Saturday, September 28, 2013

Capitalising upon the crowds

Continuing the run of quick rough notes, here are some bullet points from two sessions at this morning's Talk About Local unconference about sustainability/making a living in communities that are becoming increasingly connected, either through or as a complementary side product of a hyperlocal website:

Ways of trading and making a living:
- grants - time-consuming, you need to be the right type of organisation. Partnerships may be effective to bring your skill audience with others
- crowdfunding - eg Kickstarter, Just Giving Projects
- creating markets where your online audience is your main buyer eg food trucks for physical perishable food, products influenced by the website audience/local area
- advertising - rates that are successful around £60 per year. Advertising also drives content and adds value and engagement for businesses. Success reported with Google ads and
- collecting surplus for exchange or trade eg Apples for Eggs, Freecycle, Urban Harvest, Loaf
- connecting people who like and trust each other
- income connected to the blog, but not necessarily the blog itself, eg education/training, consultation/bringing people together, storytelling/social media, services based on free or open source tools, eg voovio lets you build a 360 degree slideshow

- work out what should be free and what shouldn't
- be prepared to price your time properly
- cultural issues: we don't like to sell, can crowdfunding feel like begging?, accountability - advertising is more transparent, what happens when you take money - can you still be critical?
- there is often a surplus of ideas against shortage of people who can take action, so take incremental steps eg
> join/like a community
> ask for a small amount of help
> raise small amounts from large amounts of people
> have a collection day when everyone can bring/swap
> value/collect everyone's skills
> be sure to celebrate the outcomes / heroes who make an event of project happen, this will increase involvement for next time
- build a 'stockpot' of social capital
- design the outcomes you want: eg staying true to the community benefit

Conference day 5

Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the final day but Stuart Davis kindly scanned the final day's agenda and report and sent information about the votes. I'll be adding videos as they get posted up - Further information/corrections and video links welcome.

Emergency motion on rail privatisation
Tosh MacDonald:

Composite motion - Royal Mail
Stronger, Safer communities debate
Ann Lucas
Sadiq Khan
Composite motion: lobbying 
Health and care
Keith Birch
Liz Kendall - panel discussion

Video shown for NHS debate:

Andy Burnham:

Votes - all motions and reports carried
Doreen Lawrence

Ed Miliband Q & A:

Closing speech: Harriet Harman:

Conference day 4

**These are very rough notes shared for the benefit of my Constituency Labour Party and anyone else interested. If anything is wrong or information is missing, please leave a comment. Links to videos of speeches also welcome**

Agenda not accepted by floor because of motions and rule changes not included. Later CAC proposed that the TSSA motion should be included, but the amendments were not. Agenda accepted.

Ballot results:
Union NEC representatives
CAC Heidi Alexander and Tom Blenkinsop
NEC: Maggie Cosin

Treasurer's report
Very proud of the TU link and the contributions from the unions. Over £8 million brought in from small donations as well.

Six by-elections fought on tight budgets, all won

Reduction in the party's net liabilities. Full repayment strategy agreed, the party will be debt-free in June 2016. This removes an £2 million repayment bill each year.

Thanks every individual and affiliated organisation who has made this possible.

We have made our greatest achievements when we stand strong, all the movement together.

Audited accounts moved and agreed.

Proposed changes to rules - card votes:
- amendment to membership subscription to CLPs in line with inflation - carried
- statement on electoral fraud - carried
- branch annual accounts are sent to CLPs by February - carried
- annual levy - carried

- Labour group leaders: option for CLPs/councillors to consult and have local electoral colleges if there was support. NEC did not support this motion so there was a debate:
Arguments against:
- would create a vacuum of power after elections; CLPs and council groups need to be separate, the whole point of council groups is that they should be able to meet separately
Rule change arguments in support
- this isn't an attack on any leader or group; local party leaders are seen as leaders of the whole party, this would be an equivalent; process would connect CLPs with local council leaders
- not carried

TUC greetings
It's up to us to challenge the view that austerity is inevitable and cannot be changed. I fear for the future of the NHS, but I think any party that is seen to support the NHS will be in tune with the public.

