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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 March, 2005, 11:52 GMT
Wales@Westminster weblog

It's Wales@Westminster weblog, BBC Wales' Parliamentary correspondent David Cornock's diary on political life - add your comments too.

Sunday 13 March

Conference style (not)

posted by David | 1145 GMT |
The Liberal Democrats' Welsh conference got off to an unfortunate start, with party leader Charles Kennedy and other MPs detained in Westminster by the stand-off over the new anti-terror law.

Things got better - several MPs showed up on Saturday - but the weekend was not without its problems. The venue - Cardiff University conference centre - was too small even for the small circus that accompanies these gatherings,

The Lib Dems turfed the Western Mail and the Daily Post out of the press room to allow lunchtime fringe meetings to take place. An officious steward with the charm skills of a hung-over traffic warden failed to see why it should matter whether the hacks were able to file any reports from the conference.

The grey felt backdrop to the conference stage contained not a single logo, slogan or word to suggest to any television viewer what was taking place. Perhaps the Lib Dem bird of liberty logo had flown the coop?

Some political parties try to stage-manage their conferences to make the most of live TV coverage.

The Lib Dems prefer a more liberal approach. They adjourned their conference shortly after live coverage began.

Other parties choose to speak in the language of the live broadcast of the moment. So politicians speak Welsh during Welsh broadcasts and English when the conference is going out on English language TV.

Not the Lib Dems. Their broadcasting spokeswoman decided to switch into Welsh during a live broadcast in English. Fortunately a male translator helped out, even if viewers may have been puzzled by a drop of several octaves.


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