We have had an inspirational two days, packed with policy announcements on housing, the economy, education and social security and skills. Some great speeches by the shadow cabinet and Labour leaders in Scotland and Wales. If you can, I would advise going on line to hear some of these speeches if you have missed them on Labour Live.
There is too much for us to report here in terms of policy and inevitably we would subjectively filter. It is worth remembering that all of the announcements are highly relevant to our town. We have an ever decreasing stock of council housing, so called affordable housing is out of reach for our young families. Labour have pledged to build one million social housing homes, just like we did in the housing crisis after the war. We managed it then and we can do this again with the will to do so by a government who would care about the well being of those who struggle to put a secure home over their family’s head.
In Hemel we are facing the increasing privatisation of education with multi academy trusts taking over our schools. Surely we must be concerned given recent scandals over impropriety, admissions and the support for our children who have special needs. Angela Raynor has committed to stopping this outsourcing of our children’s education. The cuts in funding have been devastating to our schools leading to the unprecedented action by head teachers writing to parents explaining the cuts and the consequences. I hear that head teachers will be marching on parliament to make their point.
And….Brexit! There were over 100 motions on the people’s vote submitted for debate. All of those involved met with Keri Starmer and his team and worked for several hours to arrive at a consensus for the wording of the motion. One delegate pointed out that Theresa May could
have learned something about negotiation if she had been in the room. There were many opposing views but essentially all managed to agree the wording and conference supported the motion overwhelmingly.The result means that nothing is ruled out if Theresa May’s deal is voted down in parliament. If there is no general election Labour could then campaign for a people’s vote with remain being an option.
I have seen some of the media coverage which frankly I do not recognise as the reality from the point of view of someone sitting in the hall and talking with other delegates. In particular the Brexit debate, two out of 40 plus speakers spoke against a second vote, we knew that these would be the only ones on the telly later, and they were!
Tomorrow Jonathon Ashworth speaks on health and later Jeremy Corbyn will give his leaders speech before conference winds up for another year.
I approached conference this year with some trepidation given the difficult few months the party has endured. To my relief and delight there was a sense of excitement, co-operation and bonhomie. Helped by a feeling that a general election may not be far away, minds were focused on policy and what a Labour government needs to do to make the lives of our citizens better, much better. I was caught up with and grateful for this because I know how much the people of Hemel Hempstead need a Labour government.
Sandy Palmer and Vicky Martin
Chair and Secretary
Hemel Hempstead constituency Labour Party