What’s your favourite thing about Liberal Democrat Conference?

In just over 9 weeks’ time, thousands of Lib Dems will be packing up and heading to Brighton for four days of serious debate, fun and thought-provoking fringe meetings.

This Saturday, Federal Conference Committee will have a very loooooong meeting to decide how they will fill up four days by the sea.

We’ve had a couple of posts about some of the motions submitted by members. Only a small fraction will make it on to the agenda. If you want to make a pitch for yours, there’s still time – just send 300-500 words on it to Liberal Democrat Voice.

We know some of the agenda items – obviously Vince’s speech and Q and A. We know that there will be policy papers coming forward on immigration, which will cause some lively debate, and tuition fees, which, of course won’t be controversial at all and power for people and communities, which should be incredibly radical but I worry might be a bit Motherhood and Apple Pie.

I am determined that for this Conference, I will be fully prepared. I will have read all the papers, written all my speeches and done all my preparation well in advance of setting off.

You should be aware, dear reader, that I have been saying that about Conference for decades and have never actually managed to pull it off. I’m an optimist, though. So long as anyone doesn’t call an election or anything….

One of the barriers that will stand in my way is the fact that Scottish Conference will be taking place, unusually, the week before Federal Conference. We’ll be meeting in Dunfermline on Saturday 8th September. We hope to have something to celebrate. There’s a Council by-election taking place in Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay on Thursday 6th, so if you happen to be in the area at any time in the next few weeks, let me know and I’ll make sure you have some beautiful coastal walks to take with some leaflets.

For me, Conference is the most fun you can have as a Liberal Democrat. Ok, so maybe winning elections comes close, but those few days by the seaside are so good for the liberal soul. I love the fact that we can have a passionate debate about a contentious issue and then go to the pub afterwards. I love the variety of the fringe where there are always at least three things you want to go to in any given time slot. I love being with my Lib Dem family – particularly as it has been expanding in the last few years. It’s refreshing and restorative to be around people who share goals, values and ambitions. And I love the bonkers last night of Conference Glee Club.

I’ll be honest, Brighton isn’t my favourite venue. I was going to say that the Blackbird Tea Rooms had started to make my resistance crumble, but it seems to have disappeared off the internet. I’ll need to find somewhere to replace it.

Conference can be an expensive business, although there are ways to reduce the cost. One of them is to apply to the Conference Access Fund  which can help with the costs.

If you’ve never been to Conference before, why not give it a try? You can register here.

If you wanted to persuade someone to give Conference a go, what would you say? What is your favourite thing about it?

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

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.
Advert

7 Comments

  • Best thing about conference is the people.

  • Mick Taylor 12th Jul '18 - 4:10pm

    Meeting old friends and making new ones

  • Martin Land 12th Jul '18 - 6:03pm

    Best thing? Not going. A record I’ve kept up since 1976.

  • Jenny and Mick are both right – and constitute two Conference attractions for starters!

  • John Marriott 12th Jul '18 - 9:18pm

    I’m afraid I agree with Martin Land. I’ve only attended one national Lib Dem conference and that was at Brighton in 1996 (?) the year before I stood for Parliament. The highlight? I managed to get a photo of myself with Paddy Ashdown (it’s still on my ‘office aka bedroom wall), which was useful in my electionaddress. God, we both look SO YOUNG!

    I also nearly got on Newsnight with Richard Denton White (?). He and I had spoken at a fringe meeting or something and must have impressed the BBC’s Mark Mardell, who filmed a series of interviews, only to have the whole thing scrapped as something more important turned up that night.

    Otherwise, the only things I remember were the endless buffet sandwiches and, as a PPC, waiting to be interviewed. What a waste of three (or was it four?) days of my life, I thought. I did manage to drive down the coast to Durrington to see my aunt, whom I hadn’t seen for nearly twenty years, which turned out to be our last meeting.

    Now, I know that for many party members the conference is their ‘raison d ‘être’; but it never was for me. The febrile atmosphere at many conferences (and I’ve attended a few for various organisations over the years) often produces decisions which, in the cold light of day, turn out to be either unworkable, misguided or just plain daft. However, I’m sure that you conference junkies will have a great time. Enjoy!

  • Richard Fagence 13th Jul '18 - 11:21am

    I’ve been to every Autumn conference since 1997 and most of the Spring conferences, too. I’m now debating whether or not to register this year, not least because of the ever-increasing costs. Brighton is one of the most expensive towns in the country – even more so than Bournemouth – and this will be the second time in three years. Even using my own car as transport, I estimate four nights will cost in excess of £600 once registration, food and refreshments are included. A week in Italy, Spain or Greece would be cheaper. It’s a lot to find on a pension. What happened to the scheme we used to have where, if you registered in advance, you got a discount on fees?

  • Daniel Walker 13th Jul '18 - 12:36pm

    @Richard Fagence “What happened to the scheme we used to have where, if you registered in advance, you got a discount on fees?

    That still happens, but it ended at midnight on June 8th.

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 AvatarCarl Gardner 23rd Jul - 10:28am
    It's entirely understandable that, if a new party is being discussed by people who have have a fair degree of common outlook with many LibDems,...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 23rd Jul - 10:28am
    @Former Dem "they still blame the Lib Dems for introducing them.... The details are mostly forgotten." Yes, piffling little details like the fact that the...
  • User AvatarDav 23rd Jul - 10:24am
    But why should young people, whose living costs are the same as 25+ year olds, be the ones who bare the brunt? Because under any...
  • User AvatarJohn Bicknell 23rd Jul - 10:14am
    David Raw: you are not the only person with a knowledge of history. I had the 1918 Coupon GE in mind when I used that...
  • User AvatarGordon Lishman 23rd Jul - 10:09am
    The Party, as well as the Social Liberal Forum, should say a big "thank you" to Helen for her time as SLF's Chair and particularly...
  • User AvatarCarl Gardner 23rd Jul - 10:02am
    A fundamental belief of Liberal Democrat philosophy is the right to free speech and the right to question things. But ... I do understand that...