Monday, 29 October 2007

A belated blog...

Good Lord, it has been a long time since I've posted on here - well overdue for an update into the crazy world of the Catholic Parliamentary Interns!

All four of us have had a very busy few weeks, and now we're almost in November and approaching the completion of our first full month in Westminster - it's absolutely flown by! For me, working in Damian's office has been very varied and hugely rewarding. As Shadow Immigration Minister he has a lot of work to deal with, especially given the recent focus on asylum and immigration issues, on top of his constituency work from Ashford.

I have been focusing on a research project on Identity Cards, Biometrics and Information databases held by the state - the Government's ID Cards Act of last year is in the process of being implemented, and I've been gathering as much information as possible on all the issues and debates on the subject, to inform Damian, and assist the Conservative Party's ongoing campaign to oppose the introduction of this absolutely awful idea! Still... I ought to try and keep political points to a minimum on this page!

In addition to that I have been doing a fair bit of first response to constituent's problems and questions, which involves getting details of their issue so that Damian can better respond to it, as well as more detailed constituency casework. I really enjoy this aspect of the job - talking with members of the public about such a massive range of issues, and attempting to resolve their problems - hugely rewarding.

I will post back with another blog on Friday - to make up for the lack of posts recently (!) - after I get back from a constituency visit to Ashford, in Kent, where I'll be accompanying Damian on visits around the constituency as well as assisting him in his regular surgery at the constituency office. Really looking forward to the visit - i've only ever seen Ashford from the window of the Eurostar - although the 7am train from Charing Cross is going to be a challenging start to the day!


Friday, 5 October 2007

Manic Beginnings!

Hi - this appears to be the first blog post from the Catholic Parliamentary Internship Scheme 2007-08, so, bearing in mind I am an absolute blogging novice, here goes...!

All 4 interns working in parliament have now settled into Newman House, although Clare has been here a little while longer than Dom, John and myself (who are going to be working for MPs), labouring away in the office of Lord Dan Brennan QC - so im sure she'll have much to say on that front in due course! It's certainly been a very hectic couple of weeks for us all, and the MP interns havent even started yet - we kick off on Monday 8th October.

The first weekend, joined by Adrian and Rhiannon (our Brussels interns) and Fiona (our Archbishop's House intern) we jetted off to north Wales to a beautiful Ignatian Retreat Centre just outside Rhyl, to begin the scheme with some very welcome prayer, reflection, and a bit of peace and quiet away from the hustle bustle of central London life! Then we were back for a few days of conferences and meetings at the Bishops Conference and CAFOD, learning about the operations of the various Catholic agencies across England, Wales and the wider world. Following this, I set off to Blackpool to participate in the Conservative Party Conference, and soak up the northern seaside and atmosphere, and not a little alcohol along the way...!

Now the four of us are all back full time in Newman House and about to embark on the next stage of the scheme, we're very much looking forward to getting more involved in the life and community of the house, which on behalf of all of us, I would like to say has been fantastically welcoming and so much fun. I personally am looking forward to the opening of the bar shortly! We hope to play an active role in the house over the course of this year, all assuming an election isnt called and we are summoned away to our MP's constituencies to help fight their campaigns...!

Will Blair