Monday, 10 October 2011

The Guardian publishes my letter on the Pragmatic Radicalism fringe - not all fringes are boring and irrelevant

Martin Kettle writes that conference delegates are "increasingly squeezed into passivity on the fringe". Had he attended Pragmatic Radicalism's fringe, he would have witnessed a refreshing alternative. At "Top of the Policies", 20 speakers presented vibrant policy ideas in two minutes, followed by two minutes of quick-fire questioning by the audience and followed by a ballot. Speakers included a former political secretary to Tony Blair, two MPs, one former cabinet minister, PPCs, former MPs, journalists, bloggers and, most importantly, "ordinary activists". The format was a great leveller, respecting not status or achievements past or present but the quality of the idea and the way it was presented.
This fringe showed that Labour is fizzing with the energy and ideas to help map a route to more progressive Britain. Ben Bradshaw even tweeted from the event: "Best fringe attended for years great mix of fun and serious ideas from #lab11 new generation and some old." The challenge for Labour will be to make pitches to voters which are similarly engaging, address their concerns and show vision.

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