Any party that can bring together health and social care, free of the point of need, funded by the taxpayer, will have made a huge achievement.

Invitation to join the march for the NHS on Sunday.

Speeches from Hilary Benn and Maria Eagles

Living standards debate

Call for statuary youth service and same wage for youth

Ex-homeless man in insecure accomodation. Very good speech.

Caroline Flint
Measures on simpler pricing, investment on green technology. Clean up power system.

Leader's speech: Full video

Quick impressions: Really impressive, warm, relaxed speech with a number of standing ovations. Exciting atmosphere, stage-managed to transform the hall into a stadium feel. Big headline policies reiterated but much more emphasis on media messages to reach middle ground. Some of the more radical policy announcements and pro-Europe focus in much else of conference less emphasised. Some of these like suppport for blacklisting victims and trade union-friendly policies will be of interest to CLP members. Very hopeful and bold speech with strong positive messages about women and youth and promoting equality rather than division.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Conference day 3

Hi **These are very rough notes shared for the benefit of my Constituency Labour Party and anyone else interested. If anything is wrong or information is missing, please leave a comment. Links to videos of speeches also welcome**
Cooperative Party speaker: Gareth Thomas
It's time to inject new energy into the credit union movement.
Proposal for levy on payday lenders. Further change is needed to the banking sector.
Football fans have been treated like cash cows for too long. Fan ownership increases revenue and involvement. The Premier League should allow at least one member on the board if backed by ten percent of season ticket holders.
Coop councils examples: Edinburgh, Lambeth; network of Coop councillors. We want more councillors to be elected with coop council values.
If you're not a member of the Coop Party, I hope you'lll be tempted to join.
Britain's global role
Ellie Reeves Labour movement has always been on the side of the poor and dispossessed across the globe.
Labour values have given us many working rights through Europe.
Let's kick racism and fascism out of Europe once and for all.
We should support our armed forces and fund them properly, but not go unthinkingly into rushed conflicts.
The party's actions on Syria have been shown to be wise.
Some of the poorest countries have no health and safety culture and it is a dereliction of duty to forget the millions of people who are not as lucky as we are.
Millions also do not have the right to be in a trade union. We must not forget that we are an international party.
Glenys Wilmott - MEP leader
Last election was a disaster, we lost nearly a third of our votes in one of the most brutal campaigns ever.
We don't have to accept a version of Europe based on myths.
Need to be bold and talk about our voting record on better working rights, tax evasion, better protection for consumers and equal rights for all.
We have to convince the doubting electorate that we achieve more within Europe than we can separately.
Restate the case for a socially inclusive, progressive EU. EU funding gave a lifeline to places abandoned by the Conservative government. Europe isn't perfect and there are changes to be made, but Labour MEPs are working hard on that.
Young people have a guarantee of work, employment or training due to European starting fund of £6 billion.
Jim Murphy
We should always pay tribute to the bravery and sacrifice of our armed forces.
We've made a commitment to change the NHS constitution to ensure that veterans are properly supported if they have injuries and mental health problems; plans to name streets after the fallen; guaranteed job interviews.
Too many of our armed forces experience discrimination. We will table amendments to the Defence Reform Bill to make it a specific criminal offence to attack members of the armed forces.
Set up a military membership scheme. 800 new members have joined. Each is welcome and will strengthen our party.
We have to learn the lessons of our recent past. Contracted conflicts like Afghanistan were a failure.
We should invest properly in prevention. We would take a multilateral approach: defence, diplomacy, development, remembering we are an international party.
We were right to wait for UN evidence before voting for military action against Syria.
Submit your views on global role on Your Britain.
Unison is strongly opposed to any attempts to renegotiate European relationship that will threaten workers' rights. Full and decent employment is essential for the whole world's population.
Nationally defined measures of income security are the best way to create peaceful, secure societies. Call for MPs to oppose EU act (?) On Columbia: abuses of working rights should not be rewarded.
Veterans have skills, attitudes and experiences that can contribute to our society, but it can be tough to adjust to civilian life. Government at all levels have a duty to make the adjustment as easy as possible. Glasgow city council have created a single point of contact for all veterans and their families. It has helped with income, housing problems, further education and employment. For every £1 we invest, research showed we save the taxpayer £8.34 in lower health costs, homelessness referrals and worklessness. We offer 50% of a living wage to employers for a year if they will invest in a veteran. If you fought for your country, you shouldn't have to fight for a job when your service ends.
European candidate who had just returned from Berlin. Decision to unite Europe was taken by 500 million people. Europe is very different now. Issues for European socialists are just the same as ours: cost of rents, food, unemployment. We all face the same challenges.
Welcome that Israel and Palestine are negotiating again. But Israel have approved seven new settlements since talks begun. Our government admits that settlements are illegal and make peace more difficult to achieve, but they don't do anything about it. Ed Miliband supported the Palestinians when they went to the UN to ask to be a state. We now have to say we will trade with Israel, but not with illegal settlements. Speaker has set up Labour to Palestine to show people the effect of the wall and taking land. Settlements are not part of Israel: this is not an anti-Israel policy.
