Monday Second Day
I woke to the news that Eric Hobsbawm had passed away. He had been ill for a
while. I sent a note through to Julia Hobsbawm, his daughter. I read Eric's book
Industry and Empire in 1968 just before my Economic History A level and I am
sure it was the reason that I managed a B!! I have always had a soft spot for
I was at Conference by 10 and had breakfast which was half the price of the one
on offer in my Premier Inn. Walking in I met Martha Kearney of World at One and
she interviewed me about the Economy and whether Ed M was a shoe-in for 2015. I
said you can never read the tea leaves just look at the Ryder Cup result.
Once inside I caught up with my former colleagues from Sittingbourne and Sheppey
- Roger Truelove, Shelley Cheesman and Tony Winkless - and we agreed to have a
late supper. I had conversations with Steve Bell, the Political Cartoonist (I
have four in my collection); with Tony Wright the ex MP for Great Yarmouth who
berated the All Women's list for his old seat; with Nicky Gavron who was my
co-councillor in Archway back in 1994 and was Ken 's Deputy at the GLA and
introduced her to Daisy, my daughter.
I went into a packed hall to hear Ed Balls' speech which was well received. I
thought him more nervous than usual and though the content was stimulating I
thought it was poorly written. Coming out of the Conference, I bumped into Wd
Miliband and we had a brief conversation. I had lunch with Matthew Engel who
freelancers for the FT. We are very old friends going back to the early 1980s.
Matthew is one of life's very funny writers despite having had a sports
journalism background! He edited the Wisden Cricket Almanack for twenty years or
In the afternoon, I spent some time looking for Jon Cruddas and finally caught
up with him in the Midland Hotel and we had half an hour on policy and politics.
I have written some papers for him. To be frank Conference is now just waiting
for Ed M's speech tomorrow and then most of the media will pack up and go home.
In the evening, I attended the Labour 1000 Club's drinks reception with Ed M and
Ed B. I met up with friends from BT, ITV and CBI. En route to it I passed Tom
Bradby, ITV's main political honcho, who was doing a live broadcast on Ed B's
speech. I waited for him to finish before chatting to him about his film which
we saw last month. We usually have lunch once or twice a year.
I left the reception early having had five minutes talking with Ed Balls and
joined up with my former constituents and headed for a Chinese restaurant. On
arriving at our destination it had mysteriously morphed into an Indian one. Hey
I was again in bed before midnight.