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.

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