The train arrived at Kokkaigijido-Mae station, and I made my way through a maze of tunnels to reach the exit. As I reached the top of the final staircase a crashing boom stopped me in my tracks. What was that? I crept up the stairs and peered outside.
A storm had manifested. The base of the thunder shook through the underground as rain pelted the pavement outside. I looked at my watch to see how long was left before my tour of the National Diet building started. It was soon.
We live in a polarised Britain. On one side, we have Theresa May who wants to get rid of human rights, regulate the Internet, tackle immigration and slash welfare. On the opposite end, you have Jeremy Corbyn, whose main objectives are to nationalise more institutions, increase taxes, make higher education free and expand the state. Are either party able to solve Britain’s deep-rooted divisions?
Politics in the West has entered a new era.
Those on the left of the political spectrum sit around scratching their heads on why power they had once taken for granted, has been taken from them. Why has the left failed to engage with the same people who they champion?
From the EU Referendum and the American presidential election, there was a common theme that Leave campaigner Michael Gove put so unashamedly, “people in this country have had enough of experts.” Slogans and punchy one liners were repeated tirelessly by Donald Trump and Nigel Farage until the masses were quoting them as facts and chanting them at rallies.
Jeremy Corbyn – Getty Images / Leon Neal
The smell of bacon and eggs woke me from my deep sleep. I rubbed my eyes and tried to get my bearings. As I remembered moments from Lib Dem Pint the night before I realised I was in Brighton. This was probably why I had woken up next to Felix on the sofa bed.
After breakfast, I made my way off to the Liberal Democrat conference. It was a beautiful walk on the edge of Brighton’s beach to the conference centre where the Lib Dem logo was unashamedly displayed brightly on the side of the building. After registration I ran into Bristol’s favourite goatee’d man, Andrew. As we were catching up, Tim Farron and an entourage of members walked down the stairs being snapped by a range of photographers. Amy was by his side and would end up being in photos that would be in every media publication across the country.
Watching Tim’s speech with Steve and the Bristol Lib Dems.
The following is my uncensored account of the Liberal Democrats Autumn Conference 2016.
The Night Before – Lib Dem Pint
After four hours and three trains I stepped out onto the platform in Brighton. It was dark, chilly and I was running late for Lib Dem Pint.
It was getting late and I was cursing myself because I was missing all the speeches.
Ben let me into our AirBnB accommodation and then quickly dashed off as he had two drinks waiting for him. I freshened up and left the basement apartment that was a stones throw away from the beach. As I was walking along with the coastline on my left, I thought it was odd that Google Maps was telling me that the bar was at the end of Brighton Pier. The front of the gates to the pier was deserted, except for a stout security guard who questioned me when I approached.
“Are you with the Liberal Democrats?”
The alarm clock broke the silence at 6 AM. Instead of automatically hitting the snooze button I shook off the webs of sleep and went straight to my Twitter news feed. I stared at the screen in disbelief.
Britain had voted to leave the European Union.
The result had left me stunned. As I spoke to many of my friends a common theme appeared. They were devastated.
“I find no contradiction between being a Highlander, a Scot, a citizen of the UK and a citizen of the European Union at one and the same time.” – Charles Kennedy
The skies had darkened and the drizzle had transformed into a fierce downpour. Andrew Brown and myself had eagerly arrived at an action day meeting point in Windmill Hill, Bristol. There was no sign of the others and no shelter in sight. The hood of my waterproof jacket was pulled tightly over my head in a futile attempt to remain dry. On a Saturday morning a year ago, I would have usually been snug in bed, resting off a late Friday night and I definitely had no idea what a “Focus leaflet” was. This was my new life as a Liberal Democrat activist.
Joining the Liberal Democrats a year ago shortly after the terrible General Election results I wanted to stand up and be counted. It might be a cliché but it has really been a rollercoaster ride but with certainly more ups than downs.
Being an activist is not for everyone. It is tough and sometimes a thankless vocation with no monetary gain but I would not trade it for anything. Standing up for what I believe in itself, is all I need to get my kicks. What I love the most about the Liberal Democrats is the sheer determination of fighting for human rights and civil liberties on a platform of hope, not one of fear. It would be impossible to write down all my memorable moments as a Lib Dem so I have narrowed it down to my Top 10.
Nationalism does nothing but teach you how to hate people that you never met and take pride in accomplishments you had no part in – Doug Stanhope
There is a fine line between loving one’s country and hating one’s neighbour.
The Republican Party/GOP presidential primary is in full swing with the card full of strong right-wing candidates such as Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Jeb Bush. Yet there is one man who even Dick Cheney believes to be too extreme. Donald Trump.
Donald Trump (photo by Isaac Brekken/Getty Images)
Tomorrow, the House of Commons will vote on UK air strikes in Syria. It started on that fateful November night in Paris where 130 innocents lost their lives. The story has dominated the news since. The terrorist group Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) said it was responsible for the attacks but it was not an attack on France, it was an attack on the West and many countries stood with its ally. Everyone has an opinion on it but there appears to be a 50:50 divide on whether the United Kingdom should intervene in the Syrian conflict or not. Here is my two cents.