Monday, 19 September 2011

What have you done today, to make you feel proud (AKA the day my face was on BBC One)

An exciting, if terrifying, day 3 at conference.
I submitted a question to Nick Clegg's Q&A on a whim this morning and didn't expect them to call me in a million years. It's my first conference and I've never spoken before so I wasn't prepared but I think somewhere in my mind I knew I had a good question, I sat deliberately at the end of the row in case I needed to get to the intervention mike for example. But nothing quite prepared me for Andrew Wiseman reading my name out in front of a conference hall full of people then promptly introducing Nick Clegg and leaving me quick terrified in front of a mike-less intervention mike (quickly remedied luckily but it didn't help my nerves!). I'm sure I was blushing and speaking in a ridiculously shakey voice but hopefully, with the first public speech out the way, I'll get better!


When I did A-level politics we looked at US party conferences and it was said they performed very little practical function but served to bolster the commitment of the masses. With the level of democracy Liberal Democrats exercise our conferences are never going to be merely decorative but I never expected to feel so inspired by the debates, speeches and fringes! For someone who lives in a Labour town and moved to a Labour city, someone whose only work on a political campaign ended with a loss followed by a candidate defection, someone who as a student had to face off against so much anger over tuition fees being surrounded by people who share your ideas and beliefs is incredibly uplifting :D


I have yet to develop a cool and calm attitude when faced for politicians and news personalities I see around the ICC. Today I've seen Chris Huhne, Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Jeremy Paxman, Nick Robinson, James Landale, Andrew Neil, Lynne Featherstone, Paddy Ashdown, Tim Farron, Ming Campbell, Brian Paddick (more about him below) and many more and I still can't keep casual about it. Actually I hope I'm never casual about it! The utter geeky pleasure I get from seeing these people reassures me I'm involved in a party I love and studying a subject I adore and I don't ever want that to go away!


One event I particularly enjoyed was the Stonewall and LGBTLD fringe this evening which focused on increasing LGBT representation in politics, media and sport. The panel included Ben Summerskill, Simon Hughes (even if he was terribly late!), Stephen Williams, Belinda Brooks-Gordon and 2012 Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick. And I must admit it does appear that the latter was almost certainly the most popular with the audience there and on a personal note I do love the man. There's just something about him that is so distinctly un-politician like about him that I just think suits London and suits an elected mayor, I'm committed to giving up as much time as I can and travelling to London and campaigning for him because he's brilliant. The event was very inspiring and my determination to further gay rights I spoke of over the weekend is strengthened yet again :)

Tomorrow, MSM blood ban unfairness!


Quick P.S. I've just watched Newsnight from the conference and I am fantastically proud of every Lib Dem in the audience because they took no shit from Paxman, even when goaded, they defended the coalition and our role within it and they showed Britain we are not Tory lapdogs and we CAN make a difference to this country!

P.P.S My face was just on BBC One, listening while Nick answered my question. I wish it hadn't been! Luckily they didn't show me asking the question, probably owing to the amount of shaking I was doing at the time :|

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