Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My evening with a Lib Dem, a Tory and a Socialist.......

I am feeling particularly ecumenical today. Yesterday evening started with a meeting with Lynne Featherstone to talk about youth policy. This is a subject very close to my heart and as fellow FPCers will know I was disappointed it was not prioritised. In December I met with Annette Brooke and Stephen Williams to discuss how we could take forward developing a policy on the back of a spokesperson's paper. Since then of course Nick Clegg passed responsibility for youth to Lynne. Anyhow, I was impressed by Lynne's approach - looking to get something out quickly - with a strong campaigning element, and having a long term objective to develop a more detailed youth policy over the coming year. You only have to look at the UK Youth Parliament Manifesto to see how closely our policies chime with the aspirations of young people.

Then I called one of my "Tory Boys" who works in Westminster to see if he was free, he was. Whilst waiting I spotted dear Norman Lamb. I asked him for a favour - I was amused today to get an email from him promising to help if I promised not to cause trouble at conference! Moi??? Always impeccably behaved -n'est pas?!

Peter Hand is a councillor on both the borough and county councils. At other times he moonlights in Nadine Dorries' office (sorry Peter!). So it was interesting to catch up on both borough and county "news", having been a councillor for the former and an employee of the latter. I was amused to hear that he and fellow Tory boy Andrew McConnell were in deep dooda having failed to turn up at the budget meeting. Apparently they, along with 6 other Tory no shows, had a "super bug"............but they were spotted in the champagne bar at St Pancras!

Then it was off to a meeting about the situation in Gaza chaired by one of the few remaining "socialists" in parliament, Jeremy Corbyn. I have a lot of respect for Jeremy, he is a good friend of the beleaguered Palestinian people. But I still cannot fathom why he, and others like John McDonnell, didn't resign the whip over Iraq. I will say more about that meeting later, suffice to say that I questioned the fact that yet again the only parliamentarians on the platform were Labour MPs.

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