I have to admit that, in recent years, I’ve rather drifted through Party conferences. I don’t really have a role, and I’ve not particularly sought one. This year is different though.
This year, I’m organised, with a diary of things to go to or do, a speech I’m minded to give, and nominations to get (I’ll say more about that another time...). I’ve even got a job, albeit one that I might have hoped was unnecessary.
The journey down to Bournemouth has been pleasant enough, with some scenery to look at, and everything has run to schedule so far. Ros is already at our hotel, and dinner is booked.
So, what are my prospective “highlights”?
I’ve got a meeting of the Federal International Relations Committee on Sunday afternoon, which should be relatively uneventful, if brief. We’ve had to squeeze it in because it clashes with Jo Swinson’s Q&A session. Unfortunately, that means that it clashes with the Federal Board report, which our Chair really ought to be at, I guess. I’m hoping to escape in time for the Constitutional Amendments, given that I’m partly responsible for some of them.
Oh yes, that. The idea of changing the requirements for calling a Special Conference was not mine, but I’m claiming the solution, a percentage of both membership and Local Parties. It struck me that why not allow this to vary automatically as the Party expands or contracts, rather than having to amend it if numbers change significantly? I may not be wholly popular in certain quarters, but it does strike me that, in the Internet age, it’s much easier to rally opinion and support, and our Constitution should reflect that.
I’ve got some training to do too, which is unusual. I hope to make the session on “Running a data led Local Party”, although it is a bit early on the Sunday morning. On Monday, I’ve set aside time for sessions on “Unconscious Bias” and “People behind the scenes” (people like me, I guess), and on Tuesday I’m keen to support the “Be a Councillor - Making a difference as a Town or Parish Councillor”, especially as I don’t think that ALDC have done much of this previously.
I’ll probably be at the Peers fringe event (do come along, they’re mostly lovely!), and will be putting in an appearance at the LGBT+ Lib Dems AGM. Following recent events, they find themselves in need of a Returning Officer and, as they asked nicely...
I’m minded to put in a card for the debate on Business Tax, sensing that there might not be very many, and that I have an unusual perspective on the subject. The motion itself is a bit “motherhood and apple pie”, and I often suspect that politicians are happier discussing how to spend money rather than how it might be raised, but it is rather important. There’s also a motion on railways, but I’m not enough of a train geek to feel that a contribution would add value. But who knows?
So, fingers crossed, I’ll be doing things rather than drifting semi-aimlessly. And, if you run into me, do say hello. I’m a friendly soul and I don’t bite...