Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Liberal Democrat pilgrimage

Catholics have Lourdes or Santiago de Compostela, Anglicans have Canterbury and Hindus have Varanasi, all of which are perfectly charming, I'm sure. Liberal Democrats have Hebden Bridge, the font of cutting-edge campaigning ideas since Tony Greaves was a lad.

I've only been there once, nearly twenty years ago for a LYMEC seminar on Tourism. The sun shone, the Timothy Taylor's Landlord was perfect, and the crazy golf competition between the Young Liberal Democrats and the Young Liberal Movement went our way (make birdies, not war...).

And now I'm on my way back. A bit wiser, perhaps, a bit older, certainly, but back nonetheless.

Last night, Ros and I got to Lancashire, for a meeting with members in Wyre and Preston North. The Local Parties there are working hard to build a more effective campaigning machine, increasing membership and organising action days. We were made to feel really welcome, and we even won some cushions in the raffle.

We stayed overnight with Harold Elletson, whose family home is one of the more remarkable I've encountered. We ate dinner in an Italian restaurant in Preston, where we met up with Andrew, a journalist friend of Harold's, and chatted about the
media, Europe and tax policy. It's nice sometimes to talk about ideas. After all, a campaign is meant to be fun too...


Jennie Rigg said...

I hope you went for Abbeydale Absolution this time. Landlord is overpriced, IMHO [/real ale geekery]

Anonymous said...

I do hope Harold has repented since his days as a Tory MP, when he brought in a Bill to introduce ID cards; though looking at this he appears keen as ever on the idea, albeit in Burkina-Faso rather than the UK.