Saturday, November 06, 2010

Reassuringly reassured in Brightlingsea

It's easy to feel a little bruised now that we're in Government. Before the election, all you had to cope with was that sense that you were being either patronised or ignored. Now, people blame you for stuff, as though it's your fault. Which, I suppose, it now is, depending upon what it is.

However, across the country, life goes on for Liberal Democrats across the country, and it's Annual General Meeting season. And it was such an event which drew us to Brightlingsea, in Essex.

Brighlingsea is not somewhere that people pass through on the way to somewhere else, indeed, there is only one road in, which winds its way to a town of about 8,000 people on the coast just west of Clacton. Ros and I were to meet at Manningtree, where she would collect me off of the 5.30 train from Liverpool Street, and we would drive on from there.

We arrived in the middle of the AGM, that of the Brightlingsea branch of the North East Essex Local Party, and it was one of those reassuring events where there are no surprises, and the Executive carry on without opposition, because everyone is happy enough with how things are going.

Janet Russell, who will be familiar to many Liberal Democrat conference goers as the lady who sat behind the table near the stage, accepting and processing speakers' cards, and is still one of the army of stewards who make Conference work, is an old friend from my days in Liberal International (British Group). More importantly, she is a former Mayoress of Brightlingsea, and is currently Deputy Mayor of the town.

She lured me, and thus Ros, to the Essex shore with a promise of sausages and mash, and we were not to be disappointed. To be honest, you have to try quite hard to get a bad sausage in East Anglia, given the number of high quality pig producers around the place, and these were pretty damned good.

Ros spoke about how she got into politics in the first place, and then talked about the Presidency, why she ran, what she has done, and what the job is about. After that, she talked about the Coalition, and why it was the best show in town in terms of putting Liberal Democrat policy into practice. It seemed to go down well.

After dessert, there was a raffle. It turned out to be, quite possibly, the longest raffle I have ever experienced, as people didn't want to accept more than one prize, and kept telling Gary Scott, our raffle compere and a councillor on Tendring District Council, to 'put it back'. I did win an interesting looking bottle of Patagonian merlot, which I'm looking forward to opening at some point.

But all too soon, it was time to drive home, as the rain fell heavily over North East Essex, to our little countryside village...

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