Friday, October 09, 2009
My Small Footnote In Manchester
No WiFi meant no blogging at our party conference in Manchester, although I tried to battle network congestion to keep people updated with what was happening on Twitter. Most of my time was spent at fringe meetings pertaining to local government and meeting as many council leaders as I could to grab some great examples of how Conservative local authorities are tackling the issues that we face here in Sutton.
However, I did manage to make a contribution on the main stage, asking Shadow Leader of the House, Sir George Young what measures he would put in place to increase direct democracy and what he thought about a mechanism to recall bad MPs. He cited the example of the open primary in Totnes where any voter in that constituency could help choose the Conservative candidate. He also covered several proposals for local government which I will cover in more detail in another post, but included changing planning to make it bottom-up rather than top-down, referenda on council tax and elected police commissioners. He was keen to explore a recall mechanism to add an extra safeguard in between the more extreme automatic disqualification in the rare cases of having a criminal conviction or being made bankrupt.
Interestingly, the media kept true to form in my title as shown in the picture below. The BBC had already called David Cameron Prime Minister, Liam Fox Defence Secretary and ITV had promoted George Osborne to Chancellor. No-one in the Party is in any doubt that there is a long way to go before the election and we have more to do to demonstrate that we will be best placed to address the vital issues that we face. This is also the case locally. So when I fleetingly became the Leader of Sutton Council I allowed myself a little smile before getting back to the real world and the hard work that is required to make it more permanent.