Spent a couple of days earlier in the week in Brighton, but not at the Labour Party Conference. The principle purpose in being there was to promote and to lobby for Manchester. Took part in six fringe meetings, two on high speed rail, one on transport more generally, one on the importance of cities, one on ‘is public service reform dead in a tight financial climate’, and the most exciting of all ‘Generating investment for a sustainable economy’.
Behind the scenes it is a very convenient way of having a lot of short meetings with Ministers and their advisers and that was an opportunity I used to the full to talk about key issues for the city in the period before the general election. As for the conference itself, I would have probably seen more of it if I had stayed at home and watched TV, although I did make sure I saw (on TV in Brighton) major highlights like Gordon Brown's speech.
After a clear the paperwork and e-mails day in the office yesterday, I was delighted in the evening to be able to launch the Manchester Food and Drink Festival now going into its 12th gluttonous year.
Today it's back to the meeting treadmill, communications strategy and cross-town bus strategy being just a couple of this morning's highspots. This afternoon I'm off to Wigan for the Regional Leaders' Board where transport, the partial review of the regional spatial strategy, high speed rail (again), and the new regional strategy are likely to be the hot issues. An advice surgery in Blackley Village tomorrow morning, and then I can, if not look forward to, anticipate another major conference only this time in Manchester.