What a difference a day makes

tim.jpgWhat a difference a day makes. Feeling better about my party, the LibDems, than I have for quite a while. In most part that's down to Tim's speech yesterday, closing the Autumn Conference in Brighton.

You can watch for yourself, and I suggest you do. But what stood out for me was not just his passion and his humour but the fact he was willing to bring up difficult questions and give unpopular answers.

Refugees? Come off it Tim, we've had enough of that haven't we, 'compassion fatigue' set in months back. But no, the media may have moved on, but the refugees haven't. They're still there, still in need and we still haven't done anything like enough about their plight to justify being called 'Great Britain'. 'Take some effin refugees' Tim recalled an aid worker shouting at him, and his despair that he didn't have the power to do so was palpable.

I'd have dropped the f-bomb, myself but Tim's Tim.

Another 'unsexy' topic was funding the NHS. While the other parties and leadership contenders seem engaged in a battle to see who can announce the biggest number they can away with (knowing full well they'll never need to back it up), Norman Lamb has been calling for a new Beveridge Commission. A commission to look again at how we can fund a National Health And Care Service that works for today's population, not the postwar one. Tim took up the call in his speech (two leadership contenders working together constructively, there's an idea!) and was not afraid to say that if the new Commission called, for example, for a new penny in the pound NHS income tax then so be it. You get what you pay for and it was good to see a Lim Dem leader saying we would put up taxes if need be.

Brexit was obviously the main theme. Tim rightly called for respect for Leave voters, but was unashamed in his call to fight their decision. Its one thing to vote for a holiday 'Abroad' but if the tickets come back for the Isle of Man you should be given the chance to reconsider. My analogy, not his.

netGains.jpgAway from Tim's speech there was more good news. Yet another council by-election win, a gain from Labour, in Cardiff, bringing the number of net wins since the referendum to 13. Let's see if Corbyn complains about a lack of MSM coverage for this one.

A final nugget came this morning when I saw that visits to conference 'for the first time' was up 32%. That doesn't surprise me to be honest, there's a lot of positivity in the party right now. Has been for a while to be fair, but yesterday I sensed a change in attitude towards us from people outside the party. Both in terms of appreciative reviews of the keynote speech, but also a distinct lack of some of the scorn and sneers that have hung around any LibDem pronouncements for so long.

Whisper it quietly, but maybe the wind is finally changing. As things stand politically it can't happen soon enough.

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