Saturday, 17 January 2009

Sunny South Kensington*

Fabians conference this afternoon - well, all day, but popped into Westminster office to pick up some stuff and got sidetracked, so only made the afternoon session. First person I bumped into was Derek Draper, he of Labourlist (recent) fame. Have agreed to do a post pretty soon. And when I had a bit of a moan about the comments, he advised me that there are in fact six ways to look at the comments, seven if you include 'with trash' - and he is quite right, there are, so no-one can really complain.

Had a bit of a chat with people outside the child poverty session - Ed Balls and spads; Kate Green from CPAG; and Chuka Umunna, the Streatham PPC, who was chairing it. We can expect the Child Poverty Bill soon, which will give us an opportunity to review just what our child poverty objectives are. The main target has been to halve and then abolish relative poverty - i.e. children in households on less than 60% of median income - but if the recession bites, then the job could be done without anyone actually being better off (i.e. because high unemployment would bring down the median). I've argued for a while that we need to reframe the debate (and was saying that before the current economic downturn, for other reasons). Looking forward to the discussions we'll have on Bill committee, assuming I can get onto it - memo to self, be nice to the DCSF whip. Or is it DWP?

I was torn between the child poverty session and the international development one, but obviously wanted to see the boss in action, so opted for the latter. Discussion about the link between diaspora communities here, and making the case for development, but didn't really get off the ground - i.e. not many points of dissent. Then went for coffee with Douglas and his new spads, Richard and Stephen, to discuss Monday's meeting with MPs on Gaza, and various other things which I am not allowed to mention. He's doing Fiona Bruce on BBC1 at some point between 9am and 10am tomorrow. Followed by Boris Johnson.

Walked back with Douglas to the tube - everyone around him oblivious to the fact that the guy in jeans and trainers topping up his Oyster card was a Cabinet Minister. Then bumped into Sam, Alistair Darling's spad, on his way back to HM Treasury. (This was 5pm on a Saturday. That's what he does these days). There's a lot of stuff on Labourlist about the Fabians conference, and they were Twittering from there too (@thefabians).

* That's where it was. It's a Donovan song. It wasn't sunny, it was cold.


Anonymous said...

Hasn't there been plenty of twittering at the Fabian Conference for at least 100 years?

Chris Gale said...

"everyone around him oblivious to the fact that the guy in jeans and trainers topping up his Oyster card was a Cabinet Minister."

Hes not a pop star, hes a public servant. Ohh gosh a Cabinet Minister tops up his Oyster card. Hold the front page.

Kerry said...

That's the point I was making Chris. (Sigh). Senior politicians aren't all swanning around on yachts.