Thursday, September 30, 2010
Labour Conference 2010: Harriet Harman, the Red Flag and the New Jerusalem
Labour Party deputy leader, Harriet Harman, gave a witty and unifying closing speech to this year’s conference.
I liked the self deprecating joke that she was only elected the "most fanciable MP" in a Sky News poll because her husband, Jack Dromey - had used "the Unite block vote". We then all sang the “Red Flag” followed by “Jerusalem”. Then after several minutes of clapping and cheering Ed, there was the traditional mad rush to pick up luggage and get to the train station.
Beforehand John Denham MP had given a cracking speech warning the 4,500 Labour Councillors that they will have the fight of their lives to make sure they protect essential public services. He also exposed the crucial flaw in Cameron’s “Big Society” that volunteers want to supplement public services not replace them. He gave the example of people who volunteer to “befriend” pensioners but they would not want to replace the services of the district nurse.
Harriet was then introduced by UNISON activist, Norma Stephenson, who had been elected the Chair of the Labour Party NEC last night.
Building a New Jerusalem is now on hold until 2015 at the latest. The opportunity may come sooner but it is best to plan for a long and at times very painful slog back to power.
I'll be trying to catch up on my posts about conference over the next few days.