Just found the internet cafe at Labour Conference. Two computers stuck out of the way. and a queue behind me. Had a busy week with a range of LGiU events and other events, such as the Total Place fringe I chaired today at which Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham and Ian Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside, were persuasive about the value of the Total Place initiative, talking of ‘deep dives’ into really tough policies and service areas, looking at how the totality of public sector money in the area can be put to better use. Much will be said about the political knockabout of the conference, but few will have noticed the subtler change in policy direction around localism. John Denham made a strong case for increased powers and a much bigger role for local political leadership, but the general trend was towards a defence of the welfare state in the form we know it. This was symobilised by the big policy announcement in Gordon Brown’s speech around the creation of a National Care Service. There has been too much ‘national’ and not enough ‘local’ here this week.