Pizza, Politics and Alistair Carmichael

Watford pizza and politicsWith a move to Hull University looming I’m one of the many who reluctantly had to miss out on Conference this year. However some solace was found in Watford Liberal Democrats organising a “Politics and Pizza” evening, with Home Affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael as a special guest.

Politics and pizza is a fantastic combination of two of my biggest interests and it seemed very popular with the rest of the local party as well. The venue was nearly filled and what a lovely venue it was! It’s the finest mix of library and bar you’ve ever seen. The only downside was having to spot the door to the venue tucked between two larger and far more “shiny” shops. Big thanks to Cllr Peter Taylor playing “Spot the Liberal Democrat” at the door and helping me and a few others who nearly managed to walk past.

As the pizza arrived, people merrily chatted with each other between bites and I was lucky enough to be offered a seat at Alistair’s table. After a brief discussion amongst ourselves at the table where Alistair asked about ourselves – all but one of us at the table were new or at least younger members – it was time for the main event to begin. After a brief introduction from Peter, who had worked for Alistair in the past,  Alistair stood up to talk to us.

He spoke on a variety of subjects, where he thought the country was politically and where we ourselves were, the danger posed around the world by the rise of nationalism and the need for liberalism and co-operation in the face of isolationism and nationalism.

He then took questions, on subjects ranging from our policies, how the party (mis) uses social media, whether America should play a greater part in the refugee crisis and how to get the party back in the news. I asked a question about how he thought the party could win back younger voters.The floor was open to debate and it was a fantastic discussion.

Overall I think everyone decided the night was a great success. Massive thanks to Alistair for speaking, which alone made it worth coming along for.It seems there are already discussions of further Politics and Pizza events and I highly urge any other local parties to host their own. It’s a great way to get people together and meet well known figures.

I think that evenings like this, open to the general public, would be a really effective way of drawing in people to the party and it’s a good way for people to meet their representatives outside of official business or canvassing. Next year Watford is facing all its council seats coming up for election at once and things like this may help ensure we continue to hold the council and win back seats we lost in May.

* Will Wilshere is a member of Watford Liberal Democrats. He blogs here.

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