I do wonder how much attention Martin Kettle paid to the Liberal Democrat conference this year before concluding that policy debate at it was a thing of the past and that factions have gone quiet on the fringe (The Guardian, 7 October).
The former claim he bases on one vote that he disagrees with – and skips past all the many hours of policy debate there were at conference. As for the fringes, the reality at Liberal Democrat conference is that factions have always been very few in number and weak in allegiance compared to the other two main parties. But if anything with the rise of the Social Liberal Forum and its very high profile fringe program, the trend is the complete opposite of what he says. Nor is his claim about attendance levels by party members at Liberal Democrat conference compared to the past backed up by the actual evidence.