#LDConf Diary: Day 1

Today marked the start of the Liberal Democrats‘ Autumn Conference, taking place online for the first time.

Despite having first joined a political party at the age of 15, a combination of work commitments and financial pressures have always meant that I’ve never been able to attend a party conference.

Until now. Because this year I am at last attending a party conference for the first time – and it’s all thanks to the fact it is taking place virtually.

Sadly, as it was a normal working day, I was unable to attend the first few sessions of the day. However, I managed to vote in favour of the policy motion calling for more mental health support for health and care staff as my first ever contribution to a party conference.

While I was waiting for my dinner to arrive (cod and chips, to give a traditional seaside conference feel to the evening), I dropped in on an LGBT+ Lib Dems hangout before my second policy motion on the nature of public debate, proposed by rising star Daisy Cooper.

That motion finished just in time for me to hot-foot it to a training event organised by ALDC before joining the final motion on UBI halfway through.

The software the party has chosen to host the conference is very user-friendly and seems to be functioning very well. Allowing for an auditorium, different rooms for events and exhibitions, one-to-one networking and text chat functionality, together with a simple built-in voting platform, I managed to navigate my way through all of the events this evening with relative ease.

The setup at Lib Dem HQ is also very professional and, but for the obvious virtual element, looks almost identical to the stage props you would expect from a traditional conference.

I just hope the Federal Policy Committee change the auditorium music before I throw my computer out of the window of my study!

Highlight of the day: the speaker who mentioned his time as an air cadet during his speech

Looking forward to tomorrow: seeing how many awkward questions for the new leader have passed the quality control filter