miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
  • Voted lots, mostly against the establishment, sometimes on the winning side (once by just one vote)

  • Tweeted LOTS (you can follow me on twitter here, if you like, and want to get spammed next conference)

  • Got interviewed by Sky News, Winkball, and the Egregious Tory Tosser for LBC; and was seen on the telly lots voting, listening to debates and generally milling around conference.

  • Asked Cleggy a question in his Q&A session

  • Met lots of old friends and some new ones, including Daddies Richard & Alex, the lovely Caron, AC McGregor, The Delga LGBT+ Lib Dems massive, Helen Duffett, Gareth Epps, Linda Jack, Maelo Manning, and many more.

  • Failed to win a Botty. Although to be fair, the person who DID win the category I was up for was the person I would have given my award to had I won anyway.

  • Got mildly miffed that all the Botty winners were pale and male, and mostly pretty establishment - two MPs!

  • Exchanged pleasantries with MPs and exMPs including the awesome Lynne Featherstone and Huppmeister J, Greg Mullholland, Lembit, and President Farron.

  • Got increasingly annoyed at Transport West Midlands and their awful bus service which made me long for dear old First West Yorkshire (and I never thought I'd say THAT)

  • Et lots of baguettes at Eat4Less

  • Had to leave Glee Club stupidly early because of the afore-mentioned Transport West Midlands and their daft attitude to bus times

  • Plotted with several people to stand for FCC/FPC/FE in next year's elections under the banner of Liberate Conference, and threw my hat into the ring for the exec of Delga LGBT+ Lib Dems too

  • Spent the last day ill on the sofa, getting increasingly wound-up by the beeb's coverage of conference, having an argument with President Farron about Kendall Mint Cake (which he seems to be on the winning side of :( ) and ended it by swearing at Andrew Neil on twitter

All in all, as usual for Conference, there were ups and there were downs, but mostly it was up and I really enjoyed it. It was great to see the family again, and to have discussions and to disagree without falling out. It was great to see Daddy Richard make his first ever conference speech, and it was bloody fabulous that Lynne Featherstone announced Equal Marriage as ACTUAL GOVERNMENT POLICY! Roll on Spring, and Newcastle.
miss_s_b: (Who: Six (cybersex))
I'm assuming that's there's more than just me, [personal profile] magister, and [personal profile] po8crg who will be wanting to watch Doctor Who before The Botties. Is there a possibility we might arrange some form of group watchamacating?
miss_s_b: (Default)
Poll #7933 Glee Club
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: Just the Poll Creator, participants: 18

Glee Club is:

Horrifically Embarrassingly Awful and should be avoided at all costs
1 (5.6%)

Horrifically Embarrassingly Awful and should be ateended at least once just to see how awful it is
2 (11.1%)

Horrifically Embarrassingly Awful and should be attended every conference to remind one of how embarrassing it is to be a Lib Dem
1 (5.6%)

Awesome
12 (66.7%)

I feign ignorance. What's Glee Club?
2 (11.1%)

miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
Got an email today. I have been approved. It's a good job I hadn't waited till now to sort out accomodation - although the reason I hadn't is that a member of FCC had told me that they were only telling people if they failed and not if they passed and I (wrongly, it turns out) figured that I would have heard by now if I had failed.

Seriously, security theatre people? Three weeks to go and you're telling people if they have passed or failed NOW? Anyone with any sense will have booked train tickets and accommodation a lot further in advance than that.

(although to be fair, I am stopping with my brother anyway)

Remember, folks, Sunday morning 9 AM to get this farce ended.
miss_s_b: (Politics: anti-racist)
This makes more sense, although there's still a couple of things I don't understand.

1. If HQ staff don't want to get grief from angry members about this arrangement riding roughshod over the founding principles of the party, why not make it clear that they are doing this under the insistence of the rozzers, and not because they want to? Yet again, a lamentable failure in communication between the top brass and the grass roots, and with the level of suspicion that appears to exist on both sides now, can you blame some people for assuming that this has been done to keep non-loyalist members away?

