An abscence of posting can only mean one thing... it was party conference season and in between a ropey wi-fi in my hotel and £75 for a connection at the Bournemouth International Centre I think it was fairly reasonable for a holiday from blogging. I thought that whatever time I had on line was far better used handling casework emails.
I got lucky last year as my specialist subject came up at my first conference. No such luck this time, so this year I left it in the capable hands of Gareth Epps, Daisy Benson and Neal Brown to wave the Reading flag and get up and speak in debates.
After getting back to Reading I've been catching up on the various commentators and bloggers reports on our conference and they have by and large been so wide of the mark, you wonder if they are American service personnel.
The time when the only reason for party members to go to conference, in Vince Cable's words, was to give the leader a damn good kicking are over. We all know what we have to do and are fully behind Nick and Vince. We may have our disagreements, but we don't lie about them in public like the other parties do.
Since that's how they operate, it is only expected that others parties will try to make hay of the fact that Liberal Democrats are adults who can debate and argue the points and then once that is done and dusted get on with the job of sorting out Brown's broken Britain.
We are the only major party where it is the members who decide policy, not slimy tax-avoiding grey suits leading a bunch of sheep who'd happily vote for a donkey with a blue rosette on its arse. Where the idea of party discipline is to hide the true thoughts and feelings of party members behind a tissue thin facade of lies and false promises. One Tory candidate in Reading thinks his local group leader is completely useless. Bet you won't find that on his election leaflets.
There is a big clue in how our party operates badly hidden in our party's name... the Democrats bit. There is also a massive clue as to how the Tories operate and treat the electorate hidden in their name... Con-servative. When I was at Poly, there was a joke about the Socialist Workers' Party in that they were neither workers or socialist. The same is true of Labour they no longer represent labour, instead they have proved themselves to be the party of bankers and management consultants and look where that has got us.
I had a great conference, then I went back to my constituency and prepared for tea.