Congratulations to the London Liberal Democrats conference team

We don’t always remember to say “thank you” often enough in the Liberal Democrats to those who do behind the scenes organisation, so here’s a genuine and well-deserved thank you to everyone who organised yesterday’s London Region Liberal Democrats conference.

It continued the pattern set with the previous one of using a much better venue than some of those used in years back and also one that is well suited to the number of people attending (unlike the previously popular Hamliton House which has many virtues but is just much too large). I know the conference team has put lots of effort into finding good venues, and that is paying off. Thank you.

Thank you too to Andrew Dakers for one of the funniest ‘welcome to conference’ opening speeches I’ve heard – showing his love and commitment to his own community whilst entertaining us with a series of amusing and interesting local history facts, including the news that Pocahontas lived in Brentford for a while.

It was also good to see a more diverse range of people attending than you see at many Liberal Democrat events, though even so despite the party’s membership being roughly 50:50 male/female, the audience was only around one-third female – reflecting how quickly gender imbalances kick in once you stop looking at the general membership and start looking at groups of people who are active in the party in some way.

In the morning I was one of the speakers in the panel on localism and community politics. You can blame me for the idea that rather than everyone sit there listening to us speak, we did some group work to generate ideas part way through… Terry has taken all the ideas people wrote down on the cards and lists of ideas for people and the regional party to follow up will be appearing via email shortly.

However, in that session when I was talking about the Campaigning In Your Community book, I forgot to use the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote I had dug out to illustrate why thinking about the principles of campaigning rather than simply the details of techniques is important, so here it is now:

The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

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