Last week Labour Conference came to town, you may have noticed!

I love it because I can show off our city. I took senior figures and the media to two of our local schools. I wanted them to see first hand the challenges faced by students, teachers and school leaders at this really challenging moment in time. We’re also doing some remarkable things here in our local schools that I think those running our nationwide system should be learning from.

For example, parents keep telling me that they’re worried about the stresses and strains that their kids face these days and feel sometimes they don’t have the skills to cope. So I took Kate Green, Labour’s shadow education secretary, to Hove Park School because they have a full time councillor and two support staff that offers a verity of support for the student body.

I visited before to spend an afternoon with the team there and learned how they do their work and the impact it has on student’s ability to stay focussed on learning. It was really inspiring. Labour’s student recovery plans contains the pledge to have such support in every school and what I learned from our local schools fed directly into this policy.

I got to show off other parts of our community too. Easily the most fun I had during the week was when I took Keir Starmer and shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves for a walk down George Street. They’d told me they wanted to pop to a local high street and I knew exactly where to take them!

We popped into three retailers in George Street to learn from their experiences during the lockdowns and into the future. And we spoke to loads of residents who were passing by. I was so proud of our community, everyone was so friendly, many calling out to talk to Keir about football or politics, and we had such a laugh talking to residents who were hanging out eating brunch or drinking coffee on tables outside.

It’s quite something when you’re sitting there with friends or family having a nice time when three politicians turn up at your table with a huge pack of photographers and camera operators. But as you can see from the photos, it was a hoot and talking to Keir and Rachel afterwards it was clear they did too!

There’s a serious point to our annual conferences. They’re a time for political parties to get together as a family and sort things out, but also to set out our stall and tell the public what we’re fighting for and what we want to achieve on behalf of our country.

One of the most painful jibes at politicians is ‘you’re all the same’ but right now the difference between Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson couldn’t be more stark.

In the run-up to Labour’s conference some people poked fun at Keir publishing a 10,000 word statement of the principles that would guid his leadership as prime minister. They included pledges to build to support families and build new partnerships between government and the private sector.

In the same week Boris Johnson quoted Kermit the Frog in a speech to the United Nations. Spot the difference?

And compare their speeches. Keir spoke for over an hour outlining detailed policies on how to deliver the improvement in schools that students need, including the reintroduction of art, music, performance and sport act has dwindled so badly under the Tories. He spoke about tackling crime, particularly violence against women and girls. He outlined ways in which the scourge of low pay and in-work pay would be tackled. And in addition to reiterating the financial discipline the country can expect from a future Labour government, including reducing the national debt, he announced the most ambitious climate change policies from any party able to form a government in the UK.

I was in the hall and found his speech inspiring. He took the fight to the Tories and to the few internal critics and he came out looking like the prime minister our country needs.

And the alternative? Well today the prime minister did his speech. It was delivered in the style of someone in a pub at closing time trying to make people laugh. In 45 minutes he only made one policy announcement which was to offer a bonus to teachers willing to move to schools in areas of deprivation. I agree with this, but you know what provided a hollow laugh from me? You guessed it, this was actually government policy until last year when Boris Johnson cut the programme.

So after 11 years in power, after two years as prime minister, at his biggest speech of the year he only announced one policy and it was to reverse a cut he himself made a year early.

You see what I mean…there’s a big difference between Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson and I hope you can see why I’ve been throwing my hearty and soul into supporting Keir and his vision for a better Britain and proudly showing him around our city.

Peter Kyle and Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves visit George Street.
Peter Kyle and Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves visit George Street.
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