2. How wussy are the Brummie rozzers? Because sheffield rozzers managed perfectly well without demanding passports and driving licenses and national insurance numbers, and Liverpool rozzers were absolute sweeties. Brummie rozzers are a bunch of cowardly authoritarians, clearly (whoops there goes MY approval)

So yeah... Obviously going off on one at party HQ staff is not going to achieve anything (and I know how overstretched they are at the best of times from when [personal profile] matgb worked there) but perhaps we can shame the Brummie rozzers into stopping this idiocy before too many members rip up their little yellow bits of laminated paper in disgust....
miss_s_b: (Politics: Democracy)
contains much swearing )

The day we demand "papers, please" to attend Lib Dem party conference is the day we have already lost.

#ldconf: the mood

Monday, March 14th, 2011 12:34 pm
miss_s_b: (Default)
There's always an overall mood to conference. Liverpool was cheerful and full of hope, for example, which resonated well with the host city. This one, though... was harder to categorise for me. It felt like there was something missing. Well, there were several things missing, from our beloved blogger of the year, to Viv who always leads us in We Shall Overcome at Glee Club, but there was something missing in the atmosphere. Old friends and new were there in abundance (shout out to the DELGA massive, among many many others), and yet somehow the smiles and hugs felt slightly brittle.

I think there's still a degree of discomfort in the party that we are now being protested against, rather than being the protesters. The protesters were mostly ok, and I had interesting conversations with several of them, but some of their behaviour left a sour note. When is it acceptable to tip a disabled person out of their wheelchair? When is it acceptable to hurl abuse at children? And while Alex4Galloway's response to her treatment was admirable - getting up to do a speech and tacking a bit onto the beginning about refusing to remove her lanyard, which I actually punched the air at - it should not be necessary.

Even Glee Club felt a bit subdued - Huppmeister J's very witty riff on Tom Lehrer notwithstanding - and the lack of Viv, plus kicking off with a modified-for-Barnsley version of Losing Deposits was sobering to say the least. The most heartfelt "singing" was definitely reserved for 12 Days of Coalition, and "BUGGER ALL" was belted out with almost venomous gusto.

So yes, we're finding bedding in to coalition difficult, and we don't understand why we are getting all the flak when we are the ones who are the brakes on the Tory juggernaut - or rather, we do understand, but we don't like it. But the doom mongers who say the party is going to fracture? I don't think they know us very well. This party has seen much much worse adversity than this, and come through with head held high. So yes, we're a little hurt, a little fragile, and a bit annoyed at our continued batterings for things which either we can't do anything about, or we are actively trying to do what the people who are bashing us want us to do and they're bashing us anyway. But we're not splitting, we're not giving up, and we're not losing our determination.

We're not a party of superficiality, we're a party of substance, and if you keep bashing away at the surface, all you are going to do is reveal that substance more clearly.



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miss_s_b: (Default)
The keynotes speeches at conference were a bit of a mixed bag this time. Floella seemed to be having bother with the autocue at the rally, and El Ex-Presidente's emotional handover of the gavel and On Liberty to Tim Farron was beautifully done but (given my I'm 4 Ros ness) was a bittersweet moment for me. Farron's speech was a barnstormer, as usual, and Cleggy did ok.

Cleggy's Q&A was interesting. Quite a lot of the questions he was asked were giving him a very respectful and mild-mannered kicking, and to his credit he only did a bit of ducking and eliding. He genuinely does seem to relish debate and interaction, and was visibly sad when the time was up. For me, the Q&A worked a lot better than his closing speech, which had some wonderful moments, almost all of which were then tempered with wrong. For example "We're not left. We're not right. We're liberal!" which garnered huge cheers, but was then modified to "we have the freehold to the centre ground in politics" - um.... No. We're not on the left right axis at all. We're not boring, middle-of-the-road, populist hoggers of the centre ground, and painting us as such does us no favourz.

And then he resurrected the spectre of Alarm Clock Britain. I don't know who keeps telling him that it's a good idea to remind people of the thing they hate, the thing that makes them get out of bed and go to work, the bastard alarm clock, in every sodding speech, but I don't know one single person who really resonates with the phrase. When he went into depth explaining what he meant by it, things became a bit clearer. This is his term for the squeezed middle, the entitlement queens who claim that nobody pays them any attention. Now sure, these people are important. But Clegg, in his speech, made them out to be the important people. Maybe in terms of courting their votes, but in terms of social justice? No. We should be fighting for the poor and disadvantaged and dispossessed, not those who are perfectly capable of fighting for themselves, and very often do so by trampling on the poor and disadvantaged and dispossessed.

