Tuesday, 4 October 2011

At the Tories

The final gig; the Tory conference in Manchester. I'm down to speak at 6 fringes and a roundtable so its hard work- and all that essential networking.

Yesterday was the last of the 3 ncvo-acevo fringe meetings. Slightly more energised than the other 2 as Charlie Elphike MP was speaking and rather roused the room with criticising CEO pay and us campaigning. He said he fully supported our independence; but surely its our campaigning that ensures that very indepencne. Anyway dame Clare Tickell took him to task. That saved me to doing this- and I had to get to a round table on welfare to work ...

I met the usual round of ministers and the like. Eric Pickles MP greeted me warmly "hello comrade" he said! And I had a brief word with the Prime Minister. (I've become "Steve" ).

The evening was rounded off rather late with dinner with my team and Richard Hawkes CEO of SCOPE. We found ourselves sandwiched between Damien Green, his wife and Nick Robinson of the BBC on the one side and Teresa May on the other. Funnily enough I knew both at Oxford!

Today I started off with a fringe hosted by NAS-UWT and Unison. I talked about public service reform. I even got clapped. It was on to the RSA and SIB fringe. I was chairing an incredible panel; Matthew Taylor and Ben Page, Jesse Norman MP and Andrew Lansley, and Jennifer Dixon of the Nuffield Trust. From there it was the NWVCS annual conference and a panel with Debra Alcok-Tyler, Kevin Curley and the opposition spokesman on the sector Roberta Blackman-Woods. I'm blogging from the panel at the moment....

Here is the panel;

And here a photo of John Low kneeling in front of Dame Clare and Nick Hurd.

And finally a photo of me at the conference.

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