Tuesday, September 26, 2006

We have a guest blogger! Not because I'm getting lazy, but because it's an interesting insight in to the workings of conference. I've got a BBC News 24 team following me around for much of the day, so I'm off to straighten my tie and at least try to look the part...the words below are of one Andy Preston, delegate for my home constituency of Thirsk and Malton.
The speech that didn’t happen

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…


At 5:30 PM, Blogger Praguetory said...

Bit of a curved ball that. What were you planning on saying?


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