I went to the Lib Dems North East regional conference in Gateshead on Saturday. It was very busy, with lots of new faces. Particularly encouraging was the presence of three new Blaydon members who joined during the campaign. They threw themselves straight into the campaign and came along to the conference. Our regional chair reported that during the campaign thousands of new young members joined through the web. And contrary to received wisdom we have since received thousands of new members joining after the election too. Its really encouraging to see this and goes to show that all the tales of mass defections to Labour post the coalition are rubbish. It's really encouraging that the risk we took by joining the coalition is being acknowledged as the right things.
We had reports from our MPs, our MEP Fiona Hall and our Lords team on the coalition and its implications. Fiona made the good point that this is a Westminster coalition, just as we work with others on council and in the European Parliament.
Anyway, we had a very good discussion about how we can get policies that will help the North East economy. We discussed the situation with Northern Rock and how we can try to turn around the legacy of increasing inequality in society that Labour leaves for the new government. It's hard with the terrible deficit situation left behind but I believe that there are actually a lot of opportunities to think about how things can be done better on less.
We also discussed how many lies were spread by the Labour party during the election - people will notice that their pensioners bus passes have not been removed or that poor people still have tax credits.
So despite the general problems this country finds itself in I am encouraged by the great start the new government has made in destroying Labours nasty authoritarian civil liberties legislation.