Conference Preview: Tuesday 17th September

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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Welcome to part 4 of my stroll through the Conference agenda. This one is actually being prepared live, so I can add in a couple of hints and tips that I’ve gleaned over the first few days.

Handy hints

1) It is much quicker to go outside to get between the Crowne Plaza,Exhibition and Clyde Auditorium rather than take the labyrinthine, interminable corridors inside.

2) I only discovered last night that there is a corridor full of comfy, quiet sofas with power points for charging phones on the way to the Leven  room in the SECC. Mind you , now I’ve said it, they may not be quite so quiet.

3) Lovely places to eat:

  • India Quay, opposite the Hilton Garden Inn where Liberal Democrat Seekers of Sanctuary enjoyed a sumptuous buffet yesterday. Delicious, piping hot and a lovely variety of dishes.
  • Fanny Trollope’s, where the Social Liberal Forum had its dinner on Sunday night. My hot smoked salmon with horseradish and creme fraiche was perfectly balanced, my shin of beef with dauphinoise potatoes and mushroom fricasee was rich, tender and delicious.
  • Roastit Bubbly Jocks in Partick. Bring your own wine and enjoy contemporary Scottish cuisine. I met Sarah from Kent at Partick station yesterday and she was effusive about the venison stew and creamy mash.

Now, on to today’s business.  We start with a discussion on Syria using one of the emergency motion slots, then a debate on recognising a legal status for British sign language. At 10:15, a motion calling for compulsory sex education covering relationships, consent, keeping safe online and gender inequality to combat domestic abuse and violence is discussed. There is an amendment highlighting Lynne Featherstone’s work on Female Genital Mutilation.

After a speech by Fiona MEP, a major debate on defence takes up the rest of the morning. Nuclear deterrence has always been a tricky issue for the party and we’ve managed it by fudging for years. No more opportunity for that, though. Whichever option is picked, though, we will see significant disarmament. Continuous at sea deterrence is no longer on the agenda. There is an amendment calling for no nuclear deterrent at all. If this issue is important to you, make sure you vote. Remember that yesterday’s top rate of tax decision had just 4 votes in it as Stephen Tall reported. The amendment is very much the underdog, and has come genuinely from the grassroots.

This afternoon has debates on home care, Europe, PFI in the NHS and High Street gambling, broken up by a keynote speech from Danny Alexander.

Hidden away in the training agenda is a meeting which may interest AOs and SAOs (the interest groups recognised by the party). This takes place in Leven in the SECC (past the comfy sofas) from 2:30 to 3:45. It’s focused on ways that AOs and SAOs can develop mutual links between local and regional parties.

As an aside, take a look at some photos around Glasgow taken by LDV’s one time Photo Fairy, Paul Walter. The one of the venue is amazing.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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