Labour councillors show what Labour values can do locally.
Ivan Lewis:
When people say politics cannot make a difference, remind them who set up the NHS.
Our everyday lives are affected by development beyond our borders. My Britain is committed to fairness, no child without food, access to universal healthcare. We give record amounts to Comic Relief year after year in good times and bad.
I came into politics to help poor people.
Launch of a global petition to mobilise people in support of early years provision in post-2015 development goals.
Reflection on what children in Syria are facing.
We need to do our part and galvanise countries to ensure that aid agencies can have full access. We will always be the first to respond to humanitarian crises. Business will have to operate decent practices throughout their supply chains and be transparent about their tax arrangements.
Fair rights for workers and decent working rights should be the hallmark of trade in the 21st century.
Post-2015 goals are an opportunity to reduce inequality, improve governance, "new social contract without borders".
We want to see an end to extreme poverty by 2030 and also an end to aid dependency.
Quote: "We didn't come into politics to explain the world as it is, we came in to change the world."
Douglas Alexander
When the government drafted its motion calling for military action, the UN was asking for more time. Labour's leadership prevented a rush to action without the necessary steps being taken and due process being followed. We have learned the lessons of the past.
Intervening immediately and asking questions later would have ill-served our country. We support intervention when we must, but should support diplomacy when we can.
Task now is to ensure humanitarian access and negotiation between warring parties. It is in our national interest to uphold rules and work with international shared goals.
We will oppose isolationist policies wherever we find it.
"Progressive internationalism"
Video: Your Britain
Jenny Formby
Employment policies are condemning families to a life of insecurity where payday loans are the only way to make ends meet. Every worker deserves to be treated with dignity and fairness by their employers.
Welcome announcements on zero hour contracts and other protections.
Chuka Amunna
Lessons learned: we should have regulated the banks. Growth for the few not the many is no growth at all. Our belief is through progressive politics and cooperation, we can harness global trade to work for everyone. - we must invest in skills.
We will maintain our world-class universities and improve vocational skills. We will increase apprenctice numbers and ensure they last a minimum two years with level 3 qualitications. - society and business depend on each other.
We will act to outlaw zero hours contracts where they exploit poeple. If government won't launch an investigation into blacklisting, we will. - toughen regime on minimum wage - substantial increase to fines.
Local authorities will have powers to enforce law on bad business practices as well as HMRC.
Work towards improving minimum living wage towards a living wage.
We will win with hope and optimism for what our country can be. We will work to rebuild faith in politics and our party.
Composite 3: employment rights
Moved by Len McClusky If our party is to have a future, it must speak for ordinary workers. Other European workers have better protection that British workers. We need to speak up for the millions that have no voice. Strong trade unions are the only thing that will stop the scandal of zero hours contracts. You will never appease the right wing media and to try demeans our party.
Young Labour seconded: Labour movement fought to ensure that people would not have to be uncertain whether they would have work.
Composition motion 4: Employment rights 2
GMB is organising at Amazon. Two thirds of their workforce in the UK are agency workers without minimal rights. We can't name which Amazon workers are in the trade union because it would put their jobs at risk.
Seconded by Bishop Aukland CLP Debate Support for composite 4
Carilian were taken out of exhibtion and replaced by anti-blacklisting Shrewsbury campaign.
UCATT thanks councils who have barred blacklisters from tendering for contracts. UK government should do the same.
We need a full inquiry to get the full truth about what happened. Blacklisting should become a criminal offence. Companies should pay compensation to the workers that they blacklisted for their ruined lives.
Stability and Prosperity Margaret Beckett [Speeches on Labour press twitter]
Ed Balls "We will combine iron discipline with fairer decisions".
There will be continued cuts. Make sure difficult choices are rooted in our values and fairness. Compulsory jobs guarantee
Picked up information about blacklisting. Local council have passed a motion not to use blacklisters. What steps have companies with local contracts taken to ensure blacklisting is not still happening? Are the paying compensation to blacklisted workers?
Liam Byrne:
Millions of people hate this government, but think there is no alternative.
If we are bold, we will give people hope. More than 5 million workers are earning less than the living wage. Many workers in construction being classified as self-employed. Proposals to change the culture of construction being worked on with UCATT. Example of someone on a PFI site being paid £8.80 a week. - very passionate speech, worth watching
Betting shop worker talks about minimum wage and how much it meant to her, even her manager was not on minimum wage. Still helping her son get through university.
Unite: Labour needs an interventionist strategy for manufacturing. We are still overdependent on financial and services sectors. Need to recognise the skills of workers in the successful car manufacturers. It's time for Labour to say they will invest in manufacturing and create skilled jobs for young people.
Sue Marsh:
- one of the lead campaigners for Spartacus campaign against current ATOS system. Refers to report written with Labour - says Labour are listening.
Rachel Reeves
Jobs and social security policy forum Went to UR the boss manifesto fringe Trident fringe Motion was ruled 'not contemporary'
European reception
Health q&a

