The two month canvassing and pre-voting period has begun and already people are getting upset, angry and hurt emails are being sent and the allegations are starting to fly!
If the Newcastle group can attract the most votes then the 2016 conference will take place there - and it is as simple as that. Ella and I cannot understand why such venom should be directed towards us from the members of the Newcastle Organising Committee (N.O.C.) for publically supporting the alternative South Wales "bid" - are we not entitled to have an opinion?
If two groups want to run the conference then I am pleased but I want whoever wins the nomination to do the whole job not just the easier parts of it. Everybody agrees that obtaining sponsorship is important and Ella and I worked hard to get £5,000 worth for the 2015 Conference in Birmingham. I don't think it is reasonable to say that we are "wilfully sabotaging" the Newcastle bid by stating that we will not accept the roles of "Sponsorship Co-Ordinators" for N.O.C.!
Some people seem to think that large numbers of people will automatically and unthinkingly vote the way that Ella and I say that we will be voting. I don't know why they think this is true. Yes, Ella and I will vote the same way and Didi would vote with us as we three would almost certainly be travelling together and that is it. 3 votes out of about 100 so hardly "a block vote"!
Both proposals have their strengths and weaknesses. And geography is the biggest weakness of the Newcastle bid. If you plot the locations of the entire electorate on a map nearly 70% of people are closer to S Wales than they are to Newcastle. And I would be surprised if the final vote differs very much from that. Basically I predict that the S Wales, London, Worcestershire, Shropshire and Birmingham sub-groups will all vote almost unanimously for the South Wales bid and the Blackpool and Lancashire group will be split fairly equally between the 2 venues. This already makes about 65%+ of all voters supporting South Wales and not likely to be persuadable no matter how good the Newcastle campaign is.
Ella and I were asked - "Do you ever think that there will be a Care Kids Conference in Newcastle?" - "Yes, but only after the more suitable venues have been exhausted! London, Blackpool, Leeds or Manchester all strike us as being "better" venues than Newcastle."