A Party United, as one.
Solomon Cuthbertson, 20 - Young Scottish Fabian from Edinburgh Central - reflects on his second Conference experience.
And, whilst the sunny weather of the previous year had been replaced by cloud and wind, the feelings of doom and division had been replaced by an odd one for a Labour member, hope.
It’s not often I find myself massively moved by public speaking, but sat in the conference hall this year, listening to our shadow cabinet and delegates, I felt a level of optimism for our party that I haven’t felt ever before. After two years of a slow drip feed of new policy, last week was like Christmas come early for my inner policy-geek, each shadow cabinet member came with an applause-ready policy, often radical in nature, which as the week continued on, built further upon the sense of confidence we now have to be unashamedly left-wing in our offerings to the country.
When I look back to last year, I remember arguments between delegates on the floor of conference, the media stoking up divisions within our party and encouraging culture war rhetoric, and it’s almost unbelievable to see how far we’ve come in just a year. In fact, after attending every senior shadow cabinet speech, I can confirm there was only a single heckle all week, when Keir celebrated Arsenal’s spot at the top of the league.
We also had two incredibly moving addresses from the Ukrainian MP Lesia Vasylenko; and a political hero of mine, the National Leader of Democratic Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. To hear our party be thanked for the support we’ve shown the Ukrainian resistance and the Free Belarus movement filled me with a particularly strong sense of pride.
A celebratory come-back was also witnessed last week, with Labour Students officially back on the scene, any attendee who was paying attention would’ve seen members of the committee hurrying around with correx boards and speeches fundraising for the newly reformed organisation, and advertising the Labour Students Disco which wrapped up the final night of conference, a not-easily forgotten experience with DJ sets from both Emily Thornberry and Lisa Nandy.
Now back at home reflecting on conference I’m happy. We know where we stand, a party united and ready to sell ourselves to the nation at the next election with pride.
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All rights reserved, Solomon Cuthbertson - edited by YSF Chair, Mr A. Walker Stewart.