Another dry Sunday has given me the chance to do something that I haven’t done before. Finally, after living in Worksop for over 25 years, I have been to see the snowdrops at Hodsock Priory. It was well worth the visit and the shame is mine that I have not been before as I driven passed the entrance countless times during the season and never made the time to go before to see what is a wonderful site.
It certainly made a change from how I spent yesterday, which was at a school in Kettering at the East Midlands Liberal Democrats Spring Conference. While the day was spent inside, it was just as exciting and interesting. It was great to meet up with so many friends & colleagues around the Region.
One of the problems with being so involved with the party at this level is that at a meeting like this is that there never seems to be enough time. As I was proposing one Policy Motion (see the details later), leading the session on our campaigning for the Euro Referendum, and also trying to contribute to other sessions, I never seemed to stop. Even in the lunch break I was asked to give my opinion on issues in another local party.
All the same, I wouldn’t miss these Conferences, both Regional & our Federal Conferences (York in two weeks) at hey always help renew my energy for the campaigning ahead and remind me what a wonderful group of people the Lib Dems are, giving up their time &money to support the party, always (well nearly always) with a smile and a cheerful word for everyone.
As I said, I proposed a Policy Motion at the Conference. This motion was on the Tory plans for what they call Devolution. The full wording of the motion as amended is being compiled but for now you can see the original motion here and my speech proposing it is here. As I say in my speech, the plans for devolution to our area are all about “… shifting the blame for cuts to services from central government to underfunded Mayors” rather than moving power away from Westminster down close to ordinary people.
I am pleased to say the Motion was overwhelmingly passed and that will mean that the Lib Dems will be leading the opposition to the plans to force an Elective Mayor with little effective oversite on our area. Personally I am no less enamoured with the efforts of some to link us into a similar arrangement in South Yorkshire (which, if successful would result in a terrible muddle of conflicting authority over who runs services in Bassetlaw) rather than the North Midlands, both plans are terribly flawed and not in our interests.
The session I ran about our Euro campaign for the Referendum, concentration on how to put our messages across in clear concise language. (It is an undeniable fact that Lib Dems like the sound of their own voices and prefer to use 10 words when 3 or 4 will do). The session was run in conjunction with the Britain Stronger In Europe group (who we are working closely with to make sure we win the vote in June) and help generate a number of really good phrases that we will be using in the weeks ahead.