I travelled by train to Liverpool on Friday 21 September, to attend and work at this year’s Labour Party Conference taking place at the Arena and Convention Centre in the Royal Albert Docks. Having dropped off my case at the Novotel in Hanover Street, the base for the MU team at the event, I walked down to the Conference venue where I met Neil Davies and Derek of Modular Exhibition Stands, who that morning had expertly installed a brand new stand on behalf of the MU.
With the objective of signing up MU Supporters to our newly-launched initiative, the walls and merchandise would highlight our aims to delegates and Conference visitors using a bold yellow and black design.
Having checked in at the venue that all remained well with the MU set-up, I spent Saturday with my niece Katherine, who currently lives in Manchester, and we toured the city in an open-top bus taking in major landmarks and Beatles related sites during a two-hour round trip. Our thanks to our entertaining host and guide Tom Calderbank, who proved both a fount of local knowledge and never-ending Merseyside humour.
The Conference begun in earnest on the Sunday morning and Isabelle, Maddy and I were soon busy on the stand with enquiries and official visits. Notable amongst these, were comedian Eddie Izzard, actor Paul McGann, who showed their support for our campaigns on music education and the free movement of musicians. They were joined a welcome number of parliamentarians in being photographed with our large and mini-placards over the four days: Jo Stevens MP, Luciana Berger MP, Stephen Doughty MP, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti, Kevin Brennan MP, Alison McGovern MP, Nic Dakin MP, Kate Green MP, Alex Mayer MEP, Theresa Griffin MEP, Rory Palmer MEP, Rupa Huq MP, Matt Western MP, Lucy Powell MP, Baroness Angel Smith, Thelma Walker MP and Danielle Rowley MP.
Attending as official delegates from the Union were Executive Committee Chair Dave Lee, Andi Hopgood and Dave Pigott. (The Union has been affiliated to the Labour Party since 1943). While present from MU HQ were General Secretary Horace Trubridge, Assistant General Secretary Naomi Pohl, Head of Communications & Government Relations Isabelle Gutierrez, plus myself and Campaigns and Social Media Official, Maddy Radcliff.