Sunday, March 03, 2024

London Labour Conference 2024

Recovering from a busy weekend at the London Labour annual conference, as a UNISON Labour Link delegate. I arrived late on Saturday due to advice surgery commitment and missed keynote speakers David Lammy MP and Ellie Reeves MP. 

The venue was packed and a large number of stalls outside conference hall. There was definitely a positive conference buzz but also a recognition that the London Mayoral and GLA election in May (only 60 days away) will be tough and bloody since the Tories have resorted to the sewer in a desperate bid to avoid defeat. The Forthcoming General election will be equally vile. 

During lunch there was a great fringe organised by Labour Unions on the "New Deal for Working Parties" commitment. Our UNISON regional secretary, Jo Galloway, took part in the panel debate. 

Later there was another very interesting panel debate on AI and I asked the question that while I am not a luddite and welcome most technological change, there is a genuine real concern about AI being used to replace human face to face contact (I am a housing officer and there is a move to not meet residents in person but instead communicate via email and telephone) and that many back office workers face job insecurity from AI. We must have a "Just transition" and protect vulnerable workers. 

I also attended a useful seminar on election campaigning, there is a new script for door knocking and look forward to trying it out. 

The outstanding item yesterday was the speech to conference by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan. He arrived with no fanfare and started speaking to delegates and shaking hands (and being asked to pose for many selfies!) - See main picture in collage. The London Labour Movement "love" for Sadiq, was to me, pretty obvious. The many dreadful and disgusting comments made against him in recent days by senior Tories must have taken their toll on him and his family, but he is fighting back and gave a passionate and rousing speech which inspired and enthused conference. 

After conference there was a fund raising dinner with further speeches and the inevitable Labour raffle, where I continued with my run of luck in these events, by winning the book "Tribes" by David Lammy MP, which I look forward to reading. 

Conference started at 9am this morning (Sunday) and for some reason I needed lots of coffee to keep me up to speed. 

There was a number of great debates and speeches (including another panel debate on the importance of "New Deal"). I enjoyed the good humoured and intelligent presentation by Sadiq's campaign manager Matthew Greenough, (Known apparently in London circles as "Welsh Matt", who to my extreme pleasure, repeated a famous saying by St David in Welsh)

He was also in another panel debate on the GLA election, where I asked the question should we respond to the awful and disgusting racist comments, by trolls that are made on nearly every tweet Sadiq makes? He said "no", it will just amplify these hateful messages which is what they want and instead concentrate on the many positive things that Sadiq is doing to improve the everyday lives of Londoners. 

Later GLA London Labour Group Leader, Len Duvall, spoke about the "Battle of Ideas" that is going on in this campaign, while the closing speech was by local MP, Rushanara Ali, who called out the "Shame of the desperate Talking talking down her longer is there "dog whistle" politics, it's now a fog horn"

There was a number of other fantastic contributions by many other speakers and delegates that I haven't listed. 

My final comment is to thank the London affiliated unions for electing me to the London Labour Party Regional Executive Committee, which  I look forward to serving upon. 

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