Throughout history, there have been a number of titanic battles between political giants. Brutus and Caesar, Gladstone and Disraeli, Attlee and Churchill, and Thatcher and Scargill to name just a few.
However, prepare to add another pair of names to that list: Alistair Carmichael and Paddy Ashdown. This epic struggle, moreover, is set to be refereed by Cambridge’s own Julian Huppert.
Huppert, Cambridge’s former Liberal Democrat MP who was beaten by Labour’s Daniel Zeichner in May, is set to MC a DJ Battle between Lib Dem politicians that will open their conference in Bournemouth tonight, Saturday 19th September.
The Lib Dem Disco, an event so seminal it has its own website and hashtag, hosts the “Battle of the DJs” and claims to be “one hell of a night to remember!” Tickets are being sold for £10 each, or two for £15. Also vying for supremacy are London Mayoral Candidate Caroline Pidgeon, Jo Swinson, and Gerald Vernon Jackson. Carmichael, who won last year’s competition with Shout, 9 to 5 and YMCA, is aiming to defend his crown.
The disco, at which it is rumoured even party leader Tim Farron may be dropping beats, has already attracted press attention, with Buzzfeed publishing an article about Ashdown’s allegedly “pretty hot” playlist. Cantabs, however, will probably be more interested in the well-known former MP of the city, who is also a Fellow at Clare College.
Speaking to The Cambridge Student, Huppert called the event, in its second year, as “one of the highlights of the conference” and “an excellent night.” He described this year’s crop a “strong field” including “trained killer” Paddy Ashdown, but predicted “Ali C” would sustain his winning streak. Discussing his own setlist, he said: “I’ll try to mix the rest of the music up a bit, with some good old cheese as we go along – but I’ll probably slip in some trance as well; nothing like Darude’s Sandstorm to really get things going.”
As well as the musical highlight, Huppert told us he was looking forward to leading a debate on Trident later on, which he hopes the Lib Dems will vote to scrap when it comes up in Parliament.
Huppert’s musical adventure has been welcomed by supporters. Chair of the Cambridge Student Liberal Democrats Nomi Farhi, who is currently attending the conference, called the disco a “solid tradition.”
Speaking to TCS, Farhi said: “We're all excited to get down with some sick beatz, DJed for us by DJ JHuppz (formerly of Cambridge) and DJ Paddy (former head DJ of the LibDemz)”
Another student political activist who reacted was Imogen Shaw, Publicity Officer for the Cambridge Universities Labour Club, who said: “CULC would like to wish Julian Huppert good luck. However, on the scale of former MP's musical endeavours, this won't quite surpass Ed Ball's mastery of the karaoke machine.”
It remains to be seen whether Daniel Zeichner will be dropping the bass in order to best potential MC Ed Miliband at Labour’s party conference later this month.
A video has since emerged of Julian Huppert enjoying the festivities.