The Conservative Party conference has been in Manchester the past few days and I managed to attend a few fringe meetings on APSEs behalf.
Shadow Treasury Minister Greg Hands and leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Stephen Greenhalgh spoke at the first event on regeneration. Stephen linked successful regeneration to the return of business rates to local government and improving local housing and infrastructure.
Claire Fox succeeded in fulfilling the brief to do her usual thing and ‘stir it up’ when she spoke at our annual conference in Cardiff. She also took the opportunity to make her usual rallying cry for less state nannying.
The underlying tenet that what once constituted the public sphere is being eroded while the state delves further into the private lives of citizens warrants consideration. But is perhaps lost amid her evocation of some sort of municipal Dystopia; complete with spying helicopters and a moratorium on anything remotely resembling fun (Stop monitoring the public, The MJ, 1st October 2009).
Spent a few days at the Labour Party conference in Brighton and found the fringe a useful opportunity to get close to and interact with key Ministers.
Local Government Minister John Denham gave a barnstorming speech at the Compass fringe where he rounded on critics and showed a passionate and fiery side to him that I hadn't witnessed before. I got a quick word with him the following evening where he modedestly laughed off his performance.