My first stop at conference is normally at the liberator stall. Liberator is is magazine of the radical liberal activists and, as you might expect is run by an editorial collective.
I have been a subscriber for 15 years and an occasional contributor. One of the delights of the magazine is the eclectic range of contributors, including all shades of opinion from liberals inside and outside the Lib Dems.
However, I confess to becoming irritated at the mean-spiritedness of its editorial line. In this issues it denounces the editors of the new CentreForum publication Britain after Blair as 'in the hands of the economic lunatic fringe'.
Liberator of course denounced the original Orange Book to which Britain after Blair was dubbed a successor. And yet it struck me that none of the contributions would have looked out of place in Liberator. And any of the essays in the magazine's own new publication Liberalism - something to shout about would have perfectly easily slotted into the Orange Book. And Britain after Blair includes at least one contribution from a member of the Beveridge Group which was set up to oppose any hint of economic liberal lunatic fringery within the party.
So it is a pity that Liberator, which is the oldest periodical circulating within the party and is always a good read, appears so cranky and mean-spirited, and as a result lacks influence within the party.