Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Reflections on conference from afar

I may not have been in Bournemouth (starting a new job after months of subsidence living) for this Autumn's Liberal Democrat conference. But the bits I saw on TV before heading to work have been encouraging.

On the night after the General Election I wrote:

"I know our party will come back strong again because the essence of what we believe in does bring about fairness and opportunity for everyone. It may be a few election cycles, a few years or even a few months before voters realise this. David Cameron and his unfettered Conservatives could well be the ideal recruiter of people to the Liberal Democrat's way of thinking."

Little did I, nor anyone else envision just what sort of shape that becoming strong again would be. I listened to many of those new members stepping up unto the platform making liberal contributions from the stage in debates. I've seen many of them filling the hall for every session. Although as a constitutional geek I'm sad to yet again have missed a successful  move to next business, I'll be pencilling in 2031 as a conference to remain in the hall at all times.

A few days after the General Election I went on to write:

"Our fight back is important because our core values are important to the general public. I believe they will soon realise this as the Tories start to dismantle freedoms, undo fairness and take people for granted. The very people that Liberal Democrats feel should not be enslaved by ignorance, poverty or conformity."

Therefore the reflection that these two thoughts have become two of the key thoughts of the party, two of the key themes of the leader's speech this afternoon, shows what it means to be liberal to the core. These are the instinctive motives that we wanted to express in our darkest hour in early May. It is what this conference was about and many of the motions reflected our ideals, many of the speeches showed this was deeply felt.

The time is right to stand up and be liberal. There are many out there who are shocked by the attitudes of David Cameron and the swings and roundabouts of the Labour party depending on the nature of the leader. Yet the Liberal Democrats no matter who is in charge are a voice of the people, because the people who make our decision on policy are not those in the Westminster bubble but the people from Cornwall to the Northern Isles, from the Wash to Cardigan Bay and all points in between.

See you all in York in Spring.

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