I enjoyed yesterday’s Progressive London event hugely.
Apparently. over 700 people registered for the conference which was billed under the title, “A Progressive Agenda to Stop the Right in 2010” and hosted by Ken Livingstone. The event was supported and sponsored by SERTUC, Unite the Union, GMB, CWU, ASLEF, GMB, and BECTU. The turn-out is almost double what the conference organisers expected.
Speaking of the conference’s success Ken Livingstone said:
“Progressive political forces in London have shown through the tremendous turn-out at this conference and the serious level of discussion and debate that they are determined to move forward as well as resist the possibility of a Tory government.
“We need to harness the enthusiasm and unity seen today at the conference and take this forward to do what we can to prevent the Tories coming to government with Thatcherism Mark II. Today’s tight opinion polls show that this is possible.
“The Progressive London conference aims to tap into the progressive majority in London. We need to build on this and continue to have an open engagement and dialogue in the run-up to the general election. Tory policy is for the minority. Their policies favour the privileged better off and punish those on average incomes and the least well off.”
The session I was speaking at was on “new media and winning the argument”, alongside Clifford Singer, Alex Smith and Helen Gardner and Sunny Hundal, whose report of the event is here. The chair was Kevin Mcguire of the daily Mirror. It was good to meet people in the flesh. I didn’t get a chance to chat with Clifford or Helen, both of whom spoke well; but Sunny discussed with me afterwards how the left bloggers need to be more mutually supportive; and I was very impressed with Alex. Laurie Penny spoke from the floor, raising the complex issues of how women bloggers get overlooked and patronised.
The purpose of the conference, as Ken Livingstone explains is to
“develop and implement a progressive alternative to the Tories. Progressive policies, to be effective, must support both those on middle incomes and the less advantaged. These together constitute a large majority of the electorate. That’s quite different from concentrating on attempting to win over the best-off.
“The key terrain on which the election must be fought is the need to protect those on middle incomes and the least advantaged against the Tories who would transfer resources from the average elector to the well-off.”