Somehow, the natural padding which protects that part of the anatomy which is in contact with a chair doesn't seem up to the job on a conference hall seat. Today at the Liberal Democrat Conference in Bournemouth there didn't seem to be a problem at first. Nick Clegg's speech to a packed auditorium kept us on our feet as much as in our seats. It was a generous and gracious speech from the former leader, full of congratulation for Liberal Democrat achievements in government and regret at their rapid dismantelling by the Tories. It was positive and inspiring about the Lib Dem fightback.
The afternoon debate about Trident, and whether or not to replace our nuclear deterent, became a marathon, empassioned debate. The effect of length of session on the hardness of the seat was noticable too. The arguments between unilateralists and multilateralists moved the debate to and fro as the seats just got harder and harder. Eventually, the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons was reaffirmed and the multilateralist route adopted. Policy will be refined following the Trident vote in Parliament next year.
The Liberal Democrats are the only Party in which policy is decided by a democratic vote of appointed members at a party conference. But, we can do better than this! The afternoon wore on with arguments and votes about standing orders and the constitution. At last, before total numbness set in, OMAV (One Member One Vote) was approved. In future, every member at Conference will have a vote. Liberal Democrats can stand tall - what a relief!