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The last day Sep 21

As I type, it’s relatively early on Thursday morning and I’m knackered. Going night after night with rather less sleep and more beer than usual takes it out of you.

I’ve finally managed to get back on one of the PCs in the conference centre. Since we last spoke, I’ve not actually been to that much, preferring to potter around aimlessly much of the time. I did make it into the hall for a debate on water conservation and another on local government. The latter was one of the oddest debates I’ve ever been to and culminated in the very LibDem result of a “reference back” – basically declaring that the local government policy paper wasn’t good enough and asking the Federal Policy Committee to think again. Andrew Stunnell, who had been on reasonable form when he opened the debate, made the not unusual parliamentarian mistake of responding grumpily to the reference back motion which actually made him less likely to win the vote.

Popped along to Michael White’s interview with Ming Campbell, which would’ve been better if White had concentrated on asking questions rather than cracking contrived jokes. This session was followed by Ed Davey’s campaign presentation, which, despite its name, was a speech – mostly good, with some interesting content, but one or two rather dodgy jokes.

On Tuesday night, I went to a BBC World Service panel on global (in)security in the post-9/11 world. The panellists included Paddy Ashdown and Tim Garden, both of whom were excellent. Went on after dinner to a disco, which, as always at conference, had some of the hallmarks of a wedding reception. At midnight, the mixing desks turned back into a pumpkin and we reassembled in the hotel bar.

Sat on the Liberal Democrats Online stall for a bit yesterday, from which vantage point I spotted BBC Chairman Michael Grade at the BBC stand. After a cheap dinner of chicken and chips (as by Wednesday the cash runs dry) I went to the Liberal Democrats Online fringe on online campaigning. This was packed, which was good to see, and all three speakers – Mark Pack, Martin Tod and Ed Davey – had lots of interesting things to say. Then to Glee Club, a very traditional Liberal do involving communal singing. It’s a bit variable, but was fun once it got going, and the Liberal Revue team (who were in a pitiable state*) contributed some funny turns to liven things up. Had a relatively early night, sneaking off to bed before 2.

Up this morning mainly to get a PC before the rush. Got a shower courtest of the window cleaner at the Metropole who looked suitably apologetic.

*Makes no sense if you weren’t there. Sorry.

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