No Progress in Skelmersdale
The internal Labour party pressure group, Progress, is running a series of events round the country, Real change for Britain: what should Labour’s priorities for government be? There have been events in London, Warwick and York so far.
On the Progress website was an invitation to request similar regional events. Now, I don’t agree with some of what is in the Purple Papers, especially the assumptions made about post-2015 economic policy, but I’m always keen to hear different points of view, especially in an environment conducive to proper debate, so I was more than happy to co-ordinate from my end and help with publicity, given the potential for a Progress line-up drawing a crowd, both Labour and non-Labour, and a substantive debate. Heh, I could even offer my own excellent chairing skills.
So on 30th October I duly obliged, with an email to the address given:
I note your invitation to request regional events
Could you arrange something for Skelmersdale, West Lancashire? I can arrange room hire etc.
The next day I received a courteous email:
Thanks for getting in touch about Progress coming to Skelmersdale, apologies I didn’t get in touch sooner its been a bit hectic here! Due to our budget I don’t think we would able to send a staff member and full panel up to Skelmersdale, however, I would be happy to help you get a speaker who could talk about the Purple Papers to the CLP. I thought Jamie Reed MP, who is a shadow health minister might be a good choice?Let me know what you think.
Thanks for getting back to me.Firstly, might I ask you to reconsider? Skelmersdale lies in the heart of the North West, with v easy access (though, sadly, not be train) from Wigan, Preston, Warrington as well as Manchester and Liverpool. Clearly, I’m not party to your method for prioritising locations for panel-sending, but it seems odd that an offer like ours should be overlooked, presumably on the basis that we’re not important enough to warrant a ‘full’ visit. This is precisely the kind of hinterland that Progress should be reaching out to, not least because of the marginals around here in Warrington, Ribble, Bolton etc.If you do decide against sending a panel, then to be honest it’s as easy for the CLP to invite Jamie or AN other (e.g our own MP) direct, but what we really want is a fully rounded discussion which gets people from outside the party properly involved (e.g. from nearby Edge Hill University, which has just set up its first ever Labour club).