And Now For Something Completely Different

Had the unusual experience ( for me ) of spending the full day in London yesterday. Was on the 7am train down which was running early until just outside Euston when we had the not unusual experience of sitting outside waiting for a free track for ten minutes. Lack of capacity now - just imagine what it will be like twenty years hence and that's why we need HS2. Early appointments were Manchester Airport related before moving on to the Local Government Association.

Star turn at the LGA Council meeting was Louise Casey providing an update on the Troubled Families programme and giving a very impassioned exhortation to local authorities to continue taking the lead in turning round the lives of our most difficult and in public service terms most expensive families. Greater Manchester was one of a number of areas singled out for praise and this work is at the heart of our public service reform agenda. The LGA Council was quickly followed by the LGA Executive which stayed on the public service reform theme as it started with a presentation on integration of Health and Social Care before moving on to community cohesion. This is something that will grow as an issue over the next twelve months in the lead up to next year's European Parliamentary elections when a number of political groupings will be competing to tell the biggest whoppers about how many Bulgarians and Romanians are going to flood the country.

Late afternoon I met with Core Cities Cabinet colleagues for a session with Ed Miliband, Hilary Benn, Jon Cruddas, and Helen Jones discussing the policies required to ensure that our city-regions are able to play their full and essential part in delivering growth and jobs and public service reform. We meet similarly with government ministers particularly Cities Minister Greg Clarke, and indeed one of our suggestions to Ed was that he should appoint a Shadow Cities Minister.

Then some fun. Met up with my daughter who took me to see Spamalot. Don't make a habit of dragging my family into the blog as they didn't stand for election but the point here is that this meant staying overnight. Had to be on the 6.55am train back to Manchester, so stayed in a hotel near Euston ( at my expense - I know somebody will ask ). Don't know how London hotels get away with it. They're nearly always one star worse than their Manchester equivalents but can still charge twice as much. As always, was very happy to be on that train heading back up the West Coast mainline.

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