Wednesday, September 21, 2005

 

Rollercoaster of Conference

The morning began with a long awaited debate on the partial privatization of the postal service and almost immediately a sense of frustration set in. What seemed like an excellent proposal, not only to make the post office competitive in a soon to be competitive market, but also to put local post offices in a position in which they could survive, was referred back. Whilst Lamb’s policy proposal may have had strong economic credentials and had the backing of some of the growing stars of Liberal politics, it was opposed by a series of largely reactionary arguments and left me disappointed with the supposedly progressive party I had joined. Asquith’s aphorism to “wait and see” may well have been politically brilliant given its context at the time; its relevance here was certainly lacking.

Hope was revived, however, at The Economist fringe meeting where a warm reception for Laws and Cable returned my faith in the credentials of the liberal movement. I must recommend to any new or future conference attendees to attend as many fringe meetings as possible, and not just the ones with refreshments, as they provide an open forum for debate and to engage with politicians. This meeting was promptly followed by an afternoon of fun with the LDYS - just because there’s a conference on is no reason not to enjoy a quick rollercoaster ride.

Finally we went to The Observer fringe which actually turned out to be one of the best we have attended. Clegg, Laws and Teather were all typically impressive but the format allowed for a much more candid and general debate than we had previously seen. A further point of advice would be not to be put off speaking to MP’s because of their media profile but instead to feel free to go up and talk to them after a debate and you’ll be surprised how receptive they are to your opinions.

The evening started with an attendance at the end of the 3 fringe just in time to have a glass of free wine. This was followed by an LDYS meet up at a club in town and ended up back at the imperial hotel. The night that followed was filled with meeting like-minded young Lib Dems as well as some slightly older ones and lasted well into the early hours.

Highlight of the Day: The quality of the debate in the fringe meeting
Down Point: Failing to win a mug again and also loosing another vote

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