The Liberal Democrats should really have felt at home in Bournemouth. Voted some years ago as the 'next coolest city on the planet', it has been waiting for its moment ever since.

Certainly, the only noticeably cool thing about Bournemouth last week was the weather, unless pensioners in anoraks and rain hoods have suddenly become terribly hip.

It would be pointless to say there were no beards and sandals worn with or without anoraks by the party delegates if speakers hadn't felt compelled to refer to the lack of these talismans of liberalism past at least once an hour. There were no lentils or beans on offer either.

But achingly keen Bristol prospective parliamentary candidate Stephen Williams spoke earnestly in the health debate about the need for people to follow his lead in looking after his health. Not only had he never smoked, he did not drink to excess, but went to the gym twice a week and had even 'overcome my dislike for broccoli'. Mr Williams opened his speech - mostly about bowel cancer - by saying he was going to talk about bottoms. Which raised a laugh. Which says something about the nature of humour at Liberal Democrat conferences.

Party treasurer Reg Clarke got a laugh, too, for saying: 'We are not as well endowed as some parties'- before explaining this by passing around a bucket for loose change to fund the next election campaign.

Still, his comment could also explain why the oh so hilarious political underpants on sale at the Politicos bookshop stand - sample slogan 'For the many and not the few' were not flying off the shelves. Not even the ones that said, 'I love Charlie Kennedy'.