Scottish Green conference 2009.

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Patrickbeingfilmedsmall.jpgThe party gathered in Dumfries at the weekend for Annual Conference, and despite the comedy mumping and moaning from elsewhere, turnout by the membership was about the same as last year when we met in Glasgow. 

The venue was the very impressive Easterbrook Hall, part of the Crichton campus, fittingly, and the organisational skills of Chris Ballance and the team meant the whole weekend went very smoothly *. 

We didn't get as much media as I'd have liked, though, or indeed as much as I'd expected. BBC came out (left), and we got a bit on STV too. Patrick also did the Politics Show, and our voting intention figures got a great show in the Sunday Herald and News of the World. 

This was our first conference since Debra Storr and Martin Ford said they were moving our way, and Debra renamed her blog accordingly. They were both very warmly received, and I was pleased to hear positive feedback from them too - apparently attendance at Green Conference is roughly the same as Lib Dem Conference, despite them having four times the membership.

It was also the first conference since Louise Batchelor joined - every serious political party needs a former BBC journalist nowadays, so we're clearly in the big league. I'm looking forward to finding out from her everything we're doing wrong with our media strategy. I bet she's got a list.

Socially it was magic too - I forget how many good friends I see only at conference, and having somewhere to stay with proper mod cons on Saturday night made a big difference. My strangest moment by some margin came earlier that evening. 

We went out for dinner to a country pub in a wee village called Haugh of Urr. First, we looked thoroughly out of place in their Halloween fancy dress party, then we were serenaded by a red-jumpsuited Elvis. Finally Jack Charlton turned out to be at one of the other tables. Not a Jack Charlton impersonator: the real thing (left).

Policy discussions, though? Dunno, I missed them all. Fringes? Nope, them too. If you want a flavour, some of them both were discussed in the appropriate Twitter hashtag. Maybe next year. Stressful as the runup always is, I'm looking forward to it already.

* One exception, though, which was not his fault, was being told at 2pm on Sunday that "all the logins for the wifi have been used up". My first question every time a conference venue is proposed is normally "will we have wifi?". Next time it'll be "will they guarantee wifi all weekend without bogus logins or interruptions of longer than an hour, or failing that give us half our money back?"

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