Clegg did have a tough gig this time, though, so I can forgive him for hitting a couple of wrong notes. Yes, he's in front of a home crowd, but that home crowd is not necessarily a friendly one. For example, we had a lovely view of Sheffield Forgemasters from our hotel, and that spectre, however unjustified it may be, refuses to go away. And I think he slightly misjudged it. His keynote speech in Liverpool (co-written by the very sexy Richard Reeves) was absolutely dead on. This time he failed to reach those heights, which is a pity. But I'd still say he did OK.

Our new president, on the other hand, is still very much the darling of conference. By Cthulhu the man can do a good speech, and a passable song too (more on Glee Club later). His "I'm Northern, me" schtick went down very well in Sheffield, and he is excellent at judging the mood of a crowd and tailoring his speaking to match. In terms of the party presidency, I'm still not sure he's what we need at this time, but I love him as a speaker as much as I always have.

The other speaker I feel I should mention is Don Foster. We didn't have a CGB auction this time, but that didn't put Don off; he simply did his CGB auctioneer act for the whole of conference ayt the appeal before the leader's speech, and it was as witty and clever and hilarious as ever. It was a heartwarmer, and I was glad to see it happen.



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miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
At something of a rough time for the party, the FCC was perhaps wise to pick a series of Bread and Circuses motions for conference. Although some of what was said in debate might have been controversial outside the hall, not one of those votes was going to cause real ructions among the party faithful. I suspect, with a heavy heart, that this is why no Immigration motion was on the agenda again. The possibilities for adverse publicity are just too high with that one.

But no true Lib Dem was going to seriously argue against saving the NHS, or DLA, or Linda Jack's brilliant Youth Justice reforms. Yes, there were some scuffles over bits of each of these motions, but none of them was really controversial. The Strategy motion was always going to be adopted with whoops and cheers, and the Access to Justice motion was similarly loudly and enthusiastically adopted.

The thing is... Lib Dem Conference is about robust debate. And without it, it all felt a bit flat. Motherhood and apple pie is all very comforting, but I wanted some fire in my belly. For the first time ever the media are actually paying proper attention to what happens at conference, and while they are still doing their best to misrepresent us, we don't really help ourselves by not showing them the principled and glorious debates we can have over stuff we don't all agree on. The Diversity motion is a case in point. We seem to have one every conference, and usually it is a source of very interesting debate between the pro and anti positive discrimination camps. But the motion this time was such a flaccid fudge that nobody could really object to it. Not even me.

I can understand why, with the hordes* of protesters outside, there was the urge to hunker down and support the tribe. I just wish we hadn't given in to it completely.

* up to a thousand, but mostly just a handful, and on Sunday, for most of the day, just one



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miss_s_b: (Mood: Brain Hurts)
If you are going to go to an unfamiliar place, and fancy somewhere cheap and cheerful to stay, you might be considering an Etap "hotel". We decided when we went to conference that we would take that option. We were paying £40 a night for it; for reference, this is more than four times as much as you can pay for a night in a Travelodge.

I realise that £40 a night is a low price by hotel standards. The thing is, the Etap hotel in Sheffield doesn't meet hotel standards. I'd actually posit that it would struggle to meet prison cell standards. The room we were initially given had its window open when we dumped our bags. We shrugged, closed it, and went out to do conferencey stuff. When we came back we discovered why the window had been open. There was an all-pervasive stench of sewage. Thankfully the smell of sewage turned out to be optional; we were moved to another room and this turned out to be less aromatic, but in all other respects it matched the initial room exactly.

The bed wasn't merely uncomfortable; it was uncomfortable in that special way that only something that has tried really really hard to be uncomfortable can be. It felt like the mattress had been stuffed with builder's sand. There was just enough give in it to give me a really really bad back and wake me up with the pain at four am. The bed was also short enough for [personal profile] magister's feet to be hanging off the end. And, precariously balanced above the double bed was a single bunk at exactly the right height to bang your head on. But the bed wasn't my only gripe.

The bed is situated in a room which is... not luxuriously large. There is about an 18 inch gap around the bed on all sides. given that the bed was small enough for James's feet to be hanging off it, you can imagine how cramped this is. The toilet was in what we poor uninitiated fools thought was the ironing board cupboard. The walls of it were covered in pointy artex which scratched my arms when I needed the loo. And the bog roll... Well, it wasn't Izal. That's the most positive thing I can find to say about it.

