Welcome to Glasgow – my article for AD LIB

AD LIB September 2013AD LIB subscribers will have seen this already, but the nice people at the production team of the party’s in house magazine have said that I can put it up here for you to read, too. It’s a piece outlining some of the many delights of Glasgow for Conference goers. By the way, AD LIB is a good read, so do think about subscribing.  I should add that anything remotely cool in the article below is likely to have been inspired by Sophie Bridger, Liberal Youth Scotland’s former President and current Scottish Diversity Champion. 

Scottish Liberal Democrats are ridiculously excited at the prospect of welcoming our colleagues from across the UK to Federal Conference in Glasgow. We will be taking over what we Scots affectionately know as the Armadillo (you’ll realise why when you see it) to debate everything from Trident to the economy to childcare. The last time I was in there was to see last year’s pantomime which starred John Barrowman, the Krankies and a real, live horse. I just know our speakers will be even more entertaining.

Our fringe has a huge range of delights from the glitz and glamour of the Liberal Democrat Voice Awards to the raucous hilarity of the Glee Club to serious discussions on just about every subject you could wish for. East Dunbartonshire Liberal Democrats host the inaugural Members’ Dinner, with Vince Cable as speaker, to raise funds to support Jo Swinson’s re-election campaign.

Many of the Liberal Democrats’ best achievements in Government don’t apply in Scotland. Extra funds for mental health, to help disadvantaged kids in school, boosting cycling and expanding early years education to 2 year olds showcase our values in action but aren’t happening here. Conference provides an excellent opportunity to tell Scottish media and people alike what we are doing.

The last day of Conference marks exactly one year before the Independence Referendum. Michael Moore, our Secretary of State for Scotland brokered the Edinburgh Agreement, ensuring  a legal, fair and decisive poll which gives 16 and 17 year olds the vote for the first time. We can expect to see him make a positive case for the UK and for future federalism.

If you want a break from the fast pace of Conference, Glasgow has much to offer. The greenest city in Europe has many parks and gardens where you can walk and relax. The beautiful university area is a cornucopia for those seeking good food, beer and whisky. The city rivals Birmingham for excellent curry and there are some superb vegetarian and vegan cafes. Tea House Tchai Ovna (as featured on the cover of the Belle and Sebastian album ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress) sells excellent tea from around the world. Oran Mor is a delightful pub in an old church in the West End famous for its whisky and its play, pie and pint lunchtime feature. Thankfully, the play Divided ends its run as we arrive. If it’s real ale you’re after, then try the Bon Accord, the Three Judges or my personal  favourite, the Station Bar in Cowcaddens whose eclectic clientele comprises students from Glasgow Caledonian university, media types and musicians from the Royal Concert Hall. For a unique experience, you can try drinking cocktails out of a gramophone in the Hillhead  Bookclub.

If you like retail therapy, there are plenty of vintage shops off Byres Rd and Great Western Rd. The Glasgow Science Centre and IMAX cinema is a short stroll across the river. Those seeking culture will find the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra and LeAnn Rimes playing (not together) at the Royal Concert Hall, or the musical Cats at the Kings Theatre.

Once you’ve sampled the delights of Glasgow, it’s only a short train ride to Bearsden where Jo Swinson’s team will be only too pleased to give you some leaflets to deliver in spectacular scenery.

Glasgow has something to please everyone attending our Conference. The good news is that what you miss this year, you can catch up with when we return in 2014. However you spend your time, have a marvellous time in our city.

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

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  • Why aren’t you going to tell them about the Govan by-election happening just over the river?

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 13th Sep '13 - 7:45am

    Al, I wrote it before the Govan by-election was called.

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