Saturday, March 14, 2009

In Praise of Liberal Youth Scotland #sldconf

I've been attending Scottish conference for a number of years now since I came across in 2001.

I mentioned back at Autumn conference how impressed I was at the way our part encouraged it's youth wing in tabling debate and calling them to speak. We had a good number of contributions from Liberal Youth Scotland in Autumn, far more than I'd seen for a long while, but this conference there has been even more. They have all been of high quality and they had about half of the questions for the Leaders' Q&A session earlier to Tavish Scott and Alistair Carmichael. Some very good questions looking clearly at how they can be involved more and fully in the party.

I was sitting next to fellow blogger Callum Leslie during the debate below when I wasn't called. As soon as he got called before Jeremy Purvis to make the summation I knew my change for today had passed. But not grudgingly Callum made a good speech which managed to get the rare honour of being mentioned twice in the summation.

Outside me and Callum were approached by a runner for a TV crew to do a vox pop. We thought they's missed us as there when she came back near us they grabbed first James another LYS member and then another. However, they did come back and get me but not Callum a reversal of the debate itself.

I know that Callum is looking to becoming an approved candidate in time for the 2011 elections to the Scottish Parliament when he will be old enough to stand. He plus several of the other members of the current crop of LYS are certainly capable of being good candidates for the future and MPs and MSPs and I had great pleasure in signing up as a friend of LYS earlier. They may be costly friends to have, especially if they continue to entertain conference like they did so well last night but with the potential I've seen from them in the past six months, not forgetting Stuart Douglas over the past number of years I think it is a worthy investment and I'd urge the rest of the Scottish Liberal Democrats to be-friend LYS as well.

PS I'll let them disagree with me from time to time. After all I've been a Westminster candidate and hope to be so again soI must be part of the establishment. Eek! And 21 years ago I disagreed with the establishment as well.

UPDATE 15 March: Well done to LYS on two excellent presentations on motions on the Lower Income Guarantee and to Investigate the "Blood Ban". The latter saw Keiran Leach and Sophie Hall suddenly thrust into all the drama of conference when a reference back was raised. Which I observed from the seat behind them handling admirably every possibility that was being explained to them of this constitutional uncertainty being thrown upon them. The summation of the former earned Ruaraidh Dobson the Russell Johnson prize for Best Contribution in a Debate at Conference.

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