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17 September 2007

Start with a run end with an auction

Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson details an eclectic day at party conference which begins with an early morning

By Jo Swinson

Greetings from the Brighton seafront – and at 7:30am this morning I literally was on the seafront, having got up ridiculously early to take part in a Sport Relief mile-long run for charity.

I have to say, many conference delegates may have stayed up a little too late in the bars last night, as it was a small but merry bunch of us braving the chill in our running kit.

I also think the course (from one pier to the other and back) was a tad longer than a mile! Still, it was a good way to prepare for a busy day at Conference, and as I am also in training for the Loch Ness marathon in less than three weeks’ time, it killed two birds with one stone. Sponsorship welcome for the Anaphylaxis Campaign.

Last night the conference rally was the event to be at, and it was standing room only to hear Ming, Nick Clegg, Philippe Sands QC and Shami Chakrabati on the subject of civil liberties.

Liberty’s director Shami was particularly superb, and I especially liked an analogy she used to describe how we are losing our civil liberties in the UK. She explained how if you put a frog in a pan of boiling water, it quite sensible jumps straight out. But if you put it in a pan of water at room temperature, and slowly turn up the heat, it will stay there until it boils to death. Little by little, we are losing our freedoms.

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Another event of note, and perhaps of interest to readers of this blog, was the Lib Dem Blogger of the Year awards, which was won by James Graham. The list of Lib Dem bloggers grows each year.

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Today a highlight is going to be a question and answer session with Ming, chaired by Sandi Toksvig. I suspect this year he may be staying away from questions about musical taste…

And then this evening I’m looking forward to a fundraising auction for the party’s Campaign for Gender Balance, which I chair. My fellow New Statesman blogger (!) Lembit Opik is hosting it, there are loads of great unique items up for grabs, and as well as raising money it promises to be a most entertaining event.