Bristol South Labour member David Shoare went along to the Fabian Society Labour leadership hustings at the weekend, this is what he thought:
"Like a lot of people after the General Election I thought Ed Miliband would be Prime Minister by now. Alas, that idea disappeared in a chorus of gasps at exit poll results, so I went to the Fabian Society conference on Saturday to attempt to make sense of what happened and watch the first debate between all of the leadership candidates.
It being so early in the campaign, candidates appeared to be setting out their overall vision for the party and starting to put across potential policies. A few moments that stood out for me were Yvette Cooper talking about the importance of developing high tech industries and jobs(which I hope will get into the next manifesto whatever happens), Andy Burnham stressing the importance of having a country where everyone can get on, and also stressing that we learn the lessons of the Scottish referendum campaign and create a distinct Labour Yes campaign for the EU referendum. Liz Kendall was pushing for the party to be as passionate about wealth creation as it is about wealth redistribution, while Mary Creagh detailed the dangers of Michael Gove's education policies, claiming that pupils were being told what to think, not how to think. Jeremy Corbyn also made an appearance despite only recently declaring his candidacy, declaring socialism to be alive and well and being needed now more than ever.
I don’t feel ready to back a specific candidate at this early stage, though it was useful to see where the potential differences between candidates were- I'm sure I'll get to narrow down the shortlist as the weeks go on.
What struck me most about the conference as a whole was the unfettered enthusiasm of its participants to make things better in the UK. Whichever leader gets elected, if they can harness that enthusiasm and positivity then the task over the next five years won’t be so daunting."