Having got, finally, to Harrogate – I’m on as one of the main speaker at the evening rally.
The room was packed with probably about 400 or so delegates. I would love to think it was me they came to listen to – but I expect the attendance had more to do with the imminent speech of the new leader. I was the last speaker for the rally which was called ‘Meeting the Challenge’ and I was proposing a radical agenda on the inequalities that are widening under the Blair regime.
My speech goes down really well (if I say so myself)! But happily – lots of other people say so too! Then there was a couple of minutes from each of the most recent by-election winners – Mark Hunter, Willie Rennie and Sarah Teather. Duncan Brack, who is Chair of Conference Committee introduced one speaker thus:
‘There is an Australian rock musician called Mark Hunter. There is an American navel officer called William Rennie. But there is only one Sarah Teather!’
I thought that was witty!
And then the grand entry of our new leader. And Ming was on good form. He has seemed very happy and confident since his win. He reiterates the crusade against poverty and that he will arm our party with the campaigning tools we need to match the other parties. He is certainly saying all the right things.
I go back to my room and find a message on my phone from the Press Office to say that Question Time have bumped me off the program next Thursday in favour of Nick Clegg – as he is on the Ming team and therefore because of the result they want a Minger!
Then I go to dinner with the World This Weekend team, who have invited me, Paul Marshall and Michael Moore. It was really very pleasant evening. However, the snow and ice was vicious outside and I had to hang onto Brian Hanrahan all the way back for dear life!