23 September 2022

Gavin Freeguard
Warning: Graphic Content
11 min readSep 23, 2022


Conference pair

Yes, it’s party conference season, the only time in my life when being a hotel bar past 2am was actually professional. I’d regale you with more tales of conference past had Mailchimp not crashed on me yesterday (and if Virgin Media weren’t literally about to start working on broadband in my area), so I’ll spare you that (for now). Instead, here’s the IfG, Politico and UK in a Changing Europe on why party conferences matter and what to expect.

The political parties will be hoping their conference season doesn’t go pear-shaped, hahahaha (a picture of two conference pears, to complement the pair of conference events I’m hosting at Labour conference next week)

I’m chairing a couple of IfG events at Labour Conference next week. I have the coveted Monday 8am slot for an event, supported by the Bright Initiative by Bright Data, on ‘How can the better use of data benefit public services?’. Come, have breakfast and listen to Helen Milner (Good Things Foundation), Matt Davies (ODI), Antonio Weiss (Bennett Institute, The PSC, Harrow Labour), hopefully a Labour MP (the list of those with a particular interest in data is not as long as one would hope) and me. And at 1030 on Tuesday, I’m chairing another great panel: Chi Onwurah MP, James Plunkett (Citizens Advice), Hetan Shah (British Academy) and Jeni Tennison (Connected by Data) discuss ‘how should we govern in the digital age?’ at an event supported by JRF (outside the secure zone — you won’t need a conference pass). The full IfG line-up also includes an event on using data and evidence to address regional inequality. (We’ll be repeating the data in public services and data in regional inequality events at Conservative conference. Different cast list, obviously.)

Looking at the full fringe listings, there’s not a huge amount beyond the IfG events on the data and digital government front — though Demos and Reed in Partnership also have an 8am Monday event which could be relevant on ‘Putting people at the heart of public services’ (please come to mine instead). There’s also Policy Exchange with ‘Tech for growth: upscaling the UK’s digital economy’ (Monday 10am), how to win the next election through digital (89up and SME4Labour, Monday noon), ending digital poverty in the UK (Digital Poverty Alliance, Monday 1pm), ‘Live long and prosper: how can technology help us to live healthier and longer lives?’ (Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, Monday 5pm), technology and automation and workers (Usdaw, Monday 715pm), digital harms and smart technology (Policy@Manchester, Tuesday 10am), a green and digital future (Stronger Together, SERA, Labour Business, Tuesday 1130) and the digital skills gap and social mobility (Education Policy Institute, Tuesday 1145).

There’s a lot more on online harms, with events from 89up and SME4Labour (what Labour should do about the Online Safety Bill, Sunday 11am), HOPE Not Hate (the state of online hate, Sunday 1230), the Antisemitism Policy Trust (a debate, Sunday 1pm), Barnardo’s and the NSPCC (how to protect children online, Monday noon), and Prospect (what does the OSB mean for journalism, Monday 5pm).

It would be very unfair of me to leave you with the title of a private IPPR/Reset event at 4pm on Tuesday by way of summary: ‘Labour’s missing vision: can technology policy reinvigorate Labour’s agenda?’

Lots of non-conference events to tell you about:

A few other bits and pieces:

And finally, two things you can help me out with:

  • Normally, I do something very stupid during conference season, which is to run a half marathon once the madness is over. I’m not doing that this time. I’ve decided to start the season with the stupid exercise instead. Tomorrow, I’ll be walking the Shine walking marathon with my friend Dan for Cancer Research UK. If you’d like to donate to the cause, you can do so here. Thank you!
  • One of the questions in my feedback survey was ‘what would make you more likely to recommend this newsletter to a friend?’ One of the answers was for me to ask you to do so. So please do tell your friends and colleagues to sign up, forward it to everyone you know, and retweet the proverbial out of the tweet advertising this week’s edition when it comes. Thank you!

Have a good weekend

Enjoying Warning: Graphic Content?

Tell your friends — forward this email, and they can:



Today’s links:

Graphic content


Windsor change

Viral content


The economy, stupid




Sport and leisure

Weather and climate


Meta data

Digital government

A farewell to harms

Ceci n’est pas un artiste.

AI got ‘rithm

Data: this time it’s personal

UK government(s)

Open for the best, expecting the worst

Anti-social media


Everything else


And finally…

The Que(u)e(n)

Everything else