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Labour Conference 2013 - day 2

**These are very rough notes shared for the benefit of my Constituency Labour Party and anyone else interested. If anything is wrong or information is missing, please leave a comment. Links to videos of speeches also welcome**
Party reform: key aspects:
- primaries - ensuring fair selections
>> inequlity between candidates
- constituency party and overall relationships with trade union movement >> how individual members have a relationship with local parties and Labour movement
Today's debate has no vote, is a starting point for the consultation document being launched.
>> We should also have the debate within CLPs.
>>also vital to connect up with own unions
Opening speech: major themes: cost of living, Syria, relationships with trade unions and churches, bedroom tax
Over 500 CLP delegates, over half of which are attending for the first time. Moment of silence to remember members who have passed away in the last year.
Merit award winners Included John Brooks, Staffordshire County Council
Good speech by Ian McNicol about founding values of Labour Party.
"When we listen and learn and trust and give power back to people, that's when we win trust back"
90 full time community organisers have been recruited, working across UK, battleground seats. Their target is to recruit 100 activists.
Best practice awards
Policy Forum Policy pledges:
- no more free schools, local accountability for all schools
- scrapping bedroom tax
One year of consultation fed in to the document, now further consultation will lead towards the manifesto.
"I've made it my priority to make sure members are at the centre of the policy-making process. We need to find more ways for people to contribute and have their say" - Angela Eagles
>> take part at Your Britain website
Debate: party reform
Harriet Harman introduces consultation document and Roy Collins [link?] The link has to change to become more transparent and give people a positive choice about whether to be part of Labour, but this is not about breaking the link. I look forward to hearing your views.
TULO views this document as a start to the process, not the end of one. The removal of our collective voice is not on the agenda. 100 years of shared history will not be washed away. There are more questions than answers in the report and these will be addressed over the coming weeks.
We care about the future of our party. Whatever you feel about the detail of the changes, this is a good conversation to have, that will help us become a winning party in 2015. It will help us to renew our party. We should have confidence in the link with our trade unions and be able to say the party stands with hard-working people.
I want to see our party contrasted with the Conservative party and become a mass membership party. That means we need to involve more trade union members. Let a message go out that we are proud of our trade union links and their thousands of members.
End practices of parachuted candidates, putting people in the house of lords etc. We need to stop ignoring trade union leaders when they highlight issues like PFI. It's not enough to reform structures without creating an agenda that people can get behind. There are lots of people who support candidates in standing, but we have a problem with how much it costs to get selected. Can we have a spending cap?
Harriet Harman: personal spending on candidates is a problem - we should have a spending cap. Resources should be spend on external campaigning, not internal.
In many areas the local connection between TU branches and the CLPs is not what it should be. We want fairer elections and deeper connections between workers and local parties.
Education debate
Add your views on Your Britain website
Stephen Twigg: 1 in 6 children now live in poverty
Average nursery costs went up six times faster than wages last year.
Surestart was one of Labour's greatest achievements, we remain committed to it.
Next Labour govt will legislate to deliver the primary childcare guarantee - before and after-school care between 8am and 6pm at their local primary schools.
Doubling in last year of primary school children in class sizes over 30; schools with over 800 puils has trebled.
Need to keep teaching as a profession with qualifications, high status and high morale. Powerful case for teaching assistants given by delegates.
Education is the best way for people to realise their aspiration and reach their potential. It is the engine of social mobility.
Technical baccaleureate option, maths and English for everyone up to the age of 18. Higher standards of teaching in FE colleges. Acredited work experience placements for everyone. Make sure all young people get independent careers advice. Many of our top universities have become more exclusive. If Michael Gove makes the proposed change to AS levels, Labour will reverse it.
University or an apprenticeship will become an option for all school-leavers. Need to work out how that works in current fiscal climate.
'Better politics' - equality, citizenship and constitutional reform
Johanna Baxter
Only 41% of young people polled said they were likely to vote, only 12% (?) certainly would.
Politics is about people - when people don't engage it's not a sign they're not interested, but that our political structures aren't working for them.
