Friday, September 19, 2008

Back in Harness

Conference is over and the queues for the terminals provided by Microsoft proved just too much of a barrier to blogging while there. Standing in a queue in order to stand at a terminal was not my idea of relaxation so it was a case of doing a quick check of emails and then handing over to the next person.
Suffice to say that the debates were very high quality, as they always are at our conference. Knowing that conference is setting the policy of the party makes sure that everyone takes the debates very seriously. On top of that there were some really good fringe meetings enabling us to discuss everything from nuclear power to economics to child welfare and fairtrade. I took part in a really interesting discussion on Islam and how it's perceived by some to be a threat to this country. It was a privilege to hear Islamic scholars debating the issue and to be able to join in the discussion. And of course Bournemouth is a lovely place with a beautiful walk from where I was staying to the Conference centre. The early morning sun on the sea was an inspiring sight.
Of course the world economic situation was never far from the front of discussions in the conference hall and the bars. Vince Cable seemed to gain in stature every day as other parties grappled to say something sensible about it. I don't pretend to understand the markets but I do know that Vince was warning of problems over a year ago and sadly, his warnings have been shown to be valid. I just hope that the measures being taken in London and New York settle nerves and get things back onto an even keel. Everyone needs the markets to be more stable than they have been recently for the sake of pensions, housing and everything else that's affected.
Meanwhile yesterday was a day of meetings - planning the scrutiny review of dog fouling and animal welfare, Environment Partnership response to a government consultation on renewable energy production and then the Parish Council. Today having just one meeting, all be it in Gateshead, seemed like a rest!

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