In the aftermath, of Ed Miliband’s conference speech, I came across two important articles published on the Touchstone and IPPR blog sites. Responsible Capitalism Takes Shape by Duncan Wheldon, and On left populism and Labour’s conference by Nick Pearce. It was Wheldon’s article that caught my eye first but both he and Pearce suggest there is a tension in the Labour Party between those who believe that British Capitalism no longer serves the interests of the majority; that what’s good for business is no longer good for people and the ‘simple keynesians’ who follow the old New Labour policies of using macroeconomic policy and demand management to encourage private sector growth. Pearce argues that Miliband believes that it’s broken and needs rebuilding, he’s on record as saying he thinks the 2015 election will be as transformative as that in 1979 and as he put it in the conference speech in speaking about the fact that capitalism seems no longer to let people afford a decent life,
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On the journey home, I shared a table with one of the exhibitor staff; we spoke about Ed’s speech and Labour Party Reform, particularly the suggestion that we should hold a primary for our Mayoral candidates. My fellow traveller said that he’d like the opportunity to help choose Labour’s candidates; since he also lived in Lewisham, I am not sure if he was referring to Lewisham or London and while I spoke about the supporter’s organisation he didn’t seem that interested. I need to think about this.
He also said he thought the speech was left wing, and I expressed surprise. Miliband is speaking about improving markets and making them work, not imposing worker’s or even consumer’s control. It’s about regulation. This is in contrast to the right but it’s not in itself left wing. Renationalising the Utilities would be left wing, although I am not sure that we really want that method of control re-imposed.
After my experience at Manchester last year, where the queue to get into the auditorium to hear Ed Miliband speak started at 13:00, I got to the Brighton Centre early, and got one of the last seats in the balcony. By the time I publish this, many others will have commented, and I didn’t take any notes so my perceptions may be influenced by others comments. If you want the transcript, it’s available on Labour List here and the Labour Party have published a web video avaialble on you tube, or there’s a hyperlink in this article.
After the Privacy meeting, I hobbled along to the Black Lion for Pragmatic Radicalism’s “Top of the Manifestoes” event. This is cross between a Pecha Kucha presentation and a balloon debate. There is 60 seconds to present, two minutes of Q&A and then a vote and a second round for the top five. All this taking place in a Pub with an open bar tab. Some of the questions could be fun.
I stayed in the Hilton to take part in a fringe event called “The economic contribution and growth potential of the creative industries” with speakers from the CBI, UK Music and UKIE. The meeting was planned to be chaired by Tom Watson, but Sion Simon stood in for him.
Matt Fell from the CBI’s competitive markets division spoke first. He started by pointing out the bleeding obvious that creative is becoming digital; except it’s not! Most musicians make more money performing than they do through licensing their content. It’s industrial music and its parasitical lawyers, agents and accountants, and now it would seem commentators, lobbyists and analysts that need copyright and the corporate industrial cocoons. He also stated that there was a lack of government backing, absolutely look at the coalition’s abolition of the British Film Council and he called for strong intellectual property laws. I wanted to ask how they could be stronger!
I popped back to the Metropole to listen to “The Housing Fringe”. This was advertised as having Jack Dromey MP as its star speaker and the meeting was chaired by a very self-satisfied Michael White of the Guardian.
The slogan “A million houses in a Parliament” has been trialled in the Press and so expectations were high although the announcements of policy were reserved for Ed Miliband’s speech the following day.
On my way to the Housing Fringe, I bumped into a Times journalist, who asked if I was attending their meeting, which was branded around one of their columns which I had not heard of, and was starring Peter Kellner, ex-political columnist and now star poller. I rather rudely said I hadn’t read the Times since it went behind a paywall neglecting to mention that I hadn’t been a fan before and I was challenged about how to pay for investigative journalism.
While I could have carried on with my rudeness asking when the Times last broke an important story such as ‘Phone Hacking’ for instance, I quoted the fact that 80% of the cost of newspapers is about paper, logistics and ink. This was denied.
I popped along to a session entitled “The creative industries: A Cinderella sector?”, convened by Demos. The panel speakers were Luciana Berger MP, Helen Burrows, and Doug Richards.
I got there in time to here Doug Richards speak, who stated that the UK was the “most successful creative sector in the world”, but lacked support. Helen Burrows, report is now three years old, and either archived or behind a paywall, its launch was reported at billboard.com, where she put some numbers behind support, size and success. This is still missing the balance of trade figures; but the report acts as a prelude to the comments that ONS is not measuring creative business well i.e, the SIC/MLH industrial measurement model needs to be updated. It was published in 2010, just after the election as the coalition were settling in.
I got there in time to hear the debate on the Collins Review Interim Report Sep 2013. There was only time for five speeches from the floor of conference, one general secretary, two MPs, and one prospective Mayor, but then there are few newly joined activists on the floor of conference. The platform had made it clear that this was an interim report and an interim debate and Ed Miliband joined the platform to listen to the it.