Sunday, September 18, 2005


The Great and the Good

The day started where the night left off, on a coach. We finally arrived at 7:00 am to find nothing but a ghost town, surely we thought, evidence of the previous night's liberal decadence. After checking into our hotel and getting sorted for the day we set off for the Winter Gardens to take part in a tax consultant session. Our first major observation of the day was that the so called “Winter Gardens” had about as much in common with a garden as the cost benefit analysis of a land value tax with being interesting. Having said this, the fact that a flat-rate tax system was at least discussed brought some joy to those of us with free market persuasions. The afternoon brought us a first-time meeting with the LDYS group (well worth getting involved with if this is your first conference and you are under 30) followed by being rallied to vote against a rise in the minimum party subscription rate. Our extravagant plans for our first night out where put on hold as we fell asleep as soon as we arrived back at our hotel room – a warning to all new and future first time attendees, an all night coach journey will not give you enough sleep for the following night.

Highlight of the Day: Winning the floor vote on membership subscriptions
Down point of the Day: Failing to win either a mug or anorak at the exhibition stands.

Daily interview:
Today we managed to catch up with Vince Cable MP and ask him about his first conference. I’ll hope to feature a new interview everyday.

JNR: When was your first conference?
VC: I can’t quite remember but I think it was Scarborough 1983.

JNR: What did you hope to bring out of that first conference?
VC: I recall that those where the very optimistic days at the SDP with much talk of reaching 50% of the polls. For me it was a time of great opportunity where I felt I could make a real difference.
JNR: What do you find most important about party conferences?
VC: By far the most important thing is to have the opportunity to communicate with the grass roots party which is a voice not always heard through constituency and parliamentary work. Being a Liberal Democrat it is great that I don’t just take part in a party rally like other parties but instead engage in active debate.

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