Panic on the streets of Manchester… well maybe not panic, actually the atmosphere has been much better than you might have thought. Maybe it was because the sun was shining. It’s gone now, and there is a much more sober feeling to today, though that might have something to do with my slight hangover after drinking too much dodgy Chardonnay at the European Commission reception last night! Still, it did its work, as I met loads of people, including the editors of the Politics Show and Newsnight and John Pienaar. I’ve been stalking Jim Murphy and David Miliband at fringe events – one or the other has been at every one I’ve been to, but as they’ve all been on European issues, that’s perhaps not so surprising. Jim Murphy in particular seems to be “one of the angels” as my father would say, but I do wish that some of the pro-European rhetoric was followed through by some pro-European action. It’s all well and good to say that it’s self-defeating to blame Europe for the bad things and not share the credit for the good ones when credit is due, but some of his ministerial and civil service colleagues don’t always seem to share that view of things.
I’ve bumped into loads of people that I never expected to – like Steve Morris, who was in Brussels years ago and Ed Owen, who used to work for CORDIS, and of course ones that you would expect, including Robert Evans MEP who was patron of the English Comedy Club’s 90th anniversary celebrations 10 years ago. Ironically I saw him the night that they were having the 100th anniversary dinner in Brussels, which I missed because of the conference.
Anyway, I’d best head off – I’ve been asked to find a European flag for an MEP: the things you find yourself doing!