Thursday, 30 September 2010

Bittersweet Conference

It has been an exhausting few days at Labour Party Conference. And that exhaustion was fuelled by the disappointment of David Miliband losing out by the narrowest of margins to brother Ed.

I admit it: I cried. Not just after the announcement. But at various other points.

Ed will grow as a politician and will grow into his role as leader. But I thought David was the outstanding candidate. Having seen him in action closely over the last 4 months, I thought this man was made to lead this party and this country. He has dispelled the lazy media myth of him being robotic with his interaction with people and his radical Movement for Change project. His speech on the Monday after the announcement, where you knew you were looking at a man who should be Prime Minister, was beyond brilliant.

David has been on a 4-month journey and, as he himself admitted at the Movement for Change National Assembly, has changed. As a politician and a person.

I was devastated for him when he lost.

But today's letter of resignation from the front bench has just blown me away. The dignity and integrity of the man is outrageous. He is a truly remarkable politician.

The way he has handled the situation is worthy of the highest credit.

However, most striking in the letter was his commitment to the radical experiment that he decided to run when this leadership campaign started. After writing about the things he would do next, Miliband said:

"There is also the new politics of community organising that we started with the Movement for Change in the leadership campaign and which has enormous potential that I want to develop for the good of the party."

Keir knows more about the Movement for Change than most so heed these words reader: this is no small commitment from David.

The possibilities for the Labour Party and for our people and communities up and down the country if this project is incorporated into the party are breathtaking. Over 1,000 people were trained in a mere 4 months. What can be done in 4 years?

If you were a follower of David's very active website, you'll know of a character called Ben Maloney. Maloney wrote a number of blogs about his experience of using the training he received through Movement for Change and a particular campaign that he began on the Ladderswood Estate in Enfield Southgate. He concluded with one blog about his "journey" which culminated in making the change that the community there wanted.

If the Movement for Change is rolled out, backed by Ed as it was at Conference this Tuesday and supported and developed by David as he pledged in his resignation letter, we can change our politics.

With it, we could create two, three, many Ladderswood Estates.


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