Monday, September 17, 2007
Today's agenda had lots of really good, solid policies to be debated and voted on:
Dentistry - calling for changes to the NHS dental contracts to encourage preventative work as well as treatment.
Climate Change - radical plans to take Britain towards a carbon-neutral future. This includes helping developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change, just as important as making sure that we in developed countries do our bit.
Women in Prison - calling for an urgent implementation of Baroness Corston's findings in her review published in March 2007. Women in prison are often much more vulnerable than men and are most often convicted of non-violent crimes for which prison is not an appropriate punishment.
Tourism - policies to improve the tourist offer in Britain and encourage sustainable tourism.
Action on Bullying - because I'd chaired the scrutiny review of anti-bullying policy and practice in Stockton earlier this year I was very keen to take part in this debate so put in a speaker card during the morning. Imagine my surprise and delight when I was called to speak second in the debate! Butterflies soon gave way to calm as I put into practice the things I'd learned on the Leadership Academy about breathing and so on. I talked about Stockton's new accreditation scheme for schools and youth clubs and mentioned Buddy schemes and Peer Massage. Radio 5 rang to ask me to go to their temporary studio for an interview on Drive Time - first time I've ever given a live radio interview. It was a fascinating experience from a techie point of view, and good to be able to give Stockton some national publicity for a good activity. Funnily enough I was perfectly calm in the studio but when I got outside the butterflies took over and I needed a long walk to recover before going to a fringe meeting.
It was a surprise to realise when going out of the hotel that according to a plaque on the wall Gladstone often stayed there - a good place to stay for a Liberal Democrat Conference.