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Afternoon, folks, welcome to this Daily Politics conference special


live from Birmingham. They are working up a head of steam


against the rich, the Tories, their partners.


Later this morning, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable is to unveil


his plans for curving ective pay. We bring that live. The party is in


Tory bashing mode, in the hope it restores the identity and repair


its ratings in the polls. They are dire. That is for the


party and its leader, Clegg. The party are at 11% and 60% of the


people have no idea when the Lib Dem leader stands for.


Vince Cable is to vent his annual splurge of populism before the


party faithful. Last year he called the bankers, perspectives and


conmen. This year, he is targeting highly paid executives. He is


talking to the Energy Secretary, Chris Huhne, about all of that and


more. We go existential and ask, why are we here? Why oh, why? Does


a Lib Dem conference matter were you are in coalition with the


So, all of that and more is coming up in the next hour.


It is TV conference gold. Public service broadcasting at its finest.


With us to kick it off we have Sam Coates from the Times and Nick Watt


from the Guardian, despite that, they are both friends, both of them.


What is the mood of the conference? This is cheery. This is the first


time in three or four years where there has not been a great fight at


conference. What a lot are hoping is that broadly speaking the polls


have bottomed up. There is an ever so slightly uptick in many of the


opinion polls, they are hoping it will not get worse and they can


start rebuilding the reputation ahead of a next election. Yes it is


bad, but I was speaking to a senior Lib Dem official, who said if you


remember how unpopular Tony Blair was after the Iraq war, he still


managed to win in 2005. We have to remind people that things are not


as black as they are sometimes painted.


What do we make of the status of Nick Clegg? Back in May you may


have thought this would be a lynch mob it is not that, but what...? I


was at a fringe event, he spoke, half of the people in the audience


were speaking amongst themselves? We all like to talk about economics.


We have to take the economics analogy. That the Liberal Democrats


have experienced sick kl growth, but the underlying structural


position is dire. The growth is that at the time of the alternative


vote when they lost they were on the floor. Nick Clegg looking like


he was bleeding. They have managed to differ enSecretary of State


themselves on the NHS, the tails are up, but the underlying


structural position, facing the electorate in 2015, that is not


looking good, they are still at the 11, 12% in the opinion polls.


That is your views, but I have made a wee extra in Glasgow.


Here in Birmingham, there is more security than ever it must mean


that the Lib Dems matter at least. The theme of the conference is in


Government on your side, but not if you are a Tory. They may be in


coalition with the Tories, but the Lib Dems favourite sport at this


conference is whack a Tory. Like the Tories, the Lib Dems are


worried that the economy is grinding to a halt, but unlike the


Tories, there are many Lib Dems who would like to see more fiscal


stimulus and more printing of the money. I asked Danny Alexander if


his plan A was still working or if there was a need for a plan A plus


or even a plan B? The credibility that we establish, the commitments


that we have made on the deficit reduction mean we are not facing


the problems that many countries are facing. Looking around the


eurozone there are doubts about the capacity of leaders to make the


right decisions. Looking to the United States, their


downgrade came from the rows going on in their political system.


Having political leaders who take difficult decisions and sticking to


them is important at a time like this. That is the view from the


bridge, but what is the view from the deck along -- among the Lib Dem


rank and file? Have you reservations about being in bed


with the Tories? Of course! But is there no alternative? In this case,


that was the, it was the least worst decision that could have been


made at the time of the election. think that the two coalition


partners have worked together rather more co-operatively than


imagine that they may have at one point.


That they could have been scratching their eyes out? That


could have been a possibility. Would you like a badge? It does not


express what I feel. I like the coalition... So you may wear that?


Would you like to hold on to it? will keep it


Four months away in a terrible local election results in the


defeat of the alternative vote referendum, Nick Clegg must have


felt that Birmingham would turn in a lynch mob, but it has not. The


position is secure, but the average Lib Dem activist is still uneasy,


even angry about being in bed with the Tories.


