It’s possible that politics is like fishing; without experience (or a good guide) it can have a steep learning curve. Hence my plan at today’s meeting of the Winchester local Liberal Democrat Conference was to listen much more than I talked. I have been to very few overtly political events and I have much to learn.
Four mackerel I caught this evening spinning in the Solent
The event was not at all what I expected; it was well attended but the average age was higher than I envisaged. Approaching my mid-thirties, my young daughter often makes me feel old – today however I felt young! Also the format was not what I imagined. Instead of a mini version of the national conference with impassioned debate and voting on controversial motions it was a cosy chat with councillors discussing their plans and general agreement (mostly via post-it note) on motions to be voted on at the national conference.
There were issues raised that tempted me to talk – in particular the cost of housing in Winchester but, at least on this occasion, I kept quiet. Firstly because I wasn’t keen for most of the membership’s first sight of me to be disagreement in a very consensual atmosphere. I would very much have liked Barton Farm to have been built on but the Liberal Democrat council opposed it. Given I own a flat about 500m from the proposed site, my support might be slightly unexpected but I am (by most standards) fairly well paid and struggled to buy a house in Winchester – most people are less fortunate!
I was slightly sad that a motion at the national conference in support of equal marriage rights was not discussed. It seems self-evident to me that the discrimination in our current laws should be changed but maybe it was not discussed because it would have been unanimously supported.
This was all new territory for me and I hope to attend more party meetings in the future (Em’s shift patterns allowing) so hopefully I’ll feel like one of the natives soon – it wasn’t what I expected but everyone was very welcoming.
So from being a fish out of water to hauling fish out of water… After the politics I went fishing. We hadn’t arranged it in advance but I met my Dad at the coast. It was a warm summer’s evening perfect for mackerel and there were shoals of them teeming along the shore. We could have caught as many as we liked. I stopped at four, plenty for my (small) family – Dad (unusually) chose to go up to double figures as he wanted some for neighbours. It’s not always as easy as this evening but the fish combined with the weather and the views made everything seem perfect. I’m even starting to feel like I know what I’m doing – at least with a mackerel rod!