Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Southwark Labour Conference 2008
Another really successful day on Saturday at the Southwark Borough Labour Conference. This is the second year we have run the event, and we were really fortunate to be joined by two Cabinet members and a rising star of the Party. Harriet Harman, James Purnell and Chuka Umunna spoke during the day, and we had two Working Group sessions to discuss policy as we move towards the next local elections in 2010.
Harriet obviously had to deal with some fairly difficult questions about the state of the national party, but as ever she really connected with her audience of about 90 members. James Purnell, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has been spoken of as a possible future Party Leader, and after listening to his speech on Saturday I can certainly see why. He set out a 'narrative' and vision for Labour over the next ten years which, if we heard more like it, would surely see our position in the opinion polls improve! My own view is that the press has its own narrative of 'Labour in crisis' at the moment, and we do need to do something urgently to overcome that. We do look like a Government which is purely reactive and the victim of events, so we do need to start taking the initiative and demonstrating that Labour does have a positive agenda which it still needs to deliver on.
Chuka Umunna is the PPC in Streatham, and a leading member of the Compass Group within the Party. He spoke eloquently about what he hopes that a Fourth Term Labour Government should deliver - and how we might get to the stage of having a Fourth Term Labour Government!