My first party conference

As I write this blog it has been a week, almost to the hour since I stood on the platform at the Labour Party conference. I was so nervous and said to myself as long as you don’t fall over or be sick you will be fine! I had decided to talk about ASBOs, something that I am very passionate about. You can view a video of my speech by clicking here.

This was my first conference I was a little bit apprehensive as what to expect. When I arrived on Sunday I checked into my hotel at Salford Quays (sadly it overlooked Old Trafford, but we can’t have everything!) and got the tram into the centre. My first task was to vote on the contempory issues ballot – this sounded very confusing. However, I quickly picked up what it meant and placed my X next to the ones that I agreed with.

Monday morning 9am start. You could feel the buzz outside whilst walking passed various different cameras trying not to be caught by their lens! Outside the main doors I saw John Prescott. I saw Prezza earlier this year at a rally in Manchester – I think he is such a great speaker! Then I had my photo taken with Harriet Harman who is the current Deputy Leader of the Party. We then went to a fringe event at the Radisson that BBC Radio 5 live was holding. This included Alistair Darling, Diane Abbott, a trade union representative and some Tory journalist called Fraser from The Spectator. It was fun and I really wish I had seen Diane Abbott more prior to the leadership voting.

On the Tuesday I gave my speech – I didn’t think that there were that many people in hall. After leaving the stage, Chris from Regional office asked me if I would like to sit behind Ed Miliband whilst he gave his first speech as Leader. This was brilliant! Although my hands have not hurt so much from clapping. On my way out that day everyone was being stopped by people with what looked to be mobile phones interviewing them, they stopped me and I didn’t think anything of it. I logged onto the Labour Party website and there I am. That night I went to the CWU fringe event, where a random man came up to me addressing me as “the lady who did the speech on ASBOs”, he said that he thought I was brilliant and would love a picture. I was shocked!! This continued over the next few days.

Wednesday morning I went it to the main hall, another 9am start and received a text saying that I was on the front page of the Independent. I shot out to get a look and there I was! I then got another text to say that I was in the Lancashire Telegraph (thank you Tom!). In the afternoon I got my picture taken with Ed Balls and one of our councillors asked him if I could have a kiss – he kissed me on the cheek! That night I attended the Unite event – brilliant night! I got to dance with Ed Balls, who I must compliment and say he is a very good mover.

To anyone who is thinking about joining the Labour Party, do it! I love that I am part of a team that has values. I have only been a member for less than a year (I don’t think that I am supposed to admit that!) but I feel that I have achieved so much. Join the party and get involved!

To view my pictures please click here.

The end of an era – a golden age

Compare the feeling of the nation today to that in 1997 when Labour first came to power – in 97 there was joy – a national outpouring of happiness that a cruel and damaging Tory regime of 18 years had been ousted – today the feeling is of fear – where will the cuts begin?  I think it is generally accepted that maybe it was time for some kind of a change – and Gordon Brown realised that – but the election results clearly show that the public did not want a Conservative Government – neither did they want the Lib Dems – yet that is what we now have.

My view is that the last Labour Government will only truly be appreciated after a period of Conservative rule – and it will be remembered as a government that did good things for this country – it wasn’t perfect but then no government is.  Under Blair’s leadership and Brown’s chancellorship this country prospered and returned once again to being a great international power.  We invested in both the physical and the social infrastructure of Britain – schools, hospitals, transport, housing – have all seen massive investment – the first public housing programme since the last time we had a Labour Government – more police, more doctors and nurses, more teachers, the minimum wage, tax credits, more equality laws, childcare payments, support for the elderly.  The Labour Government believed in investing in our whole society because we believe that everyone deserves fairness and every person should have an equal chance in life.

And on the economy – we made the right calls – nationalising the banks to prevent economic meltdown and massive job losses.  We’re out of recession now but you can bet your bottom dollar we’d still be in it if the Tories had been in (and with more unemployed).

The Tories have not changed and will never change – they opposed virtually all of Labour’s progressive legislation – they bang on about cutting taxes but you can’t have a healthy, educated forward thinking competitive nation if you don’t invest in it and the more you invest the more people have jobs so the more people are paying tax.

The Labour Party was established to give a voice for the working class who were oppressed by the old establishment of this country – the public school educated upper classes who believed they had a given right to govern – the sad thing is David Cameron and Nick Clegg come from exactly that ‘establishment’ background.

People may over the coming months come to realise the consequences of not supporting Labour – I hope so.  One thing’s clear to me though – neither Cameron nor Clegg have any more mandate to run this country than Labour – they might cobble together a coalition and run the country for a while but the decent thing would be to go back to the country and let the people have their say again within the next 12 months.

What have 3000 people done in the last 24 hours?

I love politics… something I never thought I’d say.  Always thought that politics was something that other people did, the ones with politics degrees and who had nothing else to do with their lives.

I joined the Labour Party in January (shouldn’t really say that should I?! – but still it’s true) and it has made such a dramatic difference to me.  My friends always ask me what is going on and last night when I was in the refectory at uni the lady who was serving me was quizzing me all about a hung parliament and what it meant.

Now, I love politics.  For me, the reason I love politics is because it is about fighting for something that you believe in, standing up for what you think is right and having a voice to disagree with something you don’t.  One of my friends said to me after complaining about a few things that she didn’t vote in the last election, my point to her was that you have a vote use it – join in and fix it instead of sitting at home or in the pub complaining!

So I have decided to tell as many people as possible to join the Labour Party and get involved.  We need you!  There has never been a better time to get involved and show your support!

This election campaign has been brilliant and as most of you will know we had a fantastic result in Blackburn.  I had a man ask me at the count why Blackburn Labour Party are so good?  My reply, it is all about teamwork and more importantly fighting for what we believe is right – fighting for the many not the few!

The next election I want you to be a part of it!  So join https://secure2.labour.org.uk/join/ or if you’re unsure get in touch and I’ll be happy to have a chat with you – katie.haworth@blackburnlabour.org