Labour National Conference 2018 in Liverpool
David Plowman- South Suffolk Labour delegate report.
Being at conference is an honour and privilege. I am still buzzing after attending this year’s conference.
The aim at atmosphere was of a pre-election conference putting the finishing touches to policy and enthusing ‘the troops’ for a General Election campaign. Although calling a General Election under the present legislation is more difficult, the present political atmosphere suggests that anything is possible.
My intention was to attend conference and then to attend fringe events later in the day, however there is so much to do in the conference a so many fringe events, you are only able to do one or the other.
The conference day lasts from 9.30am to 5.30pm.We are presented each day with a 50 page report each day we have to digest. On the first day there was even a 40 page addendum to digest.
My highlights from Conference come from the delegates that spoke from the floor.
To quote Tosh from ASLEF, who said that he had kept unusually quite during conference because of the quality of the speeches from the floor. He stated that people call members ordinary- he found each and every one of them extraordinary.
In the international debate a speaker talked about how it was important for us to continue to fight for our rights as this change rippled to other nations. We take 1 step forward and people in other countries make take 10 steps as a result.
‘I cry they all cry’
A delegate spoke about her child who had decided not to have any Christmas present but to donate them to people who used foodbanks and could not afford presents. She said that if her 11 year old autistic son could see and understand the injustice of Universal Credit, why could the Government not see the same.
Another delegate described how her daughter and son- in- law had one room in her flat and her son another, she added that, by the way she had slept on the sofa for the past 10 years.
There was also a delegate who revealed, for the first time to anyone, that when he received the letter saying that would no longer receive disability benefits as he had been deemed to be ‘fit for work’ he contemplated suicide.
During the debate that continued after the speech a delegate spoke emotionally from the podium about how his son who had mental health issue, unbeknown to him, and had committed suicide. When the delegate left the podium Jonathan Ashworth ran after him and the two men stood on the side of the stage in a hug of support. This bought a tear to the eye of your soft hearted delegate: Jonathan is the sort of man I want to run the NHS.
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