Tomi Banwo - My First Ever Party Conference
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats
On Tuesday 18th September 2018, I attended for the first time a party conference in Brighton with the Liberal Democrats. This is all thanks to an initiative set by the Patchwork Foundation which encourages and funds young Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME), politically-minded people to attend party conferences and encourages them to be engaged in political affairs.
It was amazing to see women in such a high position making an impact.
Nine of us were given the opportunity to meet Baroness Liz Barker at a masterclass where she spoke about her political journey and encouraged us as minorities to get involved in politics and make our voices heard. This masterclass was inspiring and as a Black Woman it was amazing to see women in such a high position making an impact.
Immediately after the class, we were given a tour of the auditorium by Naomi Farhi who explained the importance of each fringe group. This gave us the opportunity to meet and speak with the party members. I particularly enjoyed speaking to the Young Liberals - it was amazing to see young people having such an evident role in a political party as we seem to be ignored by the Conservative and Labour parties.
The highlight of the whole conference for me was seeing Sir Vince Cable's leader's speech from the second row.... he spoke with passion and a clear plan for the future.
They told us about the fantastic work they have done and the plans they have for the future. This investment in young political minds was further explored in one of the fringe events, specifically aimed at young people who want to pursue a career in politics. We heard from the young councillors how they got involved in politics. This was very insightful for me, as I want to work in politics and I am beginning a Politics and International Relations degree in the next few days.
The highlight of the whole conference for me was seeing Sir Vince Cable's leader's speech from the second row. This was in contrast to last year's where I was watching his speech on television. It is funny how life changes. He spoke with passion and a clear plan for the future. Many of his points resonated with me as a young voter.
All in all, I had a wonderful experience and fantastic day - which showed me that these events and political positions are in my reach. I will definitely be more involved in politics in the future.