London Liberal Democrat Conference
Posted by jonathanfryer on Saturday, 9th April, 2011
The regional conference that took place in the East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf today was confirmation that London Liberal Democrats have made a big step change — now a party in government, more professional, still signing up new members and bullish in the run-up to the Fairer Votes referendum in May. There was a stellar line-up of speakers, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, who strssed that the 5 May vote is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to change our anachronistic electoral system and that the result in London (where there are no simultaneous local elections, unlike in most of the rest of the UK) could make the difference. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, admitted it isn’t always easy being in government, but for all the difficulties, it was far less frustrating than being in the permanent comfort zone of opposition. Vince had for so long been the lone voice warning the trouble Britain under Labour was sailing into with its over-spending and over-light regulation of the banks. I suspect he is rather rubbing his hands in glee at Rupert Murdoch’s News International’s woes at the moment, though he was careful not to say so overtly. Lynne Featherstone, Equalities Minister at the Home Office, was able to reel off a whole list of Liberal Democrat ‘wins’ within her area of responsibility, including equal marriage and civil partnership rights. And Simon Hughes, Deputy Leader of the party, struck out a clear LibDem line on a number of issues, from nuclear energy to targetted assistance for pupils and students from poorer backgrounds. All in all, a great morale-booster for the approximately 200 delegates present.