Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home again

Technology wasn't as well behaved as it might have been towards the end of conference, and I've no intention of writing now what I might or might not have thought at the time.  It's enough to say that I was reassured about some things which will prove really important to us in the North East - opportunities in the Green Economy, opportunities in carbon saving and so on.  These are the very things which we in the Tees valley and the wider North East region need to build our regeneration, and there were some very reassuring things said by ministers and others.
I was reassured also that the party's representatives in government are aware of the difficulties faced in local government even if they don't always agree with us on the way to resolve them.  But there again different people in different parts of local government don't agree with each other either.
Nick's Keynote Speech
Liverpool was a very good conference venue, the police were helpful and considerate & security seemed to work well though I've heard today of someone whose invisible disability made for problems in getting through the security.  I for one wouldn't mind going back there.
And just as an aside - I wouldn't describe any of the questioning of ministers including Nick Clegg as "hostile" so I'm not sure which conference the BBC and others attended.
Suzanne Fletcher spoke on housing benefit cuts and the need to ensure that the most vulnerable in society aren't made even more vulnerable by them. Stockton Lib Dems had worked with others in the North East to make sure that the subject was on the agenda and we were delighted that conference agreed with us on its importance.  The hard work now is to make sure that our coalition partners agree also.
Following that debate the whole Stockton contingent went out for a breath of fresh air and took a ride on the Liverpool Echo Wheel.  This big wheel was just outside the conference centre and a fine day gave us tremendous views down to the Welsh mountains, the sea and the Pennines as well as a new view of some of Liverpool's landmarks.
Having such a strong representation from Stockton meant that we could cover many different debates and fringe events as well as some of the excellent training sessions on offer.  I look forward to our next Members meeting to be able to share some of what we learned.
On a personal note I was more than happy to hear Vince Cable praise Teesside Uni as a good teaching University.  I spent happy hours studying there as it made the transition from Constantine College to a polytechnic and eventually to university.  It was innovative then and I believe it still is.

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