Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Post-Easter Greetings

Well, it's been nearly 3 weeks since I last posted, so another update from the Catholic Parliamentary world well overdue...

We've all returned to work after a very pleasant Easter break, and all the interns have been up to various bits a pieces in the last few weeks.

Dom had a cracking time in the European Capital of Culture that is Liverpool for the Lib Dem Spring Conference, staying with the Pughs - apparently there was a great party atmosphere and he even came back with somewhat of a scouse accent!

My Spring Forum travails took me to Glorious Newcastle-Gateshead in the luxurious surroundings of the Sage Conference Centre, which boasts fabulous views along the redeveloped quayside. Having visited the area a while ago it was great to be back, and I have to say the area was looking great, with all the redevelopment agencies and money really having paid off - many new businesses and redesigns of the area have made Newcastle a clearly dynamic and vibrant city, and one certainly able to cope with conferences and events much larger than the Spring forum! I even met a local celeb at one of the receptions - one sir John Hall, former owner of Newcastle FC - who was very pleased to see a mainstream political party engaging with an area which has for too long been forgotten by Governments of all varieties in the past; let's hope the latest regeneration is a sign of things to come for the city and the wider area.

Ms Groom has just returned from her band's 2008 St Patrick's Day tour of New York, which apparently went down a storm - I do hope her hand held out for it though!

All in all, we've been getting around! Next big, or rather, grim, event is my birthday on Thursday - the interns, colleagues, friends and myself will be having a few in the appropriately named "Cardinal" pub behind Westminster Cathedral on Thursday - do pop in if you're around!


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Marching on to Easter

Been a couple of weeks since my last blog, and a fair bit has been going on here in Westminster.

I've been motoring through the casework (I wish!), although the pile is regularly topped up with the latest constituency issue - all very good experience though and interesting to discover more and more about aspects of everyday life that I have so far not encountered - such as the intricacies of local policing and anti-social behaviour initiatives relative successes or failures.

The ID cards research continues and it's all very interesting watching the roll out of this new initiative and monitoring the response from the media and public opinion. I've also just begun a new project monitoring the progress of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, which has raised a lot of concerns both amongst the Church and many parliamentarians, of whom Im glad to count our Catholic Intern MPs for this year!

This week we welcome Adrian and Rhiannon from Brussels, and meetings have been arranged for us with Ruth Kelly, the Foreign Office and the Cabinet Secretary, which should be very interesting and a welcome enrichment to our internship experiences. Then Dom is jetting off to stay with his MP and his wife in Southport, before heading on to the Lib Dem Spring Conference in Liverpool - his first trip to that part of the country. If it's anything like my experience in Blackpool, he'll have a great time!

Finally, I had a brilliant evening with Father Peter, Chris and others a week ago yesterday at the Desert Island Disks dinner - a really enjoyable evening with some very interesting choices of tracks. I found it most difficult deciding on one which said something about me, but I opted for the uplifting and inclusive "One Vision" by the legends that are Queen.