How like the Methodist Conference the TUC is! It has a General Secretary (Brendan Barber), and an annually appointed President of Congress - Alison Shepherd. It has special seats reserved for speakers, a sizeable agenda, lights on the podium, and a lively exhibition area. People sit in groups, behind tables overflowing with paper. It was like being in Blackpool in July - nearly. But Trades Unionists, more than Methodists have adopted the 'mission statement' T shirt, and messages of varying kinds were emblazoned on every other person's top.
What the visit impressed on me again (a person not unsympathetic to Trades Unionism) was how closely the issues and agendas mirrored those of Christianity: protection for the vulnerable, equality, training and reskilling to increase opportunities, defence against exploitation, etc. The TUC, like many other groupings in our postChristin society, adopt many of the values of Christianity, but without the dogmas. Rather than see this as a glass half empty, I believe we should see this as a glass half full, and partner and work together with all those of good will who share values we hold dear.