I’ve written this diary as a reminder to myself as to what I did at York. Also, as I am an elected representative, I feel duty bound to report back to local party members.Photo above is of Nick at his Q&A on Saturday.
Friday 7th March
I travelled to and from York by train, even though this was a little expensive compared to driving. I do enjoy sitting back on the train, as opposed to driving.
I arrived in York at midday in good time to leave my luggage at my hotel and walk back to the conference area in time for the 3pm consultative session. This involved walking 3.5 miles, mostly with luggage, but I like to keep fit.
The consultative session at 3pm was on the manifesto for the 2015 election, chaired by David Laws. A very interesting discussion during which I made two points: 1. About the importance of the EU in Foreign affairs and 2. About encouraging sustainable growth in the economy. I prefer these consultative sessions to the main conference hall debates. They are informal and fun. One feels as though one is really influencing policy at the grassroots. Whereas the hall debates involve quite a lot of “showboating”.
After collecting the lanyard for my ID card, I attended the “In Europe” rally in the main hall. Vince Cable made a very personal speech about his upbringing in York and why he has worked hard to improve further education/adult learning. His mother’s life was considerably improved by adult learning. She became a guide to York Minster as a result.
The rally had some excellent speeches about our place in Europe, mostly by women MEPs – hurrah! Our very own Catherine Bearder made a very good speech.
I then decamped to the Novotel hotel to attend an excellent fringe meeting on the Digital Bill of Rights with “Big Brother Watch” and Tim Farron, Julian Huppert and Jenny Woods. A fascinating discussion with standing room only. I asked a question about the UK allegedly doing surveillance for the NSA which would be illegal on US soil. Tim Farron agreed this was a big concern.
It was then 9.30pm and, aware I would need to get up early in the morning, I walked the 1.5 miles back to my hotel. I then found the nearby pub had finished serving food, so found a very amenable local kebab shop for a late night large doner kebab with all the trimmings.