A First Timers view of LibDem Conference

Kay Jenkins joined LibDems after Brexit. She returned from her first LibDem’s Conference attendance in Autumn 2018 enthused and ambitious for us all.

Previously, I wrote an article for the newsletter explaining how I became a member of our party a year ago.

Well - this year another first for me - attending the Libdems Conference held in Brighton in the Autumn of 2018.

I was open-minded about how it might be but needed to know more about policy and its projected implications on others. In addition, as a Libdem in France to meet with fellow Libdems in Europe and abroad would be beneficial.

It didn't disappoint.

  Layla Moran takes the floor

Layla Moran takes the floor

There was a packed programme including the main auditorium events with key speakers, policy decision making and amendments; fringe events where the opportunity arose to question and speak with the podium speakers more informally; training and evening social events too. Networking for those who wish to engage was prolific but also access to leading figures, potential leaders  (usually wearing a suit whether dress, skirt or trousers!) and like-minded souls was excellent.

There were many first-time speakers at Conference who benefited from the supportive atmosphere whether formally from the platform or more informally from the floor.

It was all most informative and enjoyable, particularly on Party Policy issues, learning from others as they unpicked the policies and explored the surrounding issues and implications.

On a personal level it was pleasing to hear the inclusion, in policy discussions, of those of us who have chosen to live abroad.

Tom Brake in particular had definitely taken on board your comments expressed through the helpline for in a rousing address I heard key words from your concerns coming through. My thanks to those people who wrote it to us

There was also a tangible sense of being on the eve of electioneering whether that is for a General Election or a people’s vote on Brexit - despite the Government rhetoric to the contrary.

  If you are able to register to vote - do so - and use it!

If you are able to register to vote - do so - and use it!

I urge you to ensure that those who can vote are registered so if, like me you are registered, persuade those who you know are not, to do so, no matter what their current political persuasion. Libdems in France are fighting hard for the re-enfranchisement of those who have lost those rights. Those of us who are fortunate enough to still have the right to vote should be using them.

The Closing Address by Vince Cable was not delivered with the razzamataz of Tom Brake, Layla Moran, Jo Swinson, William Rennie, Jane Dodds and others, but rather with the forward-looking agenda that will move our party into the technologically advanced world that our youngsters will forge but with a keen social conscience.

I came away with a sense of being in safe hands. Vince Cable spoke as a statesman, something decidedly lacking in any other party.

So these are my Key Points of advice for the enjoyment of First-Timers at Conference:

·         Book accommodation early to ensure better prices and venues close to the Conference Centre

·         Order your packs in advance to set out a plan before you arrive

·         Amend your plan the night before each day as necessary

·         Build in time-outs during the day to recharge batteries (both yours and your electronic ones)

·         Be open to talk to new people

·         Take in the atmosphere of the location to ensure some fresh air, balance and a sense of vacation

·         Dress comfortably, however be aware that you may be inspired to speak so recognise you could be on TV!!

·         Enjoy and let us know your impressions on the website.

Finally my thanks to my friend Kevin from Sheffield and to Paul and Victoria on our exec, whose companionship and advice were greatly appreciated.

See you next Conference?