One of the pleasures of attending the annual Lib Dem conference is watching TV and comparing what you’ve experienced with the nightly reports. It’s not always clear that you’ve been at the same conference as the reporters and that’s as true this year as any other.
True I have heard two people with a real down on Nick Clegg, but I haven’t had any general sense of discontent with his leadership – or any general chat about which party we’d rather be in coalition with: Labour or Conservative. At least that was true until someone from the media offered me a yellow ball to put into their polling buckets, which I declined.
What I did enjoy today was two serious and thought provoking debates, because at a Lib Dem Conference we do have real debates where the outcome is not known in advance. Personally I was disappointed to see our stance on nuclear power reversed – I still can’t bring myself to back the creation of radioactive waste which will remain toxic for thousands of years – but I’m still proud to be in a party where the members decide the policy.
As interesting was the debate on controls of online pornography. I started with my own clear opinion – or was it a prejudice? – but listening to the views of many younger members of the party I became convinced that the solution of opt-out filters wasn’t actually a solution at all, and that we would do better to research the options carefully before coming up with a knee-jerk policy which might do more harm than good.
So whatever you see on the TV, in Glasgow one of the two parties in government is still debating hard about the world we want to see, and that the policies we want to put forward for the judgement of the British people. It beats watching from the stands.