters and rigorous G4S security i started walking around the exhibition. As a first timer here you could just tell it is going to be an exciting, interesting and thought provoking few days with hopefully a truly inspirational hour or so on Tuesday that will send shock waves through the media and rival parties. Although there were some stands that did manicures and sold cuff links the vast majority were advertising causes such as nuclear disarmament, defeating inequality, a greener Britain and many different solutions to the key theme of our party in this age: lets get Britain working again.
After some time in the main hall and generally looking around getting a feel for the place. Me and Matthew headed over to the south east reception and met spike along with the various other delegates we knew or were about to meet. Harriet Harman was the first big beast to arrive and give her speech. She spoke about how the shadow cabinet would mentor 'MP's to be' and that no one in a safe seat should feel comfortable until they have gotten someone near them in a marginal elected. Inspiring stuff and exactly what the grass roots need to hear to know they have the backing of there leaders.
Then came Ed Miliband. The dry wit got us of to a start: 'you know this is my favourite region in the party' to laughter. 'but don't tell anyone else'. This is the second south east gathering i have attended with Ed speaking and i do feel we hear something particularly pertinent that he perhaps doesn't deliver to other regions. He constantly speaks of how the south have different traditions to the north of course, but the dividing lines laid out by the Tories that the south are aspirational and the north are layabouts is rubbish, and in fact values such as hard work, compassion, fairness and equality of opportunity to name a few are ones shared by the whole of Britain and it is our job to communicate that to the south.
Ed Balls delivered some funny stories about his experiences with Blair and Brown and then proceeded to talk about how the con-dem economic plan is failing. Won't waffle on about that too much but will tomorrow after he has given his speech today.
The final piece of the night was a complimentary curry courtesy of RSPCA. I am completely unashamed to say that animal cruelty has never been something that particularly grabbed my interest (although I am against it) and I absolutely went for the free curry. But it was thoroughly enjoyable and incredibly interesting hearing about the successes they have had including banning live exporting and the challenges they still have to come. Fox hunting was of course part of the speech. The RSPCA seemed happy with us on that one starting their address with 'we're not supposed to back any political part but...'