Tuesday 23 September 2014

Labour, Ed and the Red Book

As usual, Labour Conference this year has been fascinating and tiring in equal measure. Unlike recent years though we're doing a bumper programme of ACEVO fringe events - the largest in many years.

We started well on Sunday night by launching The Red Book of the Voluntary Sector with our friends at CAF. Do read the book - it's available here. And I do have to note my preference for 'third sector' over 'voluntary sector'.

It was a brilliant event. We had 11 speakers in an hour and many Parliamentarians dropping in and out during their first night of conference schedules.

As Ed Miliband says in his introduction to the book (and referring to his time as the first third sector minister): ‘This collection of essays shows the depth and vibrancy of thinking across the Labour movement on this important issue and makes a vital contribution to the debate in the run-up to the next election.’

Speeches ranged from Dianne Hayter's outline of Labour's historic relationship with civil society to Will Straw counting the costs of austerity in his prospective parliamentary seat of Rossendale and Darwen.

Overall, the event gave me hope that Labour is listening and engaging with our sector. Like the equivalent Blue Book and Yellow Book that we're launching in the next couple of weeks, we'll push hard to convert this willingness to listen that the three big parliamentary parties have shown into a willingness to engage with our sector when the next government is formed after the 2015 election.

I'll blog further about our other conference events but thanks to everyone who came to our events and please do read the Red Book!

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