The Party Conference season has come and gone and for many of you it will have provided an opportunity to assess the state of the parties in these last few months before the General Election.
Without wanting to be too political all I would say is that my own Conservative Party showed themselves well aware of the magnitude of the financial mountain to be climbed and set out a clear path towards restoring our financial health.
It was a message that, to some extent, we don’t wish to hear but I am a firm believer that the public must be made aware of how serious a position we are in. The current deficit is projected to be between £175 and £200 billion next year. This is totally unsustainable.
Unless you have hours of spare time and the inclination to watch the BBC Parliament channel all you will see of the Conference will be glimpses of the main speaker winding up each session. But to get a real feel for the mood of the Party and the debates that quite rightly go on within any party you need to be there in the bars, restaurants and most of all in the fringe meetings.
The Fringe provides an opportunity for pressure groups, think tanks and the media to arrange debates and ‘Question Time’ style events. Some feature the front bench spokesmen, others outside speakers and backbenchers pushing their particular concerns. All in all it’s a rich mix.
The Cornerstone Group of MPs, of which I am the co-chairman, held a meeting that was addressed by the Bishop of Liverpool, the Rt. Rev’d. James Jones.
It’s always refreshing to hear an address that links politics and morality. Without a moral foundation our politics is much the poorer.
The Fringe includes meetings that are aimed at highlighting some of the many problems governments must grapple with. There are disability groups, animal welfare organisations, trade associations and so many more.
But now parliament has returned and it’s back to the serious business of holding the Government to account.