London Dods meeting, IPPR latest and a Texas long-horn steer.

On Friday I attended a meeting in London at IMechE at No.1 Birdcage Walk in sight of The Houses of Parliament. This was set up by Dods – the leading political information, public affairs and policy communication specialist in the UK and EU.
The meeting was for PPCs from all over the UK. About 130 people attended and almost all of them were independent of main stream parties.
The day was divided into presentations, discussions and networking opportunities. Sir Robert Worcester of Ipsos/Mori held the ring in most of the meetings and was a fund of information and stories from his long association with British politics. He was able to recall statistics from almost any period on any subject, including the figures for class division in the population extending back over one thousand years – by inference from documents of the time, of course.
Michael Portillo, Hugh Morgan Williams, Chris Mullin and Jonathan Aitken were amongst the speakers. Every one of them was well worth listening to.
Presentations were made on the deficit crisis and the environment. Hugh Morgan Williams from The Northern Way was very positive indeed about the prospects for the economy in the North East – if the right policies are followed.
Meeting so many other Independents was very encouraging.
The IPPR has just produced an excellent new report: Opportunities in an Age of Austerity:
Smart ways of dealing with the UK’s fiscal deficit.

Now that politicians are facing up to the reality of the fiscal situation, it is a good time to examine opportunities for progressive reform in the tough financial environment – the ‘age of austerity’ – that is likely to dominate in the public sector for much of the next decade.

This report does just that: ippr commissioned experts from different fields each to look at one aspect of the problem or one area of public spending. Each contributor was asked to look at one aspect of the problem or one area of public spending and to identify opportunities for contributions to reducing the deficit that would not damage progressive aims. The idea was to see if common themes would emerge that could help frame the deficit reduction process, rather than to come up with a ‘top ten’ list of spending cuts, or to comprehensively examine every aspect of public spending in the search for savings.
The report makes very interesting reading and has a definite North East perspective.
One of the nice titbits from the Dods meeting was a story from Michael Portillo; describing an opponent’s manifesto as being like a Texas long-horn steer – a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.

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