As many of you know Manchester is the setting for this year’s conference, starting yesterday with the Women’s conference.  By the evening of my arrival, delegate numbers had grown with the arrival of many from the south west, south east and eastern regions, all keen to meet up with old and new colleagues at their respective regional receptions.  

All got to enjoy the energy and the buzz of the Leader’s team preparing us for Ed’s arrival.  After some noisy enthusiastic clapping and cheering he got to speak.  In each reception he was on good form, giving due recognition to each regional team, the elected, the candidates, and of course the many volunteers doing the ground work for 2015 – many of whom had also spent time in Scotland.  

And then he reminded us of the hard business of conference – setting out our plans for delivering the change that Britain needs, not least in how the country is governed.  We all know, for Britain work for the many, we need shared prosperity, better wages especially for the lowest paid and we need a bottom up, engaging approach to the governance arrangements, not a quick slogan about the working of parliament!

Our task, at LCC, is to ensure that this consideration is one that reaches into every part of Britain, not just something for London, or the cities and their so called regions.  After all there are more people living in rural areas (9.3m), as defined by Defra and the ONS, than live in London (8.3m), while over 570,000 people live in ‘sparse settings’ collectively that is greater than the population of all but a handful of our largest cities.  Add to that those who live in our many coastal communities and you have a massive part of the population less well represented in the issue of future governance than London or the core cities of England.  Their voice needs to be heard and acted on;  if not, would you be surprised if they voted UKIP?

Hywel Lloyd, founder of Labour: Coast & Country | Conference 2014

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Labour: Coast & Country.

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