The telly was default set to be unreasonably loud, and had a bizarre selection of channels - the usual 5 terrestrial ones, the day before's BBC parliament, and a French news channel. It was tiny and not well tuned in. There was one small chair that you couldn't actually position anywhere you might want to sit; it was a badly painted bit of plywood. It was not, though, I grant you, as badly painted as the doors of the lift. I've done better jobs myself. When drunk. The carpet was a horrible synthetic stuff which actually made my feet itch. The available food was Ginster's pasties, which were priced at £3 each.

There was no kettle, one very flat pillow per person, one tiny bar of soap for the whole room, and two small threadbare hand towels. We found someone else's hardcore porn in the room too. Which is always lovely.

And best of all, when I was in town on Saturday I went to Lush and bought myself some new stuff to use in the shower. Which disappeared this morning. The cleaner either threw it away or pinched it; whichever it was I don't really care. I just know that if I ever get the opportunity to stay in an Etap hotel again, I shall instead avail myself of the facilities of a park bench, which will be more comfortable and will at least not leave me feeling like I have spent four week's food budget on being tortured.



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miss_s_b: (Default)
  1. All those who fretted about us losing our souls to the coalition needn't have. The first day of conference felt really odd; there was a tingle in the air of nervousness. A lot of people were worried that coalition would have changed us, somehow, and that it wouldn't be the same. By the end of it, it felt like the same family gathering as ever. Sure, we were in a swankier house, with coppers outside, but everyone was still themselves, and that was comforting. Conference as reassurance? Hell yes.

  2. Family means emotions. Sara Bedford and Ros Scott both had me in tears with their heartfelt and amazing speeches. And, of course, Lib Dems are the huggiest party. I lost count of all the people I got hugs and kisses from, and they were ALL genuine, not media air-kissing.

  3. Delga fringes are the coolest fringes. Going from the very swanky Delga 21st birthday bash to the geeky tweet-up at the Baltic Fleet was a real comedown - although this was ameliorated by the very cool lady I met there (I don't know if she'd want me to mention her name) who was a single mother with enough drive and determination for a small army. We talked a little about pregnancy and parenthood, and I am full of admiration for how she is raising her daughter. People like her make our party what it is, and I salute her.

  4. It is possible for truth, justice, and the Liberal way to prevail. Millennium Elephant finally, deservedly, won the Lib Dem BOTY. I agree with what Richard said in his speech (you can watch the whole award ceremony here), that in the year that we make it into government for the first time in 65 years, there's something very appropriate about us awarding blog of the year to a soft toy. ♥

  5. The media are as clueless as ever when it comes to reporting conference. It's fairly standard for me to not recognise conference when I look at the media reports, but this year it has felt particularly acute. Adam Boulton and Nick Robinson were the worst offenders.

  6. Related to the above: the media will never notice the best bits. Nary a mention was made of Lynne Featherstone's barnstormer of a speech, which got a much-deserved standing ovation with whoops and hollers, and the Equal Marriage motion only got passing notice.

  7. Further related to the above: Sky News HD make CRAP Top Trumps. You all might know I am an aficionado of the game. I have thirty-odd sets of Top Trump cards. I like them very much. But when someone makes a set that gives sexy Vince a fanciability score less than half of Harriet Harman's? I'm sorry, but that's just wrong.

  8. Lib Dem Children are not like Tory Children. I'm sure we all remember William Hague's Tory Conference speech, which was always faintly embarrassing, and which the poor bugger still can't escape from. Maelo Manning, aged 11, made a fabulous speech on Gendercide at our conference, in shoes that make the Home Sec look like a scruffbag, and I wish I was as eloquent as she is NOW, never mind at her age.

  9. Glee Club still freaks people out. Hell, the first one I went to freaked me out. But this year, because we are in government, there were journos there. The guy from the Daily Fail got a lovely chorus of boos.

  10. Marks and Sparks make amazing breakfast cereal. And when I win the lottery I am totally going to do all my food shopping there.
Being home is weird and depressing. I feel very remote from things now. And I miss everyone so much. Post conference comedown is beastly. Oh well, at least the next one is in The People's Republic of Yorkshire, so it should be cheaper for me to attend...



