Saturday 20 September 2008

Can we give the white working-class what they want?

Good morning, Manchester. As the Labour conference creaks into life, the news of the JK Rowling £1 million donation has cheered delegates up while the financial crisis has led to a truce (or ceasefire) from the rebel army in the leadership battle.

Gordon Brown previews the fairness theme of the week - "fair rules, fair chances and a fair say" - in the Guardian. And there are acres of newsprint interviews with an especially loyal David Miliband (both 'the politician' and 'the man' in The Mirror, and a Times magazine cover too. Ed Miliband is showing commendable loyalty to both his leader and his brother - "my best friend in politics and my best friend out of politics" - an Independent interview.

A small army of Fabians has already descended on Manchester Town Hall to open the fringe proceedings, where the real debates of the week are likely to be joined.

The opening debate Can we give the white working-class what they want? (12.45pm, Manchester Town Hall) will see The Mirror's Kevin Maguire try to keep order as John Denham, Hazel Blears,Brendan Barber, Jon Cruddas, John Trickett and Sunny Hundal debate how to bind the core vote into Labour's electoral coalition.

Differing perspectives have been set out by Jon Trickett in the Fabian Review (pdf file), worrying that New Labour's language of aspiration does not connect with the reality of what DE voters want, while Hazel Blears, writing online, believes that aspiration must be the message which binds Labour's coalition together.

It's an open public fringe (outside the secure zone) and we will be reporting back when it happens.

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