Saturday, October 11, 2008
European Parliament visit
I spent two days this week on a candidates' visit to the European Parliament in Brussels.
It was a chance to talk to colleagues about their developing campaigns, as well as meet key people in the European Socialist Group, as well as our own Labour MEPs.
Stephen Hughes is our hard-working Labour MEP here in the North East, and he's standing once again with Fay Tinnion and myself. After narrowly missing out last time, when Mo O'Toole lost, there's every chance we can recapture that second seat back again from either the LibDems or the Tories. As someone who was on the Party's list, but not a candidate last time (it's a long story), it's clear that we are far better prepared for this campaign than 5 years ago. Together with Stephen and Fay I've tweaked the national campaign to maximise resources here in the North East, and had a very good reception from a number of party members who are raring to go.
We have a positive message across a range of key issues, from the economy to climate change, energy security and combatting terrorism. It's in marked contrast to the disarray amongst the Tories, and the embarrassing spectacle that is UKIP in the European Parliament.
Whilst we spent most of the two days holed up in meetings, we also saw the Parlaiment in action, albeit first thing in the morning when there were few there. It started to fill up later on as the first vote was taken...