To Brighton for the opening salvoes of the Autumn Federal Conference. For reasons best known to myself, I originally decided not to book a hotel room in Brighton, having found the prices being quoted a mite extreme even for my somewhat bourgeois taste. However, on discovering that English Candidates Committee would meet at 9.30 on Sunday morning, I realised that I had no urge to get up at 6 a.m. to get there in good time. So I booked a room in the Hilton for Saturday night and got an astonishing reasonable rate.
Sunday saw, apart from the excitement of English Candidates Committee, where I provide a touch of humour (not always a good thing) and a bit of colour (I still like the shirt...), a series of technical debates related to internal Party matters. Quite dull, particularly to campaigners and policy wonks, but nonetheless important. I had been tapped on the shoulder earlier in the week to ask a question on staffing numbers and staff diversity which, whilst I was actually interested in the answer, I can't help feeling was an opening shot in someone else's campaign strategy. So I should thank those who set me up... and for giving me a chance to test the brightness and contrast settings for the monitors on stage.
The evening saw the Lib Dem Blog of the Year award ceremony, with the august figure of Iain Dale in attendance. Lynne Featherstone made the presentation of the award, looking a little like the Lara Croft of Lib Dem blogging (check out the picture for yourself on the Party website). I'm not quite certain what brought that image to mind, but there you go... There was even a gold envelope, which I thought was quite a nice touch.
The winner? Stephen Tall, from Oxford. He does write very well, and isn't afraid to court controversy or lead the agenda, and he speaks well too. The overall quality of the top six really should encourage the rest of us to 'up our game' a bit, although I'll try not to overreach myself. But now it's time for bed, and my own at that. Back to Brighton tomorrow, no, make that today, though for more Liberal Democracy...