Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Soaking up the Atmosphere

It’s my first blog ever – and I’m grateful for the opportunity. I’m also grateful for the opportunity to sit down, as I have arrived late at Conference after completing the Great North Run – also a first for me.

I attended my first four party conferences as a parliamentary researcher for several MPs, which generally meant racing after them or waving a speech shouting “you’ve forgotten your notes!” It’s a nice comparison to be able to plan my own diary and also take advantage of all the training sessions on offer. Last year I chose to forgo conference to stay in Hartlepool to campaign in the by-election there – so apart from my aching knee joints from the run I’m feeling really glad to be here.

I was a candidate in the General Election this year, and conference is also an opportunity to recharge your Lib Dem batteries and catch up with great friends. I left the bar at a very respectable 2am this morning, after sipping super cocktails at the Bloomberg reception– the hottest ticket in town -and the Independent reception which was also very good.

I’m going to visit all the stands now and also check out the debates this afternoon –the key one debate is about preventing terrorism and defending civil liberties. I have to say that I immediately noticed an increased police presence this year, compared with other years although our security was always very good. This in now the climate in which we live and a pressing point of discussion for us as a party – how to prevent terrorism whilst defending our freedoms and our way of life.

Chatting to taxi drivers and generally talking to local people there seems to be a really nice buzz about us yellow lot at the moment, whether it’s; “I like that Kennedy fella” or “my council tax is ridiculous – I’m pleased you want to scrap it” – wherever you go there seems to be more awareness about what we stand for and who we are – which is good.

Right, I’m off now to soak up the atmosphere, more later…

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