This blog is proudly sponsored by Caron's Musings

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miss_s_b: (Default)
On my way out of the leader's speech yesterday I got grabbed by a nice lady from the Financial Times. Wasn't expecting much to come of it because she was grabbing LOTS of people, but she picked me out to follow on from Tom Brake:
Tom Brake, MP for Carshalton  and  Wallington, said the speech ticked all the boxes in that it “reminded any doubters the reasons why we went into the coalition” while also setting out the early wins the party had struck in shaping policy. “The mood here is positive.”

Jennie Rigg, a party member, said the leadership needed to keep hammering that message home to voters. “The good point was that it showed we have not lost our soul while we have been involved in the coalition.”
I was really hoping she would use the bits I said about the coalition being just a larger version of what we do at conference every year - everybody makes their views heard, we discuss things, we reach a decision - and she has kind of made it sound like I didn't praise Cleggy's speech to the gills with the way she started the sentence - which I very carefully did LOL - but I'm not unhappy. I mean, the FT! Cthulhu alone knows what the Daily Fail would have said about me... ;)



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miss_s_b: (Default)
Am on the sofa in what has been christened The Presidential Suite, which is a really gorgeous penthouse apartment near Lime Street Station. My flatmate and I are going to eat, and then I am going back into the fray, but for now I thought you'd like a quick update.

- BOTYs - Millennium finally winning the long deserved Big Boty was a very emotional moment; pointing and laughing at Charlotte as she went to collect her Non Lib Dem Blogger award was more fun. I am very pleased and proud that Andrew won the best posting award, too, although any of the five nominees would have been grand, because they were all awesome posts by people I love.

- Presidential bits - I have a fair number of signatures now (although not yet enough, so if you know any willing voting reps, do point them in my direction) and have handed out a fair few badges with [personal profile] tajasel's lovely logo on. One has appeared on telly already, adorning the lovely Gareth Epps, who is also helping in collecting signatures (so if you can't find me, Gareth and David Matthewman and Liz Williams have forms too).

- Voting for stuff - Have voted in a lot of policy motions, but am especially pleased that Gareth and Nader's amendment passed.

- Shout outs for people not mentioned above - The guys at Lib Dem Image who worked with their tiny badge maker to make my Jennie For Predident badges. Susan and Ian and the fag balcony massive. Brendan, who let me steal some of his sandwich. Count Packula, and Peter Black, both of whom I keep passing on escalators. And Tom Brake for sharing the Mum's Cafe table with me.



This blog is proudly sponsored by Caron's Musings

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miss_s_b: (Default)
Nomination forms have signatures on! Not enough, yet, but it's still cool.

Cooler still, though, is the fact that at long last Millennium has won blog of the year.

I have no laptop as yet, and the signal in the hall is pants. So blogging and even tweeting is going to be sporadic, and am composing this on my phone.

Oh yes, and OI ROBSON! Where is this Liberal Youth thing tomorrow that I'm meant to be at?
miss_s_b: (Default)
Lots of people have already written about special conference, so I'm not going to rehash everything that's already been said. I do want to thank [personal profile] po8crg for being such a lovely chauffeur, and buying me breakfast. It was lovely to see so many of the Lib Dem Massive, even if there were a lot of white heterosexual blokes in suits called David (some of them far sexier than others - my my, doesn't [personal profile] djm4 scrub up well?). There were loads of people not called David* too, and I lost count of all the hugs and kisses I got from people who I really do consider to be part of my family these days.

Ros chaired with her usual grace and humour. Evan moved a brilliant amendment (which I signed! :)) complete with Woddy Allen reference, as did the gravelly-voiced sex pot and Dave Page, the world's most activist activist. But my wildest cheers were reserved for [personal profile] djm4 and [personal profile] lizw's amendment on the Digital Economy Act, Daddy Alex's fabulous and witty intervention, and everyone's favourite eMP Lynne Featherstone, who did an absolutely barnstorming speech about working on the Equalities brief. I'm afraid I giggled through Simon Hughes's speech because he sounded more and more like Davros as he carried on, and the fact that the person next to me (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) saying ... and with this coalition, I SHALL HAVE THAT POWER!!!! in Davrosian tones did not help stifle my giggles.

