Author Archives: Opra Foill

Autumn Conference will be all at sea

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Lib Dems in Torquay have alerted us to the fact that a number of cruise ships have been anchored off shore since the first lockdown. Apparently long-term docking fees at the usual cruise ports are unaffordable for many cruise lines, and in any case there are simply not enough berths available worldwide for all the ships.

Some careful research and negotiation have resulted in the proposal that is being considered seriously by the Federal Conference Committee – that Autumn Conference this year should be held in one of those underused ships.  The resources are perfect on the ship which offers a large theatre that could serve as an auditorium, several other function rooms for fringe meetings, and plenty of bars. What is more, accommodation and restaurants are on site and will be included in the registration fee. If the weather is fine then members will be able to use the swimming pool.

To counter the perception that Autumn Conferences are always based on the South Coast the ship will spend the four days cruising around the British Isles, stopping to pick up Alistair Carmichael in Orkney.

The cruise ship option comes with some particular opportunities and challenges for a “hybrid” conference, with some members able to connect remotely via the Hopin platform. Data connectivity is straightforward enough but movement of the ship on the water may cause incoming and outgoing speeches to speed up and slow down due to the Doppler effect.

There will be some additional benefits on offer on the ship. The casino will be open 24 hours a day, but only to those who did not sign the petition against FOBTs. The midnight chocolate buffet will be available every night at the specific request of Mark Pack.

Glee Club will take place in a real theatre with the ship’s resident dancers and acrobats providing much needed relief. We understand that negotiations to secure ‘The Cruise’ star Jane Macdonald to do a turn are going well.

Posted in Conference and News | 27 Comments
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