Campaigning for deaf children at the Labour party conference: day 2

We may have peaked too soon but today at the Labour party conference was relatively quiet compared to yesterday. We had arranged to meet one MP but he forgot about it and rang us later in the day to apologise profusely. Oh dear, but as he asked to arrange something after the conference, we’re not complaining too much.

And then later in the day, the conference pretty much grinded to a halt for the Prime Minister’s speech. I watched it on a big screen alongside lots of other lobbyists / stalkers of MPs and a TV cameraman who kept shoving a camera in people’s faces to get a ‘reaction’ shot only to find that most people’s reaction was along the lines of “why is there a camera lens peering up my nostril?”

Instead, we took the time to tour the exhibition stands (and get more freebies). The exhibition stands are an opportunity for charities and other organisations to show off their work. It does cost money though – someone mentioned a cost of £13,000 for the space and for their banners – and more if you for a big garish displays to entice in the punters and MPs. The value for us is that it allows us to chat with other organisations working with children to see what scope there is to work together. Action for Children had a particularly interesting stand where MPs had been invited to say what they wanted to happen for children. Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, had written:

Every child has potential and every child can succeed whatever the barriers with the right help and all our support.

A very neat summary of what our Close the Gap campaign is all about – so quite nice to see it written down by a Government minister.

Although we haven’t met as many MPs as with the Liberal Democrats, this is to be expected since we don’t have the draw that Laura provided – after all, who wants to meet a boring old campaigns officer when they could meet a sparky clever 15 year old girl? But it’s still been a useful way of making connections and getting ourselves noticed. We’ll be using thank you letters to futher bind these new connections.

But back to London tomorrow to get ready for the Conservative party conference in Birmingham – where we have more networking to do and, importantly, more freebies to get hold of. So watch this space.


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