Anyway, I came away from the conference feeling pretty euphoric, despite being ripped from the bosom of my family by an impending shift at work. We're not in any danger of losing our identity, or being subsumed by the Tories. We've not lost our radicalism, our integrity, or our sense of humour. We're a vibrant, diverse party with a determination to do good that I have never seen in any other organisation. I think the guys at the naughtily-named Nick Clegg fan blog said it best:



Whatever the eventual result of this coalition, I'm proud that we've taken the risk to get our policies implemented, I'm proud to be a part of this family, and I'm proud to have voted in favour of the main motion and all of the amendments to it. We're doing the right thing, and it feels good.



* aside from all those mentioned above, shouts going out to El Presidente and Lady Mark; Sian, Emma and Manny; Adrian, Jason, Romer, Crofty and the rest of the stewarding crew; Mummy Helen, Daddies Richard and Alex, and Millennium; Tessa Munt, Lynne Featherstone and Linda Jack; Susan Gasczack (one day I shall learn to spell your name) Jon Ball, Ian and the rest of the FCC and FE gangs; Ali G, Dazmondo from Bracknell Blog, Mark Reckons, Lloyd Harris, Andy Strange, James Blanchard and Gareth Epps; and most importantly of all the smallest conference delegate, Steph Ashley's daughter Alex, who is AMAZING and very cool, and I want to introduce her to Holly as soon as possible, because I think they would get on like a maison en flambé.
miss_s_b: (Pratchett: not dead)
  • Am on my third day off sick from work, and it's getting old now. My abdominal pain is less than it was, but still definitely there. I can't walk very far without making it massively worse - indeed, I haven't left the house since getting back from the doctor's on Friday, aside from a brief trip to my mum's to pick up my mother's day card from [personal profile] amazing_holly, who is at her dad's for the weekend.

  • I really, really REALLY wish I could have gone to conference. There are so many people I would have loved to see. Ah well. It'll have to wait till Liverpool.

  • I'm doing really well at sending conversation-killing text messages today.

  • I wish someone would magically tidy my house and do all the DIY that needs doing. It's ironic that being off work gives me the time to do it, but I can't physically manage it. And when I'm better, I shall have to go back to work, and then I won't have the time...

  • Biggest referrer to my blog this week outside of direct links and search traffic was Liberal Vision. I guess this means I ought to start reading them on a more regular basis (i.e. not just Sara's posts)... ;)

  • Trying to avoiding reading about/hearing about The Egregious Tory Tosser is getting more difficult. I turned off the House of Comments podcast less than half way through because I was sick of hearing his name. You know, I know he's the biggest blogger, but he's ONLY the biggest blogger because so many people link to him and talk about him and quote his inane dribblings. If we ignore him, he'll go away. And then perhaps someone who has some talent other than self-promotion might get to be the big daddy. Just a thought.



My March sponsor is Mark Reckons, and I suspect he'll have something to say about that last bullet.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Liberal)
I told Steve the hot bag check dude in Bournemouth that I'd see him in Birmingham, and maybe we could go for a drink, and now he's going to think I didn't mean it.

Dammit.

If he's there, can somebody tell him I am financially embarrassed, but will be at Liverpool? Cos, you know, he was hot. Mat got very amused by me rearranging my position in the bag check queue in Bournemouth so I'd get Steve LOL
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
Anyone with even the tiniest sliver of social grace knows that being a political activist of any stripe is faintly embarrassing. Politics is not cool and obsessing over turnouts and boundaries and psesphology marks one out as a bit of a weirdo.

How much more embarrassing, then, to be a Lib Dem activist. A social leper to even other politics geeks. Someone who hasn't got the entitlement complex and the brass to be a Tory, hasn't got the superiority complex and the moralising nature to join Labour. Someone who can tolerate being thought of as a sandal-wearing, muesli-eating, hippy do-gooder by most people.

But even among Lib Dem activists, there is a subset who are considered an embarrassment. Yes, people, I am talking about those of us who attend Glee Club. Glee Club basically involves getting drunk and laughing at bad jokes and singing painfully bad filks painfully badly. It's the political equivalent of your dad dancing at your 18th birthday party.

