Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Welcome to the gateway to the Highlands!

I've made my way home from Perth, having spent the weekend at the Scottish Liberal Democrat Conference.

It's been a bit of a triumph for Liberal Youth, with their motion on equal rights and marriage being carried overwhelmingly, and then winning the Rae Michie award for membership growth after a massively successful Freshers round last autumn.

For me, it's been a fairly quiet affair, catching up with a few friends, doing a little shopping and getting a little down time with Ros. The Scottish Liberal Democrats give the impression of being a bit like an extended family, it's all rather cosy, and the Royal George Hotel suits them to a tee, as it is one of those old-fashioned hotels that has decided that comfort is more important than modernity. Yes, there is a fair bit of tartan, but the furniture is comfortable, the rooms have character, and the staff make time for conversation.

As a base for touring the region, it does very nicely, and we took the opportunity to take in a bit of scenery, with a detour to Dunfermline and Crieff on the way up from Edinburgh, and a drive up towards Braemar yesterday.

Dunfermline was a pleasant surprise, a bustling town with some decent shopping, and a few nice places for lunch. I took the opportunity to get a long overdue haircut, having a naked flame waved around my ears, as I did in Corstophine last year, and we did a little shopping for Ros.

Crieff is the home of the Famous Grouse Experience, but we settled for a stroll around the town, before heading for Perth, where we checked in and I left Ros to take a rest whilst I went to explore the town. To my great delight, I discovered a sale, and made another step towards the transformation of my personal style. I'll wear the tie in Birmingham...

So, what else did I get up to? I ran into the cream of Scottish LibDem blogging, including the effervescent Stephen Glenn, whose sartorial elegance on Sunday morning should not go unrecorded, and Caron, whose musings on football were a rebuke to the teasing remark that Scotland only really has two football teams. I also ran into Cicero himself, visiting old friends, complimenting him on his writings - always an education.

The Conference Dinner was pleasant, and I had the good fortune to spend some time talking with Hilary Stephenson, the Director of Campaigns. I hadn't really had a chance to find out much about her or get to know her better, but I'm impressed with what she had to say. For obvious reasons, our conversation will remain unrecorded, but she is a worthy successor to Chris Rennard.


Stephen Glenn said...

Thank you mark. I spent most time getting my shirt and tie combinations right for the weekend, especially Sunday as I knew I would be on the platform.

Mark Valladares said...


One should always find time for a compliment, especially when one is due. Perhaps you can make up for my relative conservatism!