Like many people I was saddened to hear that Viv was not at Bournemouth because of ill health. I can't really remember a time when he wasn't at Assembly/conference. A a student one of the highlights of the week was him buying me dinner. Anyway I sent him a post card-not one of Lib Dem Voice's free ones declaring: Wish you were here, but a tasteful one of the Dorset coastline.
I got a reply today on a notelet with a picture of the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Viv tells me he is much improved and speaks highly of the care he has received from the NHS in London and Stockport. His daughter have clearly been very supportive and their plans; one to marry in 2010 and the other to make Viv a grandfather before Christmas, are clearly uppermost in his mind.
It was interesting to hear Viv's take on conference. Like most of the public he got his impression from the media and has been left with a feeling of confusion on key areas of policy-particularly the economy.
Clearly the media handling has not reached the level where policy discussion is seen as a strength rather than a weakness. We haven't got a lot of time to get this right. There will be an election by June and we cannot give the media the opportunity to write us up as divided and confused. That is still the lazy stereotype that journalists unwilling to contemplate the break up of the political system that suits their well rehearsed lines prefer.
Anyway it is good to hear Viv feels much better.