Yvette Cooper
Opportunity to create the Olympics legacy is at risk of being wasted by current policies of division.
Ad vans were a disgrace - this is not our Britain. Hate crimes against the disabled up 5%, attacks on Mosques up 10%, women hit three times harder by policy changes than men. Call for stronger laws to end maternity discrimination.
Policing must be for all: police force needs to reflect the community.
We should be proud that Labour votes got the Equal Marriage bill through. Labour has stood for over 100 years for equality.
We must challenge cuts to staffing in tube stations because it will make it harder for people with disabilities to access transport.
Immigration Bill includes measures to check papers when renting accomodation, turning people away if they try to access health services. Does nothing to make people in the UK more secure.
14 year old CLP delegate campaigning for votes for 16 year olds. Says young people are giving up on university four years before they would go. My views will never be taken seriously unless I have a stake in the system. Demonstrate that our views matter and we can influence policy. Changing the voting age will be a step towards equality.
If you don't understand how work system works, the easiest thing is to blame an immigrant down the road. Good political education should be a right, not a privilige. Being politically literate should not be down to chance.
Speech and language therapist working with people with learning disabilites. Example of someone she works with who is being forced to move, support cut, family under pressure. Focus under Labour government will be on support, not stigmatising.
50% of young BME people are unemployed, compared to 22% generally. Series of attacks against equality reforms and communities that should be protected under Equalities Act.
Panel discussion Sophie Christianson Gold medal paralympian talked about what could be done with the right support. Olympic legacy now needs to be extended to everyone. This is not a party political issue because all politicians celebrated the event. We need to close the gap between paralympians and all other disabled people. People lose the right to regular physiotherapy at the age of 19. Looking for a job in London is impossible because public transport is inaccessible.
Access to Work scheme is a step in the right direction, but it is very difficult to find support and services. Social services could provide support and signposting. Number of disabled people is expected to increase from currenty 11.5million. Only 1 in 10 is currently in work. Business case to increase this so that they can contribute to the economy.
Wales - Carwyn Jones, First Minister
Bedroom tax announcement will give 40,000 people in Wales hope for the future.
Wales have introduced a version of the Future Jobs Fund - 8,500 job opportunities for young people, 6,500 of those went on to find work.
28,000 families benefiting from Flying Start programme.
Support programme for unemployed Welsh workers - 117 Remploy workers have found new jobs.
We're building a Welsh government that shows what Labour values can achieve.
Welsh NHS remains true to Bevan's vision: free prescriptions, increased access to GPs, opt-out system for organ donations.
Education: foundation phase for youngest children, learning through experience. Free school breakfasts. Kept education maintenance allowance. Retaining GCSEs and A-levels.
We see everyday benefits from being part of Europe. EU funding has invested £110million in new businesses. Europe is Wales's biggest trading partner. Wales cannot afford to leave the UK or the EU.
Rejected regional pay and provided evidence to prevent it. Excluding blacklisters from public service contracting opportunities.
Living standards and sustainibility commission
Mary Creagh:
Labour opposes East Coast privatisation People are eating a less healthy diet than they were five years ago. Thanks given to the inspirational people who run food banks, but anger at the conditions that mean they exist. Deregulation drive for the food industry includes taking vitamins out of margarine.
Labour would introduce new labelling rules so you can always see which prices are cheaper; ban food from landfill; energy regulation; universation broadband; marine conservation zones; finish coastal path; will not roll out badger cull.
Long overdue announcement to oppose privatisation on East Coast. Crisis of living standards is made worse by cost of travel - rail travel most expensive in Europe. Ony answer is to bring rail transport back into public ownership.
Votes: all policy reports carried (Education & children policy document, Education & children accual report; Better politics policy document - Young people &politics; Better Politics policy commission - annual report)
Priorities ballot: CLPs: Housing, NHS, Cost of Living, Employment rights Unions: Lobbying, cost of living, employment rights, Royal Mail Six topics therefore chosen for discussion.
Short film: Richard Curtis Protest = Protest:
Noted very high participation from women, including many young women, today. The liveliest debates were the ones on equalities.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 1 notes - women's conference

