As there is plenty of dry information on conference elsewhere I will restrict myself to particular fringes and observations.
The main conference room lacked the usual tables where members can sit round during plenary session; instead the layout was the serried ranks more usually associated with the grey parties. "It's the start of a slippery slope" I heard from a couple of the anti-leader persuasion. I certainly hope that is not the case and put the seating arrangements down to the constraints of a Central London venue. Hopefully we'll be back to our distinctive table feature next time.
Why a Central London venue, with its implication for cost and space? To get more of the media along, for the great moment of transition to a leader / deputy leader, of course. Did it work? Well we got some great coverage on the BBC and the BBC and err, the BBC. But where were the national print media???
Now, don't get me wrong, I voted in favour of the new structure, and think that we have an excellent leader and deputy leader in Caroline Lucas and Adrian Ramsay, but anyone who thinks that most of the media in this country are going to start treating us fairly from now on is being very naive.
Another new experience, and related to the above, was the standing ovation. Is this another slippery slope? We have had such things before on occasions at conference, but this time you knew there would be a standing ovation for the leader and deputy leader speeches. Would they feel artificial? How long should they go on for? As it happens both Caroline and Adrian delivered very well and it did feel natural to stand to applaud them; even so, that question mark still lingers; is this a new ritual which we have to perform to be a 'proper' Party?
There was plenty going on at conference to inspire and encourage as well. The panel session on the Green New Deal was excellent, to hear how Solihull Greens went from 4th place to victory in a ward in 1 year (usual rule is you have to make 2nd place before you win) was inspiring, and we are heading into the future with a keen and promising executive along with our leaders.
I had an interesting experience on the journey home. In my first class compartment (before you say anything, in todays insane world of rail fares it was cheaper than standard) , I was perusing some excellent reports of Jean Lambert MEP on housing, insulation and renewable, when I overheard my neighbours in the carriage talking about the same subject! Turns out they are working in the insulation and renewables sector in Manchester, and one of them is the custodian of the council's Eco-House in Miles Platting.
It's a small world as they say, and shoes that there are some people out there in the 'Grey' world who can be our allies, at least up to a point.
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