Liberal Democrat conferences are rather like local party AGMs in that the tendency in the party is to say ‘come to them’ rather than explain what happens and why coming to them is a good idea. Which rather matters if you’ve never been to one or other – or even both.
So why come to a Liberal Democrat federal conference? (Federal, by the way, means UK-wide, as opposed to a Scottish or Welsh Lib Dem conference, or one for one of the regions in England.)
Here are seven reasons:
- The fun of it: most people who come to conference find it one of the most motivating things that happens to them as a member in the year. That’s partly because of the chance to meet so many other party members, most of whom are very friendly. And also because of…
- The policy debates: lots of them, providing you both with a chance to help make party policy and to learn much more about our policies.
- The fringe meetings: these are much fewer in number at spring conference, but these too are a great way to find out more about all sorts of political issues from a wide range of speakers. At fringe meetings the panels are usually well-stocked with people from outside the party too.
- The speeches: you too can play Farron Speech Bingo (double points for mentions of Blackburn Rovers whilst he’s looking at the ceiling). Tim is one of several orators in the party who is really best heard live – and when on form, memorable live too.
- The democracy: we’re a democratic party and conference is a key opportunity to exercise your democratic rights as a member to make policy, hold those in power within the party to account and have your voice heard.
- The training: Lib Dem conferences contain a much larger training program for party members than those of the other main parties, and it’s all for free. Compared to what you’d pay to get similar training in the commercial sectors, it’s thousands of pounds of training all available at no cost. And that’s just the sessions I take part in 🙂
- And finally: other Liberal Democrat members greatly enjoy conference, so chances are you will too
I’m sure I’ve missed out on many other good reasons. Do add to the list in the comments.
And if those reasons convince you, the next federal conference is in York on 11-13 March.