**These are very rough notes shared for the benefit of my Constituency Labour Party and anyone else interested. If anything is wrong or information is missing, please leave a comment**

Women's conference - I got there in the afternoon, just in time for a workshop: families under pressure.

Sharon Hodgson MP: 
Costs of childcare estimated to have risen 20% since election.
500 fewer Surestart centres nationally

Labour actions: childcare commission led by Steven Twigg. Ideas are coming directly from it and leading in to policies - encouraged members to feed in to it.

Lucy Powell MP
We can reduce inequality by ensuring strong care in the earliest years.
We have to make childcare a central argument for getting the economy working again - business case.  The majority of women who don't return to work after maternity leave take a pay-cut for the rest of their lives. We need a parent-centred, flexible approach if parents are going to be able to return straight back.

Sharon Redsull Action for Children - parents champion volunteer, helps to welcome parents, help them access services and helps in the office. She was able to access childcare while she studies for an NVQ. Really positive programme for boosting her own confidence and helping local families.

Carol Edmonds Bright Horizons
Families are increasingly under pressure to fit in childcare and work
- care must remain top of the political agenda
- care responsibilities often include elderly care and vulnerable adults
- we need a workforce that can support all the different kinds of care needed in society.
If organisations create the conditions for people to care it has a huge impact on how they perform.
Employers need to embrace a range of policies and practices: flexible hours, recognition we don't live in a 9 to 5 society, access to different types of care, tax breaks.
Current state funding is difficult to administer and doesn't always suit families' needs.

