Sunbathing in Harrogate

I feel really upbeat about the state of the party following the leadership campaign. Of course, I’m a little disappointed that Chris Huhne didn’t win – but it was always going to be a mountain to climb. But he damned nearly climbed it, and in doing so he provided our party with precisely what it needed. I said right at the beginning that if Ming Campbell was going to lead our party, he had to win a convincing contest – and that he has done. So I now pledge my support to Ming Campbell as he leads our party into it’s next era.

Conference has been interesting. Sadly the snow and the M1 conspired to make me miss Ming’s opening speech last night. But this morning saw him take an immediate risk by identifying himself with the latest version of the Post Office proposals. This is a controversial issue within our party and one that I am still not comfortable about. But we do have to do something to halt the slide – and since the policy has now passed – I hope they have got it right.

This afternoon saw conference unanimous in their condemnation of the current Labour proposals for education reform. The Tomlinson report received widespread approval among the experts – the teaching profession. And yet, the government see fit to kick Tomlinson into the long grass and instead tinker with our present unfair system. Allowing schools to select pupils will never redress the inequities that currently exist in our education system. If we, the taxpayers, are funding a school – than that school should be able to provide appropriate, good quality education to all children. It is simply unacceptable that they should be able to pick and choose pupils in order to boost their ratings in league tables.

A good quality school is a right for all of our children.