Unfortunately, due to a rather unfortunate lack of leave (yes, well, all of the trips I've taken thus far this year might account for that...), I am home, for good.
It's been, as far as I'm concerned, a pretty good conference. The tax debate was a welcome sign of the economic maturity of the Party, and I renewed a series of old acquaintances, some of which have led to a new appointment (subject to ratification, of course).
I have had the pleasure of acting as Returning Officer for the European Parliamentary selections for the South East Euro Region on the past two occasions (in 1998 and 2002/03) and was rather delighted to be asked if I would be available to perform an encore. Naturally, my current colleagues on the English Candidates Committee will have to approve this in due course, but I'm optimistic that they will.
I spent most of this afternoon debating positive action with my friend, Jo, from Beckenham. She argues the position fron the perspective of an ambitious candidate, I from the perspective of someone whose role is to create and maintain a level playing field within our current selection rules. We finally agreed that, regardless of what route we take in order to get more women and ethnic minority parliamentarians, there is going to come a point when our principles become contradictory. I suppose that it is a luxury that stems from not wanting to get elected that allows me to be somewhat uncomfortable with the prospect.
On the downside, a confidence I had shared was leaked, somewhat to my detriment. I am saddened that someone should choose to do such a thing, especially as I believed myself to be acting entirely honourably. Clearly, the same people who didn't believe that last year still haven't got the message. Curious, really... but I'm guessing that this won't go away...