- issue: gap in provision for breastfeeding mothers, employers have to take them back but not necessarily allow proper conditions
>> working mums are highly organised and should be recognised for being productive employees
- Andy Burnham is bringing together thinking about elderly care, how will all this fit together?

Tail end of violence workshop
Dealing with domestic violence cost £15 billion in 2009.

Final session: advice for women in the party and election candidates

Kirsty McNeill
Get a gang
Politics is a team sport.
Join networks: Women's Network and any other relevant networks, your trade union Get yourself in people's faces
People get on panels because they ask to go on. Ask. People will think you're pushy? Yes. But they will give you stuff.
Turn up and be seen, build your network from the ground

Get in the ring Politics is a competitive sport. If you want a job you have to apply. If you want a seat you have to run. Apply for everything that has your name on it. Get your name on open shortlists, not just women's one. Go to Labour Women's training.

Equality isn't impossible in our party, but it isn't inevitable either. We have to fight for it.

Josie [didn't catch surname]
Plan. Elections take a lot of time and, still, money. Changing this will help more women to stand but at the moment it is still the case. The further ahead you can plan, the better.
Training will also help you to build a support network for when the selection process gets tough.
Plan your literature to frame your strengths in the best light.
The best campaigns boil down to meeting people with a cup of tea. As a candidate that's what you'll be doing so the earlier you start the better.
Hopes we'll see a lot more women putting themselves forward. We need women to stand up for other women in our country.

Quote from Julia Gillard when she lost the election: "What I am absolutely certain of is it will be easier for the woman after me, and the woman after that"

Support women to stand in open shortlists, even if you're not standing yourself.
We need more women to give members a choice.
Some of the old Labour seats are very resistant to women; Lucy Powell was first female MP ever to represent Manchester Keep supporting your young women to get involved.
Grassroots movement in Wales called Charter for Women (have copy). They are looking for local ambasadors.
More women should blog - Scarlet Standard takes guest posts
Be brave, be bold

Closing: Harriet Harman
Today has possibly been the biggest political meeting of women ever We are a party that believes in equality, fairness and socal justice - this is our ideology. As women in the Labour party, we have the responsbility to speak up for women in our democracy and within the Labour party. We have to work in partnership with clleagues who are men, but need to lead the movement ourselves.
Women are still unequal on pay, power, work, home. We have more women MPs than all the other parties put together, but still outnumbered by men. Only 13% of Labour council leaders are women. Women in the party are all still pioneers, politics is still mostly dominated by men. We have to assert our right to argue for further action. We have to be teamly, but keep battling. We have to not be afraid of controversy. The woman arguing for advancement may not be the most popular, but if you're not having a row, you're probably not doing enough!
For women who feel on their own, we are all in solidarity with you. We need to support other women going forward for council, MPs, other leadership positions. It is difficult to be the subect of criticism because you're in those roles. We should judge ourselves not by the positions we achieve, but what we do for other women.

Argue against the idea that there is some sort of hierachy of inequality: there is no competition, we're against them all - they must not be set one against the other. We'll need a very strong manifesto for women, not just to get women's votes but to deliver for them. Example: childcare, public policy for a new generation of older women - not pretending to be younger, but not old and frail.

Labour conference 2013

I'm on my way to Labour Party conference 2013 in Brighton, as a delegate for Stoke North CLP.

I've been to quite a lot of decision-making conferences as a journalist and staff member, but this is my first time as a Labour member and delegate, so it will be quite a different perspective for me.

For any of you who read this blog for the technology rather than the politics, you'll want to know that as well as lots of paper, this is my first conference with an Android smartphone. The official conference app seems promising and with my cheap Bluetooth keyboard I can be tapping away for as long as the batteries last. I'll tweet a bit at @clarewhite, but will try to share longer notes here as I go along.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Tech Tuesday - How do you build community?

