After last week’s visit to Glasgow for Lib Dem conference, we’ve now headed almost as far south as possible to Brighton for Labour Party conference 2013. The Labour Party, born out of the trade union movement and with strong historic and current links to the cooperative movement, is a party with a natural affinity to the concept of people power. We’ll be showing Labour party members how people can use their skills and commitment to power good causes, and we’re sure that there’ll be lessons for them to learn about how they can reconnect with the public ahead of the next election.
One of the traditional seaside conference venues, Brighton has seen a decline in usage over recent years and it’s fair to say that the city has been a bit of a mixed bag for Labour. In the 2000, at the height of his power, Tony Blair shared the spotlight with Nelson Mandela. At the other end of the spectrum, who can forget Neil Kinnock’s foray onto Brighton beach? Labour returns to Brighton for the first time since returning to opposition, and will be looking to use the opportunity to demonstrate that the Shadow Cabinet is a Government in waiting.
Since George Osborne’s 2012 Budget, Labour has maintained a healthy lead in the opinion polls which – if maintained – would see Ed Miliband sent to Downing Street as Prime Minister in 2015. However it hasn’t been the plainest of sailing for Miliband in the past few months, with allegations that some trade union leaders wield excessive influence over the party. Miliband acted quickly to transform the relationship between the party and the unions, but that relationship will certainly remain a topic of interest as party members and trade unionists gather on the south coast.
The theme of Miliband’s conference speech last year was ‘one nation’ and whilst Labour continues to pile up votes in the North, there is still significant concern about how the party will perform in the South. Miliband’s ‘one nation’ theme has now become a party mantra, and a party conference south of Labour’s heartlands gives him the opportunity to push his message to the key marginal voters whose support he needs to form a majority.
And with the Labour Party determined to return to power in 2015, what better place to come and learn about people power than CAF’s stand? We’ll be asking activists and parliamentarians to show us how much people power they can generate, and sharing with them our research which examines the characteristics of people who make significant contributions to good causes. Our focus is encouraging more people to use their power to support charities, and we’ll be explaining to attendees how they can use their enthusiasm and generosity to Back Britain’s Charities.
We’ll also be inviting attendees to come and listen to our fringe event and we’re delighted that a couple of rising stars in the Labour Party – MPs Steve Reed and Julie Hilling – will be joining us, as well as Shadow Minister for Society Gareth Thomas MP. We’ll also hear from David Babbs, Executive Director of 38 Degrees, who will be explaining how people power can be harnessed to generate change. Our fringe event is outside of the secure area, so if you’re in Brighton come along and hear what our panellists have to say about people power and charities!
CAF’s Labour Fringe:
Monday 23rd September
Tudor Room, The Old Ship Hotel, Brighton
Speakers: Julie Hilling MP, Steve Reed OBE MP, Gareth Thomas MP, David Babbs (38 Degrees), Dr John Low CBE (Charities Aid Foundation)
Chair: Toby Helm, Political Editor of The Observer