Glee Club is one of the things that make me proudest to be a Lib Dem. It's a giant two-fingered salute to all those po-faced arseholes who think that politicians ought to be staid and dull and grey. It says we don't care if you think we're an embarrassment; we've got a sense of humour and we don't care who knows it. It's a recognition of the fact that if you're going to make a difference to anything or anyone, first you have to overcome your embarrassment at standing out from the crowd. To paraphrase Kipling:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of raucous song,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Lib Dem, my son!
I hope all those of you who are on your way to Birmingham today will reflect on this, just a little. And if you attend Glee Club, raise a glass to me when they do the anthems and Ilkley Moor Baht 'At comes around. I'll be with you in spirit.



My March sponsor is Mark Reckons.
miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
I'm not going to Spring Conference, for various reasons. Those of you who are? Please support the lovely Bridget Fox's Emergency Motion on Freedom, Creativity & the Internet.

And, you know, have a good time, and sing Ilkley Moor really loudly at Glee Club for me.



My March sponsor is Mark Reckons. He's worth reading, you know.
miss_s_b: (Sci-fi: McCoy)
Will Howells has just made a comment on twitter that reminded me of one of the things that struck me at conference.

Cleggy is Captain Kirk.

No, seriously, stay with me on this one.

Kirk has a kind of gung-ho charm, and his heart's mostly in the right place, but he ain't all that as far as captaincy goes. What he has got, in Spock and McCoy and Sulu and Scotty and Uhura and Chekov and even Nurse Chapel, is a top notch team. He also has the management skills to deploy them where their talents are best suited, even if this means bending the rules a bit sometimes. I also suspect that Kirk's had at least 30 ladies.

The problem we have, as a party, is that we have a Sulu in Chris Huhne, and an Uhura in Jo Swinson, and a Janice Rand in Lynne Featherstone, and a Nurse Chapel in El Presidente... But the whole rest of the party is stuffed full of Spocks, and much as I adore the Spockster, we really could do with a McCoy or two to balance things up.



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miss_s_b: (Politics: Goth Lib Dems)
Anyone who watches conference on the telly might have, quite understandably, got the impression that conference is all about sitting in an auditorium watching stuffed suits make long speeches about arcane bits of political geeky stuff. Now, that is a part of conference, to be sure, but it's not a large part. El Presidente mentioned at one point (I think at the "new to conference?" event) that she'd been to a couple of conferences in the past and not managed to make it into the hall once. This came as no surprise.

Obviously, apart from the debates and things in the hall, there are many many many training events and fringe debates and things like that. And a lot of you will have heard about those too. What you may not have heard about is the general air of silliness and fun that pervades the whole thing. Liberals are perplexed when people start taking the mickey out of us for laughing in the leader's speech: isn't that what the leader is for? Laughing at? Cleggy certainly seems to understand that, given the jokes he makes at his own expense. The start of conference rally involved Sarah Teather making a series of near-the-knuckle jokes about various political scandals. Many of us went to the beach after the leader's speech and spent time making incredibly silly sandcastles. But the king of all silliness is, of course, Glee Club.

Glee Club is a bizarre concoction of bad comedy, worse singing, sexual innuendo, and vast amounts of drinking. It's the kind of thing that shows that no matter how much the media and other parties might try to show us in an embarrassing light, there's nothing they can do that will show us up as sillier and more embarrassingly uncool than we will voluntarily do ourselves. [personal profile] matgb detests Glee Club. Possibly because he still has some residual cool. One person I have never noticed actively participating at Glee Club is The Honourable Lady Mark. But then, given the sort of people he hangs around with, I don't think he'll ever be uncool enough. The swine. It certainly scared the living daylights out of [personal profile] awesomegore, and for that reason alone is worth celebrating, in my view.

I'm trying to think of a way of describing it which conveys the true, magnificent awfulness of it, but I just can't. It's something which has to be experienced to be believed, and then you'll either embrace it like a lover or run away screaming.

Obviously, bearing that in mind, I have several ideas for new filks running round in my head to try to submit to the Liberator songbook. Several of us were agreed we definitely need a bloggers' song....



This blog is proudly sponsored by Andrew Hickey, who will get a pretty logo when I get back from conference and have time to arse about with the graphics prog.
miss_s_b: Peter Falk as Columbo saying "just one more thing" (Mood: And another thing)
I'm going to put this in small and easily understandable words for the hard of thinking (of which there appear to be many in the media and on t'intarwebz). I might, therefore, oversimplify things a bit. If I do, I'm sure my fellow Lib Dems will pile in and correct me.

