About the Speakers at my Fringe Meeting – Alex Smith

Labour Party

Today’s featured speaker at my fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference is Alex Smith, Editor of top Labour blog LabourList. I am very pleased indeed that Alex agreed to speak at my meeting.  As the editor of a blog which takes a wide range of contributions he will have a different perspective from those of us who produce solo efforts.

Alex has written on politics and web campaigning in both Britain and the United States for Progress, Compass, the Fabians and Total Politics magazine Progressive London, the Government Gazette and House Magazine. He has, in addition, spoken at events for organisations including Progressive London, Compass, Progress, Republic, the Fabians and the BBC College of Journalism.

Alex also has international experience, having spent 2007-2008 in the United States, working in New York and volunteering on the Obama campaign in Brooklyn. He later devised and directed the independent, grassroots organisation Drive for Obama.

At home in London Alex is a co-founder of the Latimer Project and a governor at Holloway School.

Alex is currently on sabbatical from LabourList, and is working as Director of Online Communications and Campaigns for Ed Miliband’s campaign for the Labour leadership.

My fringe meeting is on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm at Manchester Central, Charter 1 in the secure zone.  The other speakers are Tom Harris MP, Jessica Asato and Councillor John Gray from the London Borough of Newham.

About the Speakers at my Fringe Meeting – Tom Harris MP

Labour Party

During the next few days I thought I would give a brief pen-portrait of each of the speakers at my fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference, How Social Media can drive a Wedge into the Coalition.  First off is Tom Harris MP.

With his lively mix of political commentary and personal anecdote, it’s not surprising that Tom Harris, MP for Glasgow South, has established himself as a firm favourite in the ever-expanding blogosphere.  His blog, “And another thing…”, has, in recent years, accumulated a whole host of awards, along with more that 50,000 viewings a month.

This popularity is, in part, a reflection of Tom’s writing style; a former journalist, he writes eloquently, enlivening even the duller policy issues. Perhaps more significant, however, is his willingness  to challenge received wisdom and offer a distinctive personal perspective, informed by his Scottish roots and long history of Labour Party involvement. Tom’s nine years in Parliament give him that all-important insider’s insight whilst, having grown up on a Ayrshire council estate and experienced unemployment and deprivation first hand, he is able to offer an outlook that is sometimes missing from mainstream media.

So, if you haven’t already had a look at Tom’s entertaining offerings, read his blog now at: http://www.tomharris.org.uk/

My fringe meeting is on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Central, Charter 1.  The other speakers are Alex Smith, editor of LabourList, Jessica Asato who is running David Miliband’s social media campaign and UNISON activist, Councillor John Gray from the London Borough of Newham.

Labour Bloggers fight the Coalition

Labour Party

The highlight of this year’s Labour Party Conference to be held from Saturday 25 to Thursday 30 September in Manchester, will obviously be the announcement of the election of the new Party Leader.

 However, life still goes on, and I have decided to organise a fringe meeting at the Conference on political blogging – bloggers for Labour no less.

 The meeting  How Social Media can drive a Wedge into the Coalition will be held on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Charter 1 in the secure zone.

 I will chair the meeting and am very pleased to have as speakers:

 Tom Harris MP for Glasgow South, Labour’s top MP blogger

Alex Smith, Editor of Labour List

Jessica Asato who is running David Miliband’s social media campaign

Councillor John Gray, blogger and UNISON activist

 With such a distinguished line up of speakers, I would now very much like to have a large, interested and appreciative audience.

See you in Manchester

St George’s Ward, Islington North

Labour Party

St George’s Ward in Islington North have selected a three high-powered candidates for the London Borough elections in May, Jessica Asato, Acting Director of Progress, Alex Smith who runs Labour List and Gary Heather of the CWU.  They don’t come much more impressive than that.

Yesterday afternoon I was pleased to take up the invite to the lunch the Branch was holding following their Sunday canvassing session.  I was, unfortunately, late due to my appearance on the Politics Show, and I apologise for not making it until near the end. 


It was, however, very good to be there and catch up with Labour Group Leader Catherine West, who I have met on several occasions at Islington functions.  Catherine is active on women’s issues and also a strong supporter of Chinese for Labour. 

Very best of luck to all three St George’s Ward candidates in May – a formidable team who I am sure will be very successful.   


Labour Party

So Derek Draper has now resigned as Editor of LabourList passing the mantle of Labour blogging to his deputy Alex Smith.

Derek Draper

Derek Draper

In his resignation statement Draper admits that his position following the Damian McBride affair was untenable, and that he felt he could no longer continue in his position on LabourList.

LabourList was, and still is, a real opportunity for Labour and left-wing bloggers to challenge the seeming hegemony of the right in the blogosphere. We need more people out there blogging for the progressive cause and not let political blogging be dominated by the likes of Iain Dale, Conservative Home and the appalling Guido Fawkes.

Labour also needs to widen the scope of its blogging. The leaders in the political arena – Iain Dale,Guido Fawkes and our very own Tom Harris – are very Westminster focused. Richard Corbett, my MEP colleague from York and Humber, and I blog on Europe and I try to bring a feminist dimension to my posts. The excellent Luke Akehurst (I wish him all the best for a full recovery from his illness) tells us about local government. These are all good, but only Tom Harris competes with the Tories on viewing numbers.

We now need to move left leaning blogging forward to take in more subjects and reflect more opinions. LabourList can do this. Good luck to Alex Smith.