Posts Tagged ‘PPW12’

Sunday Review on Thursday: Progress Political Weekend 2012

22/03/2012, 01:22:41 PM

by Jonathan Todd

Peter Mandelson was there but, pace Michael Meacher, the Progress Political Weekend 2012 was not a meeting of the Bilderberg group. For one thing, I imagine, the Bilderberg Group comes to conclusions.

This was not the only difference. There was no secret agenda. It was advertised online. This was less an elite stitch-up and more the imbibing, both of learning and alcohol, by bright young things.

The discussion was perceptive, but the themes covered were not unexpected: fiscal credibility, public service reform, southern discomfort. So much was everyone on pretty much the same page that Douglas Alexander arrived, having followed earlier proceedings on twitter, worried that Liam Byrne had already delivered his speech.

I’m not sure what Meacher would expect but I got what I anticipated, which was some education (Phil Collins’ session on speech writing was particularly illuminating) and some reflection on the hard questions that face Labour.

But I’m not sure how far we got with answers.

At the same conference a year ago Douglas Alexander and Jim Murphy in separate sessions said that Labour needs “a draw on the deficit, a win on growth”. How is that working out?

This year Patrick Diamond warned against Labour being hawkish in principle and dovish in practice on the deficit. Talking tough on the deficit but not providing support for cuts to match this tough talk.

But Meacher can be assured that no plans were hatched to carve up the state in the country house, now owned by the NUT, just a taxi ride away from the grocers in which Margaret Thatcher grew up.

Not one suggestion for a cut was proffered, as far as I recall, though, sadly, I needed to be in London on Sunday, so missed the second day of the conference and perhaps some proposals for cuts.


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