Napo has pulled off an amazing first-day online conference

Probation and Family Court union leaps into the virtual world

Yesterday evening I began to feel the anticipation I usually feel before Napo’s annual conference.

My brain is creating a virtual experience so it kind of thinks it is in ‘a place’ doing Annual General Meeting (AGM). I keep getting images of past AGMs, Llandudno, Scarborough, Eastbourne etc. I went to my local Marks and Spencers cafe this morning and my brain thought I was in a Bed & Breakfast (B&B) in Derby (yes we did once have an AGM in Derby if you were wondering).

Katie Lomas, national chair opens conference

I sat listening to the music as the clocked counted down when we would go live. I was thinking, “If we pull this off this will be quite something.”

Shortly after 10 o’clock, Katie appeared like a news anchor and we were off.

Our speakers began to roll in like guests on chat show.

“ If it was not for the Trade Union movement we would not have had a furloughed scheme”

Frances O’Grady speaking at Napo online conference.

I felt like a guest at a family wedding as I cheered on Katie and Keith (Vice-chair finance).

I was glad for the zoom events at lunchtime as for most of the morning I thought it was me and Katie. It was good to see 45 people in the zoom room I had chosen.

Technology overload

The afternoon session on technology felt like another world. Is this really the world we are in? It feels like inside the world of buildings with furniture etc there is another world of technology accessed not via a door but a password. While I appreciate how technology can help it is beginning to feel like a pet that takes too much of my time.

One of the presenters said something like, “ Technology should enhance life, like turning on a light on a room”. That technology I can go with, where do I get it?

David Lammy in conversation

Our late afternoon guest was David Lammy MP.

“It is easy for Europeans to look to America and see racism there without seeing it here.” paraphrased

David Lammy MP, Shadow Justice Secretary at Napo online conference

The formal business ended with members debating motions. I was impressed with what Napo had achieved.

I should add that formal entertainment was organised for the evening but something in me had to get out through a real door into the real world.




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Gordie Jackson

Gordie Jackson

Speaks with a Northern Irish accent, lives in Hertfordshire, England.