Page last updated at 17:57 GMT, Thursday, 16 October 2008 18:57 UK

Life on the conference fringes

No party conference would be complete without the many fringe events - ranging from serious discussion to serious partying - which go on around it.

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They include discussions on party policy, events from a range of charities - and a number of social events.

Here, the BBC Scotland news website takes a look at some of the gatherings on offer for delegates at the 2008 SNP annual conference in Perth.


SNP STANDING ORDERS AND AGENDA COMMITTEE

Where: Royal George Hotel, Thursday, 16 October, 1730 BST

It may not have the snappiest of titles, but this is a key event for discerning party members keen to play their part in developing party policy.

SNP national secretary Duncan Ross will take delegates through the dos and dont's - especially the dont's - of submitting resolutions amid concern that many party branches "still seem unaware of what is expected of them".

THE KLEEKIN GLESS

Where: A K Bell Library Theatre, Thursday, 16 October, 1930 BST

The spoken word and traditional music come together in an evening of entertainment laid on by what has been described as "Perthshire's finest talent".

On the bill includes broadcaster Carl MacDougall, folk singer Doris Rougvie and piper Ewen Sutherland.

ASSOCIATION OF THE BRITISH PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY

Where: Norrie-Miller Studio, Perth Concert Hall, Friday, 17 October, 1230 BST

Attending a four-day party conference is tough going with all that hard work and, erm, socialising.

So why not drop in for a health check from a nurse and enjoy the "delicious, healthy buffet and refreshments" while learning about the latest developments in Scottish life sciences.

UNIVERSITIES SCOTLAND, NUS AND THE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES UNION

Where: Royal George Hotel, Friday, 17 October, 1230 BST

Yes, it's them - the National Union of Students - who protested outside parliament against raising the alcohol purchase in shops from 18 to 21.

This event will focus on how higher education can contribute to the future of Scotland, and, with Education Secretary Fiona Hyslop going, the discussion could get interesting.

KARAOKE AND DISCO

Where: Royal George Hotel, Friday, 17 October, 2000 BST

It's the dreaded conference karaoke competition which carries the following advisory: "If you can't sing it, wing it."

Delegates will be invited to "relive their youth" during the evening. The question on everybody's lips is - will there be a performance of Rowan Tree?

DONALDSON LECTURE

Where: Perth Concert Hall, Saturday, 18 October, 1130 BST

The Donaldson lecture - named in honour of 1960's SNP convener Arthur Donaldson - sees the party leader inviting a distinguished member of society to speak on weighty issues of the moment.

The event is introduced by SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond.

SCOTTISH FREE SCHOOL MEALS CAMPAIGN

Where: Royal George Hotel, Saturday, 18 October, 1730 BST

The Scottish Government has decided to roll out free school meals for P1-P3 pupils, but local authority umbrella group Cosla has been fighting off claims from some councils that they do not have enough cash to pay for it.

This event looks at the impact of the policy so far and asks what the future holds for free school meals.

CONFERENCE CEILIDH

Where: Quality Station Hotel, Saturday, 18 October, 2000 BST

This is the social event of the conference, featuring a performance from the word's only parliamentary rock band, MP4.

Members of the wicked media will be on hand to perform sketches at a gathering which has also promised to put on show MPs, MSPs and MEPs "as you have never seen them before". The event also features "bar facilities".


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