These are rough notes taken at the Tech Tuesday event I went to in August, a fantastic warm evening spent typing on deckchairs in the company of some great Manhattan minds.
The first speaker was from, a working hub on Broadway. We were told this was once Gordon Gecko's office, a sign of how the area is changing. He highlighted that it seems like no-one knows exactly how you build community. There's a bunch of ideas and bunch of people, but not always a clear path. Some ideas from him and other speakers follow:
> essentials of humanity
Choose buildings on a corner as you get light coming in from two directions plus two views
Provide for essential needs: coffee; fruitwater (a blend of fruit and water) creates conversations.
Eric from Reddit followed:
Communities are defined by the stories those in the communities tell each other. All you can do is be a catalyst.
Icons, colours, design features - all chosen by the people who create the community, they can create symbols that are meaningful to them.
Look for the stories people are telling each other and see you if can fold that back into the design of the space somehow
Offices often have high desk vacancy rates because people don't want to work in them.
People come together when they have a reason to do so, eg need for interaction and technology.
To be creative you need trust and ties to the people you work with - physical spaces help communities flourish.
We're very purposeful when we go on holiday, so why aren't we when we choose our workspace?
1. Think like an urban planner: spaces to socialise, congregate, eat, rest, sleep > think, concentrate, speak
2. Unchain the user- one desk per user is not necessary: sit, stand, lounge, no need to chain an employee to a desk to get productivity
3. Allow people to be themselves to connect and communicate
4. Let the inmates run the asylum - when people are comfortable they think better 5. Bring culture, colour, nature - research shows greater productivity with plants and flowers
6. Observe how people interact and act in your space
Communities start with their originators - they are living, breathing examples of what the commuity should be.
Language and memes from target communities help people feel at home. Founders have to interact with users, lead the way in rules and conventions, stay present as the community grows. Celebrate and elevate your users, make them feel loved and recognised - put the spotlight on them; the love will be returned to you and your community tenfold - identify the power users and spread their stories, they will become the nodes.
Promote good behaviour but deal with bad behaviour, set the right examples. Moderate bad behaviour when you see it. Put the community to work by spreading cultural values.
Early power users will evolve into veterans, they have a natural lifecycle. Inevitably they will migrate.
This is what is being termed "Eternal September" - don't freak out about it, just accept it.
Keep bringing in new blood and keep celebrating new power users.
Should we be building community? Harnessing / organising / affecting communities? When you build communities, you might ignore the communities that already exist, those with shared locations, work, buildings.
Showing up in a foreign country and building community doesn't work - you have to work with the culture, we don't need to build something new. We have to figure out how to talk to them and listen to them. Serve the community: not colonising but collaborating.
Ways to serve users:
- spotlight stories
- creating knowledge showcases: give knowledge back to the ecosystem - being open source so people can download the code, means people contribute to it as well
How do you create virtual communities? People have different mindsets, so combining cultures is difficult - communities based on small concepts, adding digital experience to physical experiences. We have a long way to go to make that work.
Make it really simple for users to consume but also create content.
99% are lurkers, 1% are power users. Community online should centre around a particular topic.
Content is being generated by users. Make it easy for them to upload and approve content. People don't need to think about how to uprate or downrate content on reddit; low friction action points eg likes, approval signals, fistbumps - creates feedback loops.
Design that looks comfortable, may be old fashioned but is welcoming to those who use it.
How do you bring together communities of two sides, eg buyers and sellers? Difficult because you're introducing a different dynamic, eg crowd will say they don't want to be sold to - they start with communities then bolt on a commercial model. You don't want to piss off your community because they're your lifeblood. When community members start to creat their own marketplace, it works better, eg swapping recipes. Experts emerge and it's easy for them to sell because everyone knows they're good. The community then starts the commerce loop, commerce function is built in. Tread lightly.