Friday, 2 March 2007

At last: Aviemore report back!

A happy band of 5 Voting Representatives from the Ayrshire & Arran Lib Dems arrived
in Aviemore for Scottish Spring Conference, from the 16th - 18th February, this year.
Some descended earlier than others - Iain on the 14th (wearing his hat of Conference
Committee Vice Convener) and Ruby arrived on the 15th (she had a Steward’s briefing)
Jenny & Lewis found baby-sitters for the weekend to allow a peaceful (and possibly a
little indulgent) weekend and Andrew dragged himself away from studying for his finals for
three days. On reflection, the only time when we were all together was at the
"Conference Spin" social event on the Friday evening, where Iain was lucky enough to win
a bottle of House of Commons Whisky which was signed by most of our Scottish MP’s.
Before anyone asks - no he’s not opened it and no it’s not going to be a raffle prize locally!

Conference ran from 1.45pm on the Friday through until just after 1pm on the Sunday,
with debates covering a variety of subject from our vision for Rural Scotland to emergency
motions on flooding and the war in Iraq.

Jenny had submitted an amendment to the health motion, which was accepted for debate
by Conference Committee, so she had to speak to the amendment. She did this with a
great deal of eloquence, despite this being only her second ever speech at Conference.
When the amendments were voted on Jenny’s amendment was approved with only one
vote against - we are assured that Lewis was not the sole nay sayer!

None of the rest of spoke on any of the debates although Iain would claim that he was too
busy running about being Acting Conference Convener. Our friend Helen, who is the
Convener of Conference Committee was there but as she was, and still is, recovering
from a nasty bout of pneumonia, couldn’t do the running about required. Hence Iain doing
the headless chicken act! Iain also Co-Chaired several sessions of Conference prompting
one of his so-called friends to remark "He wis oan the stage mair oaften than Nicol wis!".

On the Saturday afternoon, whilst sitting in the cafe in the exhibition centre, Andrew,
Jenny and Lewis were accosted by a camera crew from the BBC. They appeared several
times on various BBC Politics programmes over the weekend and came across as decent
and sane people. It should be noted that this would not have been the case had they been
interviewed after consuming quantities of free booze at an assortment of fringe meetings.

It would be fait to say that the five who attended had a thoroughly interesting and
enjoyable weekend with a nice balance of policy debate and socialising. This year’s
Conference was the largest yet. There were over two dozen fringe events and about 30
stalls in the exhibition and there were nearly 700 passes issued.

Oh yes, Suzette broke her finger too - don't ask!

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