Spent the last weekend at the spring Liberal Democrat conference just up the road in Harrogate. It's one of those events that holds a soft spot for me—my first one was 2 years ago, just 2 weeks after I'd met [livejournal.com profile] theyorkshergob, so I spent both evenings with her in Leeds—we both think we'd have ended up together regardless, but the ability to meet up in Yorkshire really did speed things up. Anyway, it was a damn good weekend.
Met Howard Dean )
Official Voting Member—the POWER )
Faith Schools—they're WRONG, damnit! )
If, like me, you want to see the end of faith schools, take heart from this policy, it's a damn fine step in the right direction, and much better than what any party had before. If you think they're a good idea? I refer you to the words of the Accord chair, Rabbi Jonathan Romain:
I want my children to go to a school when they can sit next to a Christian, play football in the break with a Muslim, do homework with a Hindu and walk back with an atheist - interacting with them and them getting to know what a Jewish child is like. Schools should build bridges, not erect barriers
Amen to that.

G'night all. Gotta take the Shrub to school in the morning, and Jennie's getting an 8am train back.
Today, I went to Sheffield to attend a conference, knowing that I'd get to interview Nick Clegg while there. Unfortunately, despite arriving at the outskirts of Sheffield approximately an hour before I needed to, I was half an hour late for the actual meeting. Why?

Because Sheffield doesn't know what signposts are for

Here's an example. The conference is at Sheffield Cathedral. Lovely venue BTW, just about the right size, theoretically easy to find, etc. So while driving the outskirts of the city, I get to the ring road and there's a sign that says "for the Cathedral and [other stuff], follow Cathedral District". Simple enough. So I do, and the Cathedral District is well signposted along the ring road. Except for one small omission. No exit sign. At least not one that I saw. Guys, if you're putting up signs aimed at visitors, pointing out important attractions and destinations, it's useful if you make sure they actually tell visitors where they need to turn off.

Another example. One of the exits from the ring road is closed, so I can't follow the route in. There are nice diversion signs up. So I follow them. Unfortunately, at the next exit to the roundabout, the diversion sign is almost impossible to see from the lane you end up in. So this poor, and now late, stressed and frustrated visitor is in the wrong lane (again) and has no clue where to go. Good job I have a reasonable sense of direction and Google Maps installed on the phone.

Sheffield Lib Dems? I know you only took control of the council in May, and I'm told you're aware it's a disgrace, but still, please, for the benefits of your great city, the supposed hub of South Yorkshire, please sort out the directions signs so they actually help visitors. Thanks.

If you need some help, send some fact finders down to Devon. I grew up there, it's only when you leave you realise the lack of the damn things everywhere else. There's no point hoping for an increase in tourism if the tourists just get lost and frustrated...

This rant brought to you by the 'too exhausted to even proofread' section of Mat's Brain. The interview itself will, hopefully, get a write up tomorrow. Because, y'know, dude! I interviewed Nick Clegg. And prompted him to have a dig, on the record, at both Polly Toynbee and Jackie Ashley. Yay!
Really pleased that the radical shift to the left in taxation policy was passed at today's Lib Dem conference--couldn't make it into the hall to hear the debate unfortunately, but a genuinely redistributive policy that will genuinely help those earning the least in society has to be a bloody good thing.

Shift to the right?

For some reason there are a bunch of people convinced that it's some sort of shift to the right, and I haven't yet seen a decent explanation as to what definition of 'right' they're using. Admittedly, I've been utterly swamped on the registration desk and attending fringe events, so I've not had time to read through the debate, and as it's 3am and I'm back on the desk at 8.30am I'm not going to now.

Can someone please explain what the 'rightwards shift' is supposed to mean, as having finally read a copy of the Make It Happen paper I can see something that's both genuinely Liberal and nicely left wing in a genuinely radical way.

I'm not too keen on the tone of some of the marketing language they've used, and the over use of 'families' combined with 'no child left behind' did piss me off a bit, but having read the underlying ideas behind the rhetoric and knowing that it's aimed not at a BA politics type like me but at journalists and actual real, sane, normal people, I can get over that.

