Who won this year's party conference popularity contest?

Emi Murphy

15 November 2012

Wearing a bee costume is a great way to boost your self-esteem. "You’re a bee" is a typical response. In September/October my fellow campaigners and I were wearing bee costumes at the Lib Dems, Labour and Conservative party conferences. We were trying to get MPs and delegates interested in our bees campaign. It worked. There's been a fantastic reaction from all parties to the campaign. Bees are highly thought of. So were our costumes. So, without bias, I would name our stunt winner of this year’s party conference popularity contest.

To be honest, I was nervous organising The Bee Cause street stunt for the party conferences. We planned to hand out a British-grown apple with a sticker saying "pollinated by bees". This was along with a flyer highlighting the importance of bees to our economy - as they pollinate much of our food. We also did a political quiz for delegates. The was to show that some politicians are already aware that bees are important, and that they - bees - are in decline.

Finding apples was difficult. Bees have had a bad year. British apples were low in stock. But the apples we got in the end were delicious. The russets got people particularly excited.

My anxieties vanished when we got to Brighton to mingle with the Lib Dems. We gave apples to the newly appointed environment minister David Heath and former leader Paddy Ashdown. His wife Jane told us about her apple trees. Talking to a Boris Johnson lookalike at the Conservative Conference in my bee costume was a real highlight. Seeing clips on the BBC One Show of our stunt at the Labour conference was another.

Being called "the bee girl" at all three party conferences has shown that we got noticed. Many delegates took photos on their smartphones of me dressed as a bee with their colleagues.

I don’t know where the pictures ended up. But one thing is for sure. 

We reminded delegates of their fondness for bees. This is important. I feel great having had the chance to dress up as a bee and make my point to MPs. Of course we can’t all be doing that – but if you want to help bees you could sign our petition. Doing this is not bad for your self-esteem either. I'm sure the bees will be proud of you. Let’s hope the delegates I met at conference do the same too.

Emi Murphy, Intern

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