At Lib Dem Party Conference, the membership decides party policy. Now, I realise that's a difficult concept for most of you to grasp because you still haven't fucking grasped it, so I'm going to unpack that a little for you. It goes like this.
  1. Someone has an idea for a policy - might be the Leader, might be Vince Cable, might be me, might be ANY party member.
  2. They submit this idea to Federal Policy Committee - elected by the membership - who have a look at it and decide whether or not it's sensible enough to put before conference. If our hypothetical policy has some merit, and is properly researched, and has evidence backing its viability, FPC will put it before conference.
  3. Conference then debate it, and then vote on whether or not the party should adopt it
Now, there's still room for some misconceptions here so I'll clear those up for you:
  • The leadership's policy ideas do not just get "nodded through" - see the bloody nose they got on tuition fees this week.
  • This is not a "spat" or "infighting" or "indecision" or "confusion" or "disloyalty". It's a proper, open, transparent decision-making process, so that not only does everyone know what our policies are, but they know how we arrived at the conclusions we did.
  • Conference is not a grandstanding opportunity for media-savvy scripted speeches, it's a DECISION-MAKING PROCESS
Is this clear enough, or are people still going to make lazy straw men? No, don't answer that, I think I already know.



This blog is proudly sponsored by Andrew Hickey, who will get a pretty logo when I get back from conference and have time to arse about with the graphics prog.
miss_s_b: (Mood: Terrified)
The unmitigated evil of Count Packula, Prince of Markness, knows no bounds. He has put up a YouTube of part of the blogger interview with Nick Clegg. It may be of interest to those of you who like the internet, and are concerned about file-sharing. It might also be of interest to those of you who want to point and laugh at me. Christ I need to lose weight. And work on my posture. Eurgh.



(link here)

I'm blogging this to distract me from the terrible misrepresentation of my party by Digby Jones and Michael Hesletine on Question Time. Laws is holding his own, though.

Will blog the rest of conference in a bit.



This blog is proudly sponsored by Andrew Hickey, who will get a pretty logo when I get back from conference and have time to arse about with the graphics prog.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Beer!)
I realise that most people bugger off home immediately after the leader's speech, but would anyone who isn't doing like to come and build sandcastles with us? We'll be on the beach (obviously). Anyone who buries my crutch will be in bother. And, as the signage says, beware of groynes!

Things to blog about when I get chance
  • shocking BBC camerawork

  • awful constitutional amendment

  • Charlotte Gore's fringe event

  • Glee club

  • probably lots of other stuff


This blog is proudly sponsored by Andrew Hickey, who will get a pretty logo when I get back from conference and have time to arse about with the graphics prog.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Beer!)
More bullet points from the coal face of conference:
  • Liberal Drinks last night was a huge amount of fun, and the beer was GOOOOOOOOOOOOD - please take note FCC (not Gareth and Jon who have already noticed the importance of Proper Beer, but all of you other buggers - yes, I'm looking at you Mr Ginandtonic Brack :P). Apropos of nothing, remind me later of the necessity to take my revenge on [personal profile] po8crg for his evil last night, will you?

  • Matt from politics.co.uk has been about and he's asked me to plug the new blog channel they have on there, which has reviews of and feeds from over 700 of the most important blogs. This one is, of course, among them :D At some point soon they are on about adding user ratingness to the functionality, which will be interesting...

  • Fine speeches this morning from Ros and Susan and Daddy Alex were all missed by me. Fortunately there is the joy of BBC iPlayer, so I'll be catching up on them later. Lady Mark fed me the interesting titbit that Ros's speech this morning was technically her maiden speech to conference. Which made me feel even MOAR guilty about missing it...

  • My televisual appearance yesterday was all my cleavage and none of my face, but I'll likely be on tonight between half past five and quarter to six, if only for a minute.

  • Richard Dawkins was AWESOME yesterday, and had his picture taken with Millennium and everything.

  • I know I am getting old now, because I have met a bunch of Liberal Youths and they all seem so YOUNG...

  • Even though we are really busy, I am missing my babies enormously. I have been reassured by their various minders that they are all having a good time, but it's getting to the point now where it will be nice to get home to them...


This blog is proudly sponsored by Andrew Hickey, who will get a pretty logo when I get back from conference and have time to arse about with the graphics prog.

About This Blog

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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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