Given the fact that seemingly every man and his dog has a blog these days, am surprised to see not as many posts up today on Saturday’s Progress conference as I was expecting.
The theme was countdown to the next election. Progress is an internal Labour Party pressure group usually characterised as “Blairite”. It was good to see lots of young folk in evidence, seeing as Labour party events are often criticised for being offputing for reverse reasons. This was also reflected the ministers in attendance. I chaired a session on spin featuring David Lammy. The keynotes were Ed Balls and James Purnell. Shahid Malik cornered me in the coffee break to put me right on my earlier post about him and I pointed out that I was on his side but didn’t want to suppress dissent in the comments. Highlight for me though was bumping into Dave Rowntree the drummer from Blur and valiant bearer of the Labour standard in a safe Tory seat recently on Westminster Council during a by-election. Apparently Blur are not currently recording again.
All in all a diverting use of a Saturday. As with the case when things break out into parallel sessions there is never the chance to see everything you want to – due to chairing duties I missed what looked like an interesting session on Islamic radicalism with another young minister Parmjit Dhanda as well as the real Ed Hussain. His spoofster by the way has finished his parallel Islamicist epic here.
The conference seems to have been covered most extensively by the BBC. The genuine Luke Akehurst links to their Politics Show which features an interview with him. Anthony Giddens (lecturer I had as a first year undergrad) made the observation – nicked by their Lawrence Llewelyn Bowen-like presenter – on the venue Canary Wharf: “good to see the building that symbolises super-capitalism being taken over by Labour for the day.”
Apopros the BBC by the way I have a post here on their attitude to programme-making that’s worth a click (then I would say that wouldn’t I?)