As a conference first-timer, I was curious to know what goes on off stage in the conference centre — where the television cameras seldom go.******The lobby area at the Brighton Conference venue is packed with stalls for various campaign groups — everyone from the heavyweights of the Nuclear Industry Association to the Paul Daisley Trust, touchingly run by the widow of a Labour MP who died of colorectal cancer in 2003.******There are plenty of sweets on offer and the canvas bag with slogan is the favourite giveaway.******The Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association even allow visitors to try out on Wii Fit’s ski jump. For the record, your correspondent cleared 100 metres before crashing out on his second attempt — way off the conference record marked on the whiteboard.******The most arresting sight is a lollipop lady made of ice — she is slowly melting away in the conference heat. The Unison Union warns that public services would suffer a similar fate if political parties cut public spending.
The Labour Party conference in Brighton is crucial if the party is to start a revival that could give it a fourth successive term in office. As well as covering Gordon Brown’s big set piece on Tuesday, our team of three reporters will try to gauge party morale and give you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes beside the seaside.
from Global Investing:
Oxford SWF Project, a university think tank on sovereign wealth funds, is looking at reports that the latest entry in the field could be Scotland. The project has a new post about the Scottish government floating the idea of an oil stabilisation fund to use oil and gas revenues. It cites Scottish cabinet secretary for finance John Swinney looking abroad gleefully:
MacroScope is pleased to post the following from guest blogger Julian Chillingworth. Chillingworth is chief investment officer of UK investor Rathbones. He questions here whether Britain will face a second downturn shortly after struggling out of recession.
Begrimed by the scandal over their petty expense claims, MPs have fallen so low in the public’s esteem as to displace even bankers and journalists from their usual ranking as the dregs of society.
In what turned out to be something of an anti-climactic announcement, House of Commons Speaker Michael Martin has said that he will step down on June 21.