Gems of wisdom, I think. Would you not agree? What would we do without


you. I know. 50P tax rate? Am I right in


thinking that they are going along in getting rid of it as George


Osborne wants to do it, provided that they get something in return?


And don't forget that George Osborne has done this study, he has


said that he cannot get rid of the 50p tax rate until 2013 as it has


to be in line with the pay freeze for the public sector workers, but


there must be two things, one, getting the money you would have


raised from the richer people through the mansion tax and the


focus on tax cuts has to be on the lower earners and raising the


coalition allowance, it talks about raising that lower income earn up


to �12,000 so nobody on minimum wage has to be on that rate of tax.


All of this Tory bashing, do the Tories care? There will be lots of


Lib Dem bashing by the time we get to a Tory conference in a couple of


weeks' time. So this is grown up? Yes. This is


about reminding the party that they can have freedom inside of the


coalition. Take the 50p tax rate, it is not live, it does not feel to


me inside government. It is an artificial construct.


To differ enSecretary of State? between the two parties and to


cheer the troops along it is depressing that the coalition


policy work like that, but that is what it takes. They have a licence


to disagree, they will get to the same position. What is interesting


is what Vince Cable will be saying when he is talking about cracking


down on boardroom pay. His people are saying that this is going to


happen over David Cameron's dead body, so that they know it is


unlikely to happen. They know it will not happen. David Cameron is a


young, fit chap, he will be fine. They know it will not happen. You


have to say why are you doing it? It is one thing to differ


enSecretary of State yourselves from the Conservatives, but they


must not be a mini opposition. If you are putting up these ideas,


that Vince Cable knows is not going to happen, you have to be careful


not to cross the line. But there is a bigger problem for


Vince Cable. It is this: Most of the business world would like a


Business Secretary that champions business. He seems to needle at one


end and what the objection for many Tories is that he does not to


anything for the growth and the expansion of the private sector


that is critical. Somebody prepared to put the rocket boosters behind


British business, rather than making it difficult.


We will put that to the director of -- to Miles Templeman.


In a moment we are talking to Chris Huhne, first, a couple of emergency


debates this morning. Let's hear what was said from the conference


floor. The fundamental liberal principles


of a free independent, and unfetered estate, holding power are


sacrosanct for Liberal Democrats, but so, also, are the democratic


principles of accountability and transparency. We do not tolerate


unethical behaviour from other professional groups that hold great


responsibility, we must not tolerate it from our journalists.


Freedom and accountability are not incompatible. So this motion


insists on a pulsory code of conduct to be the part of every


journalist's contract. We have sufficient officers who are trained


who have the sufficient equipment, but need the leadership to be


effective. We need policies like restore tiv justice that prevent


reoffending rather than draconian sentences being passed because


magistrates and judges come under political pressure.


With me now, via popular acclaim, the energy and Climate Change


Secretary, Chris Huhne. A big title? Not as big as your 's,


Andrew! That is true. Tim Farron, I believe he is the President of Your


party? He is. He -- He says that the Government would be, "A


nightmare without the Lib Dem ministers" Is he right? It would be


more interesting. Is nightmare? To be clear, I do


think that the political balance of the government is a coalition,


between the Liberal Democrats who have a clear, independent stand on


a number of issues and the Conservatives also who come from a


different political tradition. We have to come promisise. There is


nothing to be ashamed of in come promisising. If we had not to get


us out of the economic problems that time that we had, it would


have been difficult in failing to compromise in the budget over


losing the triple A status. Now, Europe. Should Greece be given the


next trench of emergency aid? is to be entirely up to the


eurozone and entirely up to the conditions... When I have not been


involved in the negotiations, I think it is key that the Greeks


stick to their commitments. Not to cut? Part of the problems


began when the Greek Government did not present accounts which were


correct about the size of their budget deficit and the size of the


debt. They got into the Euro area under false pretences.


But we knew that? No we did not. France did it, so did Italy? No. No.


