Opinion: Reflections from Brighton 2012

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

On Lib Dem Voice: Reportage | Live Twitter Stream | Contribute
On the official party website: Conference home

While it might be a stretch to say that the 2012 Lib Dem conference in Brighton was an unmitigated success, it is hard to come away from the conference without feeling a little better about life and about the party.

Certainly the only consistent low point of the week was being blown sideways by the gales sweeping in from the English Channel. (On reflection I think it may have been a mistake for me to tell friends that the weather is always good in Brighton!)

Of course, there is little doubt that the media will represent the conference as an unmitigated failure, slam Nick Clegg’s leadership and pen not a few patronising articles about the apocalypse which is facing the party at the next general election. When has this not been the case in the last two and a half years?

However, for me, my second conference (and first full one) has reaffirmed the reasons why I voted for this party in the last two general elections and my membership of the party. Of course I do not agree with everything that the party does and nor would I reasonably expect too, but there was one moment which has completely reaffirmed my commitment to this party.

On Wednesday morning delegates passed a policy motion which seeks to address the current under provision in the treatment of people with mental health problems.

Let me speak from personal experience. I am currently suffering from depression and an anxiety condition. On a good day I can function to some kind of normality. On the numerous bad days I am constantly on the point of breaking down, struggle to leave the house, cannot sleep, suffer panic attacks and have constant feelings of anxiety, misery and fear. At its worse the last six months has been nothing short of mental torture.

It is hardly any solace to know that there are many people in this country who are suffering as I am. Yet there is some comfort in knowing that there are people in at least one of the three main parties who understand the devastation mental illness can cause and who want to do something about it. This is in sharp contrast to the Conservative controlled County Council in my home county of Somerset which has been slashing mental health provision because they apparently don’t think that people like me are worth bothering with.

I am fully aware that this motion is unlikely to garner many column inches in the national press and, at the time of writing, I do not know when or if I will get better. However the fact that this motion has been passed has reaffirmed my belief in the Lib Dems and the reasons why I have always, and will continue, to vote for this party.

Credit: Freefoto.com

* Tim Purkiss is a party member from Somerset and blogs at Nation Discussion

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in Conference and Op-eds.
Bookmark the web address for this page or use the short url http://ldv.org.uk/30538 for Twitter and emails.

4 Comments

  • paul barker 2nd Oct '12 - 1:10pm

    Thank you for that. I have suffered from deppression & anxiety for nearly half a century now & I just wanted to say that it is possible both to learn ways of coping & to get better, slowly.
    I am glad that in this party we can be open about mental health.

  • I am totally there about doing something about mental illness, but I would need to see exactly what the plan to get something done includes before I offer it my unmitigated support. For absolute certain someone does need to be talking about it, ignoring the problem is a very expensive way to go.

  • I am not sure what the conference lacked for you, but I felt it was an all-round success. It included at least one debate which showed that the members are in charge, some excellent fringes and training events; there was no protest outside the conference, no call for Nick to step down; the media were doing their usual stunt with yellow balls and a daft question, though the exhibition seemed a bit lacking compared to previous years. The only downside was the weather, but we can blame that on the Americans. (and being ripped off by a slum of a hotel wasn’t the Party’s fault).

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?




Recent Comments

  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 22nd Sep - 7:04pm
    Huntbach - I agree. Devolution can very easily become the ideal model for corporate interests. Politics of course is the study of the allocation of...
  • User Avatarmack (Not a Lib dem) 22nd Sep - 7:00pm
    English Votes for English Laws would mean that English MPs would automatically have dual voting rights, i.e. able to vote on both English matters and...
  • User AvatarJohnTilley 22nd Sep - 6:58pm
    An interesting piece by Anthony Faircough and he is right to highlight the disaster that has hit the Liberal Democrat in elections over the last...
  • User AvatarGF 22nd Sep - 6:56pm
    From the post: "The Liberal Democrats is a political party not a loose collection of residents association councillors". Are you sure? Yes, I know it...
  • User AvatarLittle Jackie Paper 22nd Sep - 6:56pm
    OK. I do recognise that I'm likely rather out of step here. I'm pretty sceptical of devolution per se. Whilst it is great to see...
  • User AvatarJoshua Dixon 22nd Sep - 6:50pm
    "so that when they cast their vote, they at least have a conception of what we’re about" - you mean what Liberal Reform are about...