The political party conferences are coming up in September. There are where all the MPs and members for each party get together. Depending on the political mood in the party, MPs will be talking about how wonderful it is that the general public seem to like them or wondering what poison to put in their leader’s tea. They have lots of meetings and speeches and debates and pass motions and talk about policy.
The party conferences tend to be in seaside towns, giving MPs the opportunity to stock up on their ‘Kiss-me-quick’ hats. But this year, only the Liberal Democrats are going for a seaside feel by hosting their conference in Bournemouth. Labour are heading to Manchester and the Conservatives are in Birmingham.
As all the MPs for each party are all in one place, it is the best opportunity any campaigns officer gets to lobby lots of people at once. So the party conferences are also full of people like me who go in the aim of persuading key decision makers to support their campaigns. It sometimes rather feels like stalking. Last year, I took this to a new level by going to three meetings where one particular MP was speaking before finally nabbing him as he was leaving the third meeting and asking him to table a motion in Parliament about deaf children and education. I’m pleased to say that my stalking paid off.
And we’ll be doing the same this year. Right now, I’m currently sorting out all the arrangements for this – arranging meetings with MPs, looking up the list of seminars that key MPs will be speaking at, deciding what our key messages will be, sorting out travel/hotel stuff and so on. To complicate things, I also have to sort out the arrangements for my interpreter, who will be accompanying me this year to help with communication support, as well. It makes me long for the gift of time. Or a PA. Or some chocolate biscuits.
To make things a bit different this year, we are taking along a young deaf person with us to one of the party conferences – she is called Laura and you may have been watching this space for her after I blogged about meeting her quite recently in Newbury. The idea is that we give MPs the opportunity to hear from a young deaf person directly about some of the things that matter to them. We’ll see how it goes this time and try and do it all the time in the future. I’m pretty confident that Laura will do a great job and am looking forward to seeing what she thinks of it all.
Look out for more blogging updates on the party conferences and I’ll let you know how it all goes.