So a picture is worth a thousand words? OK, no blog post on Lib Dem conference, just this....
Oh, alright then. Words too then.... Don't say I'm not good to you.....
I love this picture for personal reasons because it contains a number of my very good friends, and also one or two new ones that I like very much as well. It was taken on Tuesday night of Lib Dem conference and kind of sums up a lot of the good things about the week, for me - spending time with those I like and trust, meeting more like-minded folk and having fun.
It also evidences one of the dominant themes for me and other was the new generation at this conference. This was also because of a number of lobbyists, party staff and exhibitors around and about the place.
So what did I do - policy debates, training, fringes on liberty, manifesto forming and how to differentiate from the Tories. I also noticed a lot of my friends and acquaintances were being asked to speak to the media, BBC News, Sky News etc.
In fact this is a trend I've noticed amongst the main blogging sites - tho perhaps it's always been there it seems particularly recently that I've noticed bloggers and commentators pop up on the news. My perception is that when Labour were in power they did a lot of this commentary themselves, rather than leave it to bloggers or whatever Paul Staines is. Now the Tories seem a little more circumspect, and we don't have as much resource as the other two to spend on media appearances, I feel we are hearing a lot more from bloggers.
Back to #ldconf - twitter was key as well, not only for directing people to where you were in the auditorium and greeting me with mnfggggfffff tweets first thing in the morning (you know who you are), but to announce to the world how Nick Robinson and Michael Crick "enjoyed" their first Glee Club and tweet photos as evidence of same.
I also caught it referenced more than once by different MPs, including one grudgingly admitting that he was "on twitter" tho he was sure he didn't know what to do with it.
I think my favourite fringe has to be the one run by Lib Dem Voice - Manifesto 2015 - including Kelly-Marie Blundelll from the SLF and Charlotte Henry from Liberal Reform
It was good to hear both sides of several issues and I wanted both sides to get their teeth into a meaty subject like health or education. I advised this to Helen Duffett and my ideal would be to see a bit conference hall debate and possibly even a vote at the end.
The most interesting debate was the one on the Justice and Security Bill or as Henry put it as he ushered us all to the hall "Secret Courts". This was also where the group above formed and expressed much liberal indignation about this idea, and listened to impassioned speeches from Jo Shaw before t
The housing motion was described by my debate companion Andrew Tennant as a "fabulous motion" and I agreed, but slightly confused to find conference delegates voting for it as well as the motion against planning reform ahead of it. I'm wondering where we are supposed to build this housing - perhaps Lib Dems are in favour of castles in the air?
In conclusion, I had an awesome time at Lib Dem conference, I'm sure I'll be back, and tho very tired and having lost a few pounds (bizarre as basically living on chips as Kel said) - I do want to do it all again soon.