LibDemVoice have for the last few years nominated a time and a place for an informal drink and meet-up for internetty Lib Dems to let their hair down and have a chat.
This time around, we weren’t quite fleet enough of foot to get any such event in the conference directory, so we will have to rely on word of mouth helping to spread the details.
After a quick chat on the topic in Lib Dem Voice’s private members’ forum, we settled on meeting at the Wellington pub, a short distance from the conference centre itself, on the Monday night of the conference week. Kickoff will be around 7.30pm.
In addition, Lib Dem Voice have our usual strong presence at the conference, with the following events planned:
Lib Dem Blog of the Year Awards 2011
Join LDV and online friends for a walk down the yellow carpet to award the 2011 BOTYs. Categories,
nominations and public voting all happen in August at http://www.LibDemVoice.org Saturday, 17th September, 10pm onwards Hyatt Regency, Andante
Do we need a Coalition ‘exit strategy’? Preparing for 2015
How should the Liberal Democrats campaign as a distinct party in the next General Election? Our panel of experts explore the party’s options for 2015. Tuesday, 20th September, 8pm
Jurys Inn, 102
Lib Dems and the Media: friend or foe, and does it matter?
“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Media coverage of the Liberal Democrats has increased hugely since the 2010 General Election campaign – but have we got the coverage we craved? Wednesday 21st September, 1pm
Hyatt Regency, Fortissimo
This lunchtime, Lib Dem conference representatives gathered in the staggeringly poorly signposted Hall 1B to hear a stellar lineup of Susan Kramer, Evan Harris and interloper Will Straw from Left Foot Forward hold forth on the subject of “Fairer? For whom?” – excellently wrangled by the chairman, our own Stephen Tall.
As with all Lib Dem Voice fringe events, we were there with our trusty recording equipment for posterity, and for the readers of Lib Dem Voice at home who were not able to join us at conference. I’m sure it will also be helpful to those LibDemVoice editors who carelessly agreed to deliver training at the same time as one of our fringes.
Last year, LDV made recordings of the plenary sessions – still available here, here and here – if you want a flavour of the day. We intend to be there in June – and our aim will be to ask councillors across the UK to write more for LDV on how Lib Dems are making a difference on the ground.
Last night, I joined Steve Hitchins and Laura Willoughby at Birmingham Council House for a training event all about encouraging local parties and council groups to recruit a new generation of councillors.
The session was called “Be a councillor” – and I hope each and every one of you reading these words has heard of it, not least because for the last month and the next one, they have been advertising on Lib Dem Voice in a beautiful Flash advert on our sidebar. The programme continues around the country, and you can find a full list of venues on ALDC’s website.
The event is targetted squarely at existing councillors and those people running local parties – something not immediately clear from the title of the training session. There is some value in attending if you yourself want to be a councillor, but the people who will gain most from this are those charged with recruiting the next group of people who will represent the Liberal Democrats on local authorities up and down the country.
It was an enjoyable and thought-provoking evening. Topics covered included the changing role of local government; the qualities needed in tomorrow’s elected members; and what local parties need to do to attract and hold onto quality people. The evening culminated in asking each of us there to write out a list of people we knew in our wards and constituencies who would make good councillors. Between us, we identified 184 people – many of whom do not yet know they are Liberal Democrats!
Perhaps the most useful thing I took away from the session is the need for local parties to be clear about just what they are asking of both existing councillors and new ones. Are your approval processes adequate? Do you have a job description saying what you expect from your councillors? And do you have a councillor contract? And on all of these things, ALDC can help.
Be a Councillor continues its UK tour (Laura Willoughby promised there would be gig tshirts soon) – the next date is April 20th in Eastbourne – but the full list of venues is here (pdf).