Sunday, March 08, 2009

Harrogate - Day 3: Clutching the symbols of power!

And so the moment I'd all been waiting for, the moment when Ros seized the symbols of ultimate power from the cold, dead hands of the ancien regime, the moment when everything became possible, when... oops, err... Let's start that again, shall we?

It is a tradition, passed down from the Liberal Party, that the outgoing President passes to his or her successor the symbols of office, the gavel and the sacred text, 'On Liberty' by John Stuart Mill. The book is obvious, the gavel perhaps less so.

In the 'old days', the President of the Liberal Party chaired every session from opening to closure of the Assembly. The gavel was used, and had a power. Of course, there is a entire Federal Conference Committee to do these things now, and the President's role is much more ceremonial, but symbols have their place in our memories.

It was left to Phil Willis to introduce Ros, and he was most gracious with his introduction, before El Presidente (outgoing), Simon Hughes, presented Ros with the gavel and the book. Ros made a gracious speech in praise of Simon before performing her first awards ceremony as President, honouring Greater Reading for the largest increase in membership by a Local Party. And she was right, all of the students who came on with Gareth and Daisy did make Gareth look a bit old and knackered... She then presented the award for biggest percentage growth to Leeds East before handing back to Phil for the financial appeal.

Whilst Tim Farron tried to distract him by folding his appeal form into a paper aeroplane and throwing it at him (nice craftsmanship, Tim), Phil extorted us to be generous in his own inimical style - "Give us your bloody money!".

Having so persuaded us, he noted that he'd better hurry up, as a young man was due on next to give us travel and weather reports for the journey home...


Allan said...

I thought the book was traditionally Milton's Areopagitica?? If so what happened to it - was it pinched at merger. or has one of Ros's predecessor's flogged it on eBay?

Edis said...

I thought Areopagitica was the Badge of Office too, until recently, and wrote several postings praising Milton and the Party Connection – only at last to be gently corrected.

I would be really pleased if we found a way of bringing Milton back into our party symbolisms.

“ Lords and Commons of England, consider what nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governors: a nation not slow and dull, but of a quick, ingenious, and piercing spirit, acute to invent, subtle and sinewy to discourse, not beneath the reach of any point the highest that human capacity can soar to......”

Milton Postings

Consider a liberal nation of a quick and piercing spirit

War on war words

Working together for victory

Torture hope and honour