M'learned friend pointed out (as we mused over the proposed boundary changes) that the back half of the Aviemore conference hall wasn't being used during the Lib Dem conference. If you look carefully you can see that the seats were all covered with black drape - in order to disguise a half-empty hall no doubt. The place only holds 650 when it's in full use, so there could only have been around 300 in for Horlick's speech and even fewer for Nicol Stephen's speech. Why so few?
Granted, the Lib Dems don't have many members in Scotland, but surely they could have rustled up a few more for a conference where they were going to hear the Clegg speak as leader for the first time?
While I'm perusing the madness of Lib Dem land, let's just wander back to the debates. A wee refresher - three days and only seven debates: Student funding (40 minutes); Justice (40 minutes); Human Trafficking (20 minutes); Excess packaging - (55 minutes); Housing (45 minutes); North Sea Oil (20 minutes); and Right to Buy (50 minutes). Next time this lot complain about the debating time they get in Parliament we should remind them that they fitted an entire conference into four and a half hours.
Now, because I only ever take time to watch exciting things, I took the time to watch the online coverage of Lib Demmery. My favourite bit (it will make your toes curl) was the poor woman who was left convening the session while there was a gap with no business. Bravely she battled on - trying to sell some old bags that the Lib Dems had hanging around. I encourage you to watch it for the sake of a good laugh, but be warned that you will feel cringingly embarrassed for the woman. You'll find it in day one's coverage. I recommend beginning your delight and delectation at 44 minutes and 35 seconds and you'll be free by 48 minutes in.
What caused the gap in proceedings you ask. Well, I answer, as I pointed out on Friday, the Human Trafficking debate was slightly undersubscribed to the extent that it had to find a formal seconder from the chair of the session. An old and very worthy type buffer took ages to lay out the motion and then they had another equally old and worthy type buffer was called to sum up the debate in which only one person had spoken. As m'learned friend mused, motions on an issue like Human Trafficking are massively oversubscribed at SNP conferences, with delegates calling for the debate to be extended to fit in every speaker who wanted to contribute.
So which debate at Lib Dem conference got people to their feet? Carrier bags! Or excess packaging as Libby McDem will have it. One after another they staggered to their feet to condemn carrier bags, recount tales of ruined ready-meals, query the comparative sizes of Easter eggs and their packaging, talk some ecoballs (oh, Google it, they're for washing machines), complain about the coffee in the conference centre, complain about not getting paid enough, and whinge about Mike Pringle's inability to get a Bill through Parliament.
20 minutes on Human Trafficking which they couldn't fill and then 55 minutes of carrier bags which was over-subscribed. As Mike Pringle said, though, carrier bags is "the issue which is dear to Liberal Democrat hearts". Social Democrats one and all - yeah, right.
On a completely unrelated and possibly off-the-wall point, I have no idea how the Glasgow to Edinburgh rail flexipass works, so can anyone tell me why anyone would buy two sets on the same day?