I am at the South East Region Labour Party Conference at Gillingham FC with fellow Thanet councillors Clive Hart and Linda Aldred. I've always enjoyed football visits to Gillingham where there is a very friendly welcome. The suite of leisure facilities is very impressive and must make the club a lot of money. There is space for the Labour Party National Youth Conference to be held here at the same time. I bet delegates from Scotland, the North and Wales found this an interesting journey!
Paul Clark the local MP for Gillingham and Rainham kicks off describing the Labour achievements for regeneartion following the dockyard closure at Chatham.
As a Transport Minister he also mentions the new High Speed One rail connection that John Prescott made sure would serve Kent commuters as well as Eurostar users. I'm looking forward to the new trains and hear their may be a trial service over the summer before the official launch in the autumn.
Paul introduces Ed Miliband the Climate Change Cabinet Minister. He has come from a visit to the university and is a very smooth speaker, with no notes and a gentle passion. He talks about his portfolio linking flooding in his Doncaster North constituency. His hands are talking almost as much as his voice just like the picture. he holds the audience easily. he's one of Labour's best communicators and in forums like this I think few people are better. Ed engages and enthuses in equal measure. He places responsibility on himself and the audience to understand and act on Climate Change. As one of the youngest members of the cabinet his commitment to the future is fully apparent. He will be facing the consequences of global warming in decades to come.
Ed describes how the market will not work to resolve climate change, only responding AFTER there is a problem, not before. There is not enough money to be made now and that is why it needs govenment action now to promote wind farms as we are seeing being developed in Ramsgate Port right now. He's amazed the Tories cling to reducing inheritance tax for millionaires which will only help the top 2-3,000 people in the country each year. For the few not the many.
Ed finishes with a joke that is an indirect apology for Damien McBride which brings the house down, and calls for renewed campaigning on policy to expose the Tory policy vacuum.
He then takes questions from the floor. Labour's candidate for Rochester and Strood Teresa Murray is strongly supported when she opposes the Conservative proposals for an airport in the Thames. Ed agrees that this is an opportunistic proposal by the Conservatives and that all Kent voters should understand that under the Conservatives they will get an airport in the Thames, under Labour they will not.