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Larry Ngan shares his experience of his first ever LibDem Conf

September 24, 2018 11:35 PM
By Larry Ngan
Originally published by Chinese Liberal Democrats

Larry NganI was always tempted to have a first-hand experience of the LibDem national party conference, and this year I finally made it.

My overall verdict is: my schedule during those 2 days became so packed, and I got more than what I anticipated.

It was a dynamic and busy weekend with a lot going on. The guidebooks filled with all sort of events. There are a lot of things going on: debates on policies, fringe sessions, trainings and others. On top of it, there are Easter eggs in the conference because there are a lot of events which are not mentioned in the guidebook/agenda.

I spent most of my time on training and fringe sessions. The ALDC organised some very knowledgeable training sessions throughout the conference, and I struggled a bit to choose because there are so many good ones! They provided some very good insights on how to run an election campaign, how to become an approved candidate, and how to analyse data while fighting in an election etc.

Most people I met during the training sessions were very helpful to each other and the organisers tried their best to answer our questions. I even made a few new contacts!

I also helped out with the LDCRE (LibDem Campaign for Racial Equality) counter for a couple of hours and chatted with some of our party members about the campaign. It was interesting to chat with others and find out the challenges we faced in different parts in UK regarding the racial diversity and equality in the party.

The rally and speeches during the conference are the highlights of the conference. It was exciting to hear the speeches from major figures in the party. Ian Kearns's speech during the rally was particularly uplifting for we remainers - Ian was until recently, a member of Labour. Layla Moran's speech was inspirational and providing an insight on the education policy in UK, and Vince Cable's speech was insightful for how our party is about to be reformed.

The training and the main speeches ended at 6 pm every day, but there are still a lot going on around the conference hall. Organisations like ALDC and LGBT+ held their AGMs after 6pm, and it was a good chance to know people from these organisations, get a better understanding in how these organisation runs, and make a few new contacts.

Some organisations such as LGBT+ and London Liberal Democrats organised their anniversary dinner and evening drinks during the night time! I attended the one organised by Chinese Liberal Democrats, the guest speaker is Paddy Ashdown and his speech was entertaining! The atmosphere, like other events in the conference, is relaxing and we can have some good conversations during the dinner.

The only mistake I made is to be too money-concious and not book any hotel in Brighton, so I couldn't attend any party organised overnight drinks. Rushing back to London on both Saturday and Sunday was exhausting, but what I achieved during the conference is more than the cost of being exhausted. I will definitely come to the conference again on next year and see what I can get. If you've never been I would really recommend it!