My week: Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham, at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sunday

I join a rally in the local park with the Unite Union, and march with thousands of people to the conference centre. It feels like it will be a very good conference and different to last year in Manchester when the air was a bit toxic. The real question now is whether the party is retrievable.

Monday

At two o'clock this morning, the guy delivering room service asks me when the election will be. This speculation is getting out of hand! This afternoon is the leader's speech, which is fantastic. Gordon Brown demonstrates real solid foundations for what he plans to do. He compares his policy-making – especially over difficult issues like flooding and terrorism – with the slightly ephemeral approach of the opposition. Tonight, I attend The Independent's fringe meeting. It's a really lively debate.

Tuesday

I attend another few fringe meetings, including one on migrant labour with the Transport and General Workers' Union and the need to protect those at the bottom of the labour market. A poll is out showing that we're 11 points ahead, which makes people wonder even more about when the next election might be.

Wednesday

At 6am – as I leave for the golf course – I see people still going to bed. I later attend the launch of the "Still Human" campaign, which is about destitute failed asylum-seekers of which there are about 250,000 in the country. We need to do something to help these people who often live in a twilight world, abused by criminal gangs, landlords and employers.

Thursday

Back at home, I watch Harriet Harman's speech, which I think is very solid. She has really established herself as deputy leader of the party and has managed to use this final slot, previously used by John Prescott, in a positive way. I'm also organising my general election campaign on the assumption that it might happen soon.

Friday

I deliver 500 leaflets this afternoon and focus on preparing for the campaign. I assume every other MP across the country is doing the same. Whether the election is in one month or six months, at least we will be ready. I can't see why we can't wait myself. I've had the most enjoyable conference, the mood its best since 1996. It demonstrates how quickly a political party can move and adapt.

Comments