Talking Politics -

September 27, 2006 12:00 AM
Councillor Dale Mulgrew - Talking Politics!

Councillor Dale Mulgrew - Talking Politics!

Talking Politics - Local Newspaper - The Rochdale Observer are now doing a weekly column featuring the movers and shakers in politics in our Borough. Balderstone and Kirkholt Councillor Dale Mulgrew did our first one....

"Times are a changing. Steve McLaren is the new England coach, Noel Edmonds asks us daily if we wish to 'Deal or no deal?' and the Liberal Democrats are leading the Borough with every member of the Council's powerful Cabinet for the first time in the history of the Borough - the future on all three fronts appears to be getting better!

This reference to the Lib Dems is made because for anyone unaware I was one of the newly elected Lib Dem councillors that joined the council last May and it gives me great pleasure to begin this new series of columns in the Observer called 'Talking Politics.'

Last week I decided to attend my party's conference which took place in Brighton. This was my first experience of a political conference as an elected representative and I found it a highly stimulating and valuable experience. The great thing about our Conference is that the party makes and votes on our policy. Sir Menzies was slightly nervous during the week but came out stronger for it.

Let me report that regardless of which party, the footage and images that you receive in the media covering the annual season of political conferences is only half the picture!

During my short time at the Conference, I visited stands from as varied as the Electoral Commission to the BBC; and attended fringe meetings on 'social enterprise' organised by Barclays in conjunction with the Groundwork Trust, and on Local Government sponsored by amongst others the company KPMG.

You may be interested that at the first fringe meeting I participated in, I was in complete awe for fifteen minutes of one of the speakers who was none other than Baroness Shirley Williams - she has not lost it and is an inspiration. The one proud thing about representing Rochdale is that delegates invariably see where you're from and their first question is: "How's Cyril?" - From Grassroots Activists to senior figures like Party President - Simon Hughes MP, the affection is there for all to see. Our own MP, Paul Rowen, organised a fringe meeting on the importance of tram schemes to our cities and in a change from normal 'breakfast' meetings - bacon, egg and sausages were OFF the menu. The grease was replaced with cereal, fruit and croissants and plenty of talk about transport in our Town.

Overall, I think the party conference season is important because it is not only a chance for each individual party to get together and discuss current issues and debate policy development - an 'ideas incubator' if you like - but this only adds to the great and vibrant democracy that we have here in the United Kingdom."

Councillor Dale Mulgrew.