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Different Venue - Different times?

Myles Bremner - 09 February 2011

Myles Bremner: From the urban grittiness of The Custard Factory for the 2010 Birmingham SA conference, to the civic pride splendour of Manchester Town Hall. A different venue for very different times.

Oh, how we came together last year, all consumed by the wafts of optimistic rhetoric – shadow DEFRA ministers wooing the crowd, Nik Herbert anxious to show he was a man of the conference, cutting through the dinner din. Rumours of a new approach, Big Society, cross-cutting working. And finishing with a clear (naïve?) understanding that surely Health, Education and others would come together in a new administration, champing at the bit to declare theirs would be “the greenest government ever”.

And here we are today, less than 24 hours after Manchester Civic leaders’ announcement of local authority massive cuts puts sharp focus to the dilemma of delivering this Big Society – whatever that may be. Government departments seems more silo’d than ever as they knuckle down to working out how to deliver their own onerous cuts programme.

So, having just heard Caroline Spelman on her video re-state the commitment “this will be the greenest government ever”, I look forward to seeing what might lift my trepidation about our future over the next couple of days.

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