Having a coffee at 8.30am I was greeted by a rep from Labour regional office. “You’re involved in finance – fancy delivering speech on pensions?” I must have looked a bit stunned because he then said: “don’t worry it’ll only be three minutes long!”
Within fifteen minutes I was upstairs at the GMEX, writing my piece; quizzing party experts on related matters and beginning to feel that time was running out.
For rest of the day till 2.30pm I refined and rehearsed. I wrote a good speech suggesting that the great work of Labour’s white paper on pensions should be extended. I proposed the phasing out of dividend tax in pension schemes, citing benefits for savers, companies and the economy.
How could we pay for this tax break? “Easy”, I wrote, we should instigate a significant transaction tax on multiple property ownership; this move could balance the books and halt excessive house price inflation.
The debate on pensions began. Eventually, delegates from the floor were invited to speak. Three times I stood up, frantically waving my arms. My heart was pounding, I wanted to speak.
I wasn’t selected out of the many who tried. I left the GMEX centre downbeat and deflated.
I am now back at the GMEX at 9.30pm on the same day, writing a speech on ‘Britain in the world’.
You’ve got to keep trying…