Decent left wing tax & reform agenda

So now we have a decent left wing tax policy reducing taxes for those earning the least combined with the traditional radically left wing political reform agenda. Now all we need is a commitment to level the playing field for those wanting to set up or convert to co-operatives, and this l'il liberal socialist will be very happy.

For the majority of non politics geeks that hang around this place, I'm at party conference in Bournemouth, I'm exhausted, and now I need to sleep. That's assuming Jennie's snoring doesn't keep me awake all night. Wish me luck...
Got back from Conference yesterday afternoon in a state of exhaustion. Played Dungeon Keeper lots in the evening as my brain wouldn't do anything else (and it was barely able to do that). Slept. Sort of.

Worked today, if you can call the half awake brain addled "guh" that I was managing instead of research working--not to self, don't start new projects the day after the end of a conference.

Am still not here. Had a great weekend despite the exhaution, met many many people and was bought many many drinks, which are good. Yesterday afternoon was not so good--I have no clue how my brain always says "St XXX" when it means "XXX St" and vice versa, but it does. Sorry darlin'

I have now also been reminded that I said I'd take the doggies out when I finished work. Which would explain why they're whinging at the door. Real proper updates with news, opinions and stuff might follow. Maybe. If I can wake up.
Oh look, soft southerner complaining about the weather again. At Lib Dem conference, working just next to the main doorway in. Not really practical to wear gloves while using a computer. Ah well.

Am working, have very busy patches then very quiet bits, may or may not have time to read, update or do other things. Will likely update Twitter regularly, they feed to Facebook immediately and get boosted here nightly, which is useful. No news to report yet, went to a seminar thingy with Lord Rennard and others last night, then ended up wandering around various Liverpool pubs with Alix, Rob and Colin--appears we can add another pair to the "couples wot Mat introduced" list, as well as the "people wot met through blogging" list. Good good.

Liverpool conference arena is very nice. Shame that the rest of the area it's in is still a building site, but the potential is there.

Oh, I'm getting LJ email notifications patchily if at all, so replies might be delayed even if I'm online. Apparently Jennie has updated twice in the last half hour, and I know there's no PC for her to use at the pub...
Worst conference pass picture of the day goes to [livejournal.com profile] sammymorse: we got the picture from the official profile on the website—congrats on the new job my friend, hope it doesn't stop you posting.

Most egregious thief of crisps from my packet—Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon.

Not quite got the 'ate my hamster' ring, but still, Paddy Ashdown stole my crisps...
Nigel Farage and his assistant the lovely Trixy. Has to be said that DK's fairly glowing description was accurate.
Worth observing for those not in the loop that UKIP are on the Libertarian Right but with a bunch of little-England headbangers involved, whereas us LibDems are liberal Left for the most part. His presence will likely cause some amusement.
  • Am in Brighton
  • Am exhausted
  • Am sat in massive double room I've got to myself in The Grand
  • Have been registering delegates all day, and only one crash, no printer problems
  • Am attempting to summon energy for food
  • Will then need energy for drink
  • Am using free broadband connection in room
  • Got the iron out earlier to heat up and thus dry the shirts that didn't dry overnight
  • I think some of the shirts had never been ironed before
  • Am thinking bullet point entries are easy to write
  • Have no idea how much time I'll have online
  • Am likely to be swamped tomorrow
  • Have had people come to say hello because they recognised my picture from online.
  • Seriously, it was a bit freaky
  • Did I mention the double room in The Grand to myself?
  • Am going downstairs to figure out who I might know
  • Might not post much this week, or alternately may spam much party geekery
  • Either way, you've been warned
Been sat most of the day with [livejournal.com profile] pinkshifter, [livejournal.com profile] mooism, [livejournal.com profile] andershanson_fd (who I'm also sharing a room with) and other non-bloggy types registering people and printing badges.

Surprisingly, the IT, printers and networking have mostly stayed working. Except for my printer, but, y'know, there's always one, and it's usually me. Hopefully I get to leave in a bit to go meet [livejournal.com profile] snapesbabe for coffee, but that depends on whether we get a rush. Cleggy just finished speaking, we have a feed on, couldn't pay attention fully as kept getting actual work to do.

Anyway, better sign off. Fun fun.
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


Stuff and nonsense

I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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