Thursday, September 28, 2006

As the week draws to a close, I can well and truly say that my conference virginity has been lost forever, but am I leaving wanting more, or will I wake up full of regrets? Definitely the former.

I'll be taking a variety of things away from my first conference, but there's two points I'd like to make beyond all others. I can not believe that anyone outside of our party can say, with any degree of accuracy, that we have run out of steam. Watching delegates in the hall, chatting to members in the fringes, mingling aimlessly in the bars and coffee shops, there's an energy and enthusiasm buzzing through the complex which the Tories, next week, could only dream of. There are new ideas at every turn.

I've been asked, thankfully only a few times, if I'm "Blairite", "Brownite", even "Johnsonian" (a new one on me). I say this, these terms are nothing more than labels attributed to us by those who wish to disunite us. I support Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and for that matter John Reid, Alan Johnson and all our Ministers because they are the ones who take our values and ensure that they are out there changing the lives of those who need them most.

It's the end of the first of many conferences for me, but I'm leaving this one more motivated than ever.


At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Gabriel Mirrensson said...

I know you say that you don't like all the labels, and to a point I agree, but what are people saying about the leadership elections?

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Jane Pike said...

Glad you seem to have enjoyed your week Jonathan although I think you've learnt the hard way that keeping a blog or any kind of record of conference is more of a challenge than it would first seem. I did daily reports at one conference as we were fighting a crucial by-election in Burnley and I remember drafting one at 2am the worse for wear and wondering why I'd ever committed myself to such punishment!

Prezza's speech was delivered with his usual style and panache. He doesn't get all his words right but we forgive him because what he doesn't get right is more than compensated by the passion behind it.

How great to see the Halle Youth Choir at the end of conference. I sat on my settee at home joining in for the Red Flag and Jerusalem - but why do so many people need to read the words for both these songs?

Thanks for blogging, it's been interesting reading the musings of a first-timer. My first conference was in '93 and since then I've missed four or five and each time it's been really hard to not be there. Once you've been once, you want to be there every time as you don't get a fraction of what's really going on by tuning in on TV.

If you go next year you'll be surprised how many faces you recognise. You either love or hate conference - I know I positively thrive on it and it never fails to reignite my passion for the party. Hope to meet you one day at a conference when you're another die-hard conference hack!

At 11:33 PM, Blogger John said...

Thanks for this Jonathan. As a party member stuck back at home, it's been great to read your blog and others' blogs to really get a sense of following Conference for the first time.
Who knows, maybe I'll be tempted to actually come along next year if I can blag it - though I doubt I could blog quite as regularly as you with the kind of hangovers you must have suffered!


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