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Taking the Pledge Across the Midlands to Public and Politicians Alike17.03.2010 // by Ciaran Norris
On Saturday wetargeted a slightly different audience; the Liberal Democrat Spring Conferencein Birmingham.
As the last big political gathering outside of Westminsterbefore the election it was a great opportunity to meet and debate with thepolitical insiders. The audience was pretty receptive, I have to say. But itdidn’t come as much of a surprise given that four of the five reforms thepublic want to see are Lib Dem party policy.
Still, there was plenty of debateabout the urgency with which they need to be brought in, and about the LibDems’ willingness to push these to the top of the agenda in the event of a HungParliament.
The volunteers and Ispoke to a lot of key party leaders including Vince Cable, Paddy Ashdown, ChrisHuhne, Simon Hughes, Lynne Featherstone and Danny Alexander. I managed to grabNick Clegg for a minute to talk about the campaign but he was hesitant to takethe pledge there and then and I didn’t have time to remind him of all thesupport he has thrown behind us earlier in the campaign. Still, it was the conference and the biggest fight of his career is only days away.
So I’ll take comfortin the fact that Clegg’s aides told me they would give him my material. Once hegets time to read it I am sure he’ll take the pledge. If he doesn’t then I’llhave to remind him at the final leaders debate; which will be held somewhere inthe Midlands during the election campaign.
On Sunday we took thecampaign to Nottingham. Such is my love for democracy that I abandoned mymother on Mothers’ Day. I’m sure I’ll be reminded of that soon. Anyway, I metup with Dean, a Midlands activist, and Mike, who has recently finished his PhDat Nottingham University. We spent the day in the sunny-but-chilly Old MarketSquare, supposedly the largest public square in the country.
After three cities,seven constituencies, almost 500 signatures and one long weekend it was time tohead home. It’s hard to articulate the sheer range of people I met this weekend:taxpayers who say they’ve paid enough, voters who say their vote was worthnothing, politicians who promised to do more for their money and a small butgrowing band of citizens who said that their vote was worth more than lipservice, and that they would be heard.
Ciaran Norris is the Midlands Regional Campaigner for Power2010.
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