Sarah Ludford: my first party conference memories

Liberal Democrat Voice at Conference

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

My first conference was 25 years ago, in Bournemouth, and coincided with my husband Steve Hitchins and I moving to Islington. Steve was a few months behind me in joining the party, so I was on my own in Bournemouth 1982. It remains my favourite location and the repository of my fondest memories, partly because I had such a good time but also because it represents the beginning of my journey as an activist in the Liberal Democrats.

I was in fact only part-based in the UK at the time as I worked for the European Commission in Brussels and in 1982 I represented ‘British Liberals in the Community’ as we called ourselves. The thing I remember most was acting like a kid in a sweet shop, rushing around all the fringe meetings and thinking how exciting it was. I had no responsibilities, I knew hardly anyone (so I could talk to anyone I liked), I had no meetings to go to. I think the weather was gorgeous, and I had a ball.

Bournemouth was also fateful for me because we were there again in 1991 when I tossed my hat in the ring to be a byelection candidate in Clerkenwell ward in Islington. Steve by then had been not only secretary of Islington, but chair of London region and was the main organising force in Islington and one of our only 3 councillors, since we had a terrible merger and lost 13 seats in 1990. We had already run Labour very close in a couple of byelections in 1991 (not least the magnificent Margot Dunn!) and now we were going to get the b*****ds out.

To cut a long story short, we did, and from 4 seats in 1991 we went on to gain control of Islington Council with 27 seats in 1999. I remember precisely where I was in Bournemouth when I said I wanted to fight Clerkenwell; the memory is a sweet one!

* Baroness Sarah Ludford is a Liberal Democrat Member of the European Parliament for London.

Read more by .
This entry was posted in Conference.
Advert

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.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

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

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User Avatarnigel hunter 20th Nov - 12:27am
    When will the Tories publish the facts and figures? I trust they will show them quickly so they cannot be hidden for ages.
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 20th Nov - 12:06am
    We called for the abolition of the Benefits Cap in the far-reaching motion, Mending the Safety Net, passed at the Brighton Conference in September 2016,...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 19th Nov - 11:31pm
    There is much truth in what you write there, Glenn.
  • User AvatarMichael BG 19th Nov - 11:30pm
    We must never forget the part our MP’s played in the cutting of benefits between 2010 and 2015, it is no consolation for members to...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 19th Nov - 11:29pm
    Nonetheless, Jayne, the waste and distraction of Brexit has perhaps helped to inhibit the Opposition parties from allowing the policies of austerity to go on...
  • User AvatarGlenn 19th Nov - 11:23pm
    The problem grew because the consensus of the centre was really the consensus of the economic right. The markets will solve everything, weed out the...