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Lib Dems Flock to Regional Conference

November 20, 2015 4:53 PM

Over 200 Lib Dems attended the South West Regional Conference held in Exeter on November 14th & 15th.

Delegates at Regional Conference

Delegates at the Conference

Lord Ashdown addresses delegates

Lord Ashdown addresses Lib Dems

Lord 'Paddy' Ashdown gave an inspirational speech in which he warned that we should at all costs avoid becoming isolationist 'Little Englanders' the cause espoused by UKIP and elements of the Conservative Party. Whether we like it or not we live in a global world in which business and the economy is highly competitive. The Risks of Britain leaving the EU are enormous especially as it could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom as Scotland would almost certainly opt to remain in the EU. In view of the growing external security threats the need for a coordinated international approach was more pressing than ever and 'going it alone' was no longer an option.

Lord Ashdown finished with an impassioned plea to update our ideas about education and 'escape from the medieval construct' of traditional thinking on higher education. The present system is outrageously expensive to run and also expensive for its participants who struggle to pay tuition fees and living costs. We are not making the full use of modern technology to promote distance learning - the Open University has been a fantastic success and its principles should be a model for all.

Norman Lamb gave a rousing speech on the issues facing mental health in the UK and the need for drastic improvements. Norman led the fight in government for mental health to be given the same standing as physical health and was widely regarded as one of the best health ministers the UK has ever had. Party leader Tim Farron spoke to the assembled members via Skype on his plans for the future direction for the Lib Dems. (http://devon-cornwall-libdems.org.uk/en/article/2015/1123451/investing-in-the-future-tim-farron-s-speech-on-the-economy).

Alex White, Parliamentary Spokesperson for Central Devon, said 'It is one of the busiest conferences I have ever been to. The weekend was sold-out and most sessions were standing room only. Lord Ashdown and Tim Farron gave excellent speeches and the atmosphere was one of determination to get out in our local communities and take the Liberal Democrat message to the door step. The fightback in certainly on in the South West. I can only encourage members to sign up for the Spring Conference in York as soon as possible to avoid missing out, as another sell out is on the cards!'