Monday, 1 October 2012

Spike Humphrey: Party Conference Day 1

Main theme for me from Day 1 is Labour is a UNITED party.  Contrast that with the Coalition who are falling out like petty children, and the 2 constituent parties which are both starting to fight amongst themselves, and both whispering about changing leader.

In my opinion, Ed Balls seems to want to talk up the DISunity in the Labour movement, by saying he will "talk tough" on public sector pay and spending cuts.  I imagine he thinks this will make him look 'credible' on the economy, and capable of making tough, unpopular decisions.  Personally, I think he has picked the wrong issue to do that.  The failure of the Government's cuts and pay freeze strategy is starting to make the Tories look incompetent on the economy.  This should be our focus - driving home that message... not promising to do more of the same but in a slightly watered-down version.

Labour wants to build its image at local level via campaigning on issues that matter to the community.  We saw concrete examples of how branches and CLPs had been building relationships with local people; starting or joining campaigns; and being seen to empower people to take action.  Our Heatherwood campaign feels like a superb example of doing all of these things, so that is a great boost to us in Windsor (and Bracknell) CLP, not to mention Ascot branch.

At the SE Region event in the evening, we had rousing speeches from Ed Miliband, Harriet Harman and Ed Balls.  All emphasised the South East is critical for Labour to get back into Government at the next General Election.  We will target key marginals in the region, with each one having a Shadow Cabinet 'sponsor' who will do all it takes to ensure Labour regains them in 2015 (or whenever the election is called).  Reading West is one of the targets close to us, and I believe we will want to support them (and Reading East as well) when the time comes.

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