The new academic year is about to begin for the Open University Law courses. I'll be teaching W200 and W201 courses in Birmingham and Reading. If you have just become one of my students - welcome to the Washminster Blog. One of the objectives of this blog is to explain how the subjects in the law courses relate to what happens in the real world. As someone who works in Parliament (and has worked there for a number of years & has other experience of the academic subjects we will be studying), I can apply theory to practice - and that's what this blog seeks to do.
Of course if you are not one of my OU Students - you are welcome too. I do put in a lot of material related to law, but that is far from the exclusive interest of this blog - as a look back over the last eight years of entries shows.
I like to brighten up posts with pictures, and occasional videos. That may not be possible for the next few days - because of limited access to computing facilities - but there should be some posts reflecting matters in the news.
As yesterday's post highlighted - Conference season is upon us. If one is going, what planning is involved? These are my thoughts - after many Labour Party conferences, the first being back in 2000.
Planning ahead is essential. This week there will be people booking their accommodation for the 2016 Conference in Liverpool. Accommodation can be hard to find - particularly as conference gets closer. The numbers involved in a major party conference are immense - delegates, party members, party officials, exhibitors - and most need overnight accommodation during the conference.
Applications for the various tickets are usually required during the late spring and summer. Constituency Labour Parties & affiliated organisations choose delegates to send during this period. "Balcony Passes" are available to party members who wish to attend.
Train tickets also need to be bought in advance.
At the beginning of September, the Conference Magazine is sent out. I immediately get out my conference planning grid - which has evolved since I first attended a conference - in Brighton - back in 2000. Using the conference Magazine I choose which events I hope to attend. The problem is that there is always so much on - so my excel file allows me to put order of preference for each event at the same time. Circumstances change - a really interesting event requiring a long walk in horrendous weather may be sacrificed if I'm running rate (or don't fancy the awful rain and wind outside).
Below are photos of my grid for last year's conference in Manchester.
I'll be printing out my final version for this year's Brighton conference - and armed with any required tickets, will be ready to set off at the weekend. But first, the packing...
We are already into the swing of "Conference Season". As long term readers of this blog will know, I have frequently written about conferences - and attended Labour Party Conferences, many times since this blog began. This Blog has a couple of search facilities - if you want to go back and see what has been written in the past.
There is a dedicated search engine - "SEARCH THIS BLOG" to the right of the page, just above my picture. Alternatively you can search by Month and Year, under "BLOG ARCHIVE" (also on the right of the page).
I am a tutor for the Open University and have practical experience of working in the UK and European Parliaments.
Until May 2010 I worked at Westminster as Political Secretary to Lord Bach and to Lord Hunt of King's Heath. Previously I had worked as Research and Policy Director in the Office of Sir Peter Soulsby MP. In 2001 and 2005 I stood for Parliament in the South Leicestershire Constituency of Blaby. In 2009 I was a candidate for the European Parliament in the East Midlands Region.
I have a keen academic and practical interest in the workings of both the UK Parliament and the US Congress. I have made a number of study visits to Washington DC - and monitor proceedings, procedure and practice in the four chambers [House of Commons, House of Lords, House of Representative and the Senate]
Over the years I have broadcast on both UK & US Politics for BBC local radio including Radio Northampton; BBC Three Counties and BBC Radio Oxford.