No other country has actually falsified its national accounts in


the same way that Greece did. But Italy did not meet the criteria


it got in with 112 % of GDP? If you are so far away from the criteria


that there is no room for interpretation, there is the other


room, Italy, was the debt falling, it was, that was allowed, there was


wriggle room, but the Greek Government presented figures that


the current Government found out about at the election that were


completely false. It was like Enron falsifying their accounts, that is


really outrageous. OK. You follow these things closely.


In your view, is it inevitable that Greece will default? No. Nothing is


ever inevitable. Is it likely? In the current


circumstances, the real issue for Greece and the eurozone is to put


together a package that allows it to be a sustainable solution going


forward. One of the difficulties if Greece were to default is that


there are a number of banks within and outside of the Euro area that


could be negatively affected. I remember back in the crisis that we


had here in the UK in the 1980s, when we had Lloyds and the Middles


who had more than their entire capital reserves outstanding, even


to American companies, all in default. If we crystallise the


default then and there, we would have had two big High Street banks


going bust. We did not do that. We waited, they built up reserves, in


the threatened is the Brady restructuring to ensure a long-term


My hunch would be that we have underestimated the political will


of people on the Continent to keep the show on the road. I believe, in


general, it is rash to assume that things are going to fall apart in


the European Union. Actually, our experience is that Europeans use a


good crisis to build up, solve the problem and get back on the road.


The Financial Times this morning has done calculations, using the


same methodology as the Government, and has discovered that the


structural deficit, the bit which does not disappear when growth, is


actually �12 billion higher than the government calculated. Does


that mean there will have to be more austerity measures?


Financial Times, bless them, is a journalistic organisation, not a


well-established and reputable authoritative international


economic organisation. Take the IMF, the OECD, both of them for the


serious calculations of the structural balance. They know that


different methodologies to the Treasury. I think that is more


likely. So the Financial Times is wrong? I have no idea whether it is


wrong or right, but the government should not, given that we have put


in place a framework with the Office for Budget Responsibility,


an independent body with a lot of resources designed to come up


with... But they have used the OBR's mechanism to calculate this.


Are you saying the FT is not authoritative on these matters?


does that have the final word. One of the things that we are clearly


going to see is that the director of the Budget -- the Office for


Budget Responsibility will hold forth on these matters. That is the


appropriate body for putting forward, if there is a problem of


this sort, to the government, and the OBR is the independent body


under started that is charged with coming up with this analysis, that


they find a problem, we will respond to it. -- and a statute.


those calculations are right, and we will find out from the OBR, if


there is a �12 billion structural deficit, bigger than you have been


proceeding along, will we have to cut more? It is absolutely clear


that the Government is committed to ensuring that we have a sustainable


structural balance, that is an absolutely key commitment. It has


what has got us out of the dangers on that we were in immediately


after the election. -- the danger zone. A number of countries have


fallen into economic crisis since then, even though they have smaller


budget deficits than we do. We have been able to get out of that danger


zone because our commitment to incredible physical programme.


still not clear if you're going to have to cut more. 9 am I, because


it will depend on the recommendations of the OBR. --


neither am I. That is the appropriate way of doing it, not


reacting to something that appears in newspapers, no matter how


reputable they are. I used to work for the Economist, not the


Financial Times. We were colleagues for a brief period. It is 50% and


by the Financial Times. And a very good investment it has proved for


them! We are going to hear from Vince Cable in a minute. What has


he done for business? I think the key thing he has done is to make


sure that with the deregulation that is going on, where we can get


rid of excessive red tape, that is being done... What is the big


thing? It is a whole raft of rules. What is the biggest the regulatory


change? The obviously follows his department, and I follow mine. I am


the Secretary for Energy and climate change. The singers beggars


proposers what we are trying to do on the planning rules, which is


very controversial. That the single biggest proposal. Is that his


department? It is part of the deregulation, part of the growth


review... Of so what has he done for business? That is a key thing.


It is not his department. He has been involved in the road review


from the beginning, coming up with the ideas that we have been putting


in government. -- the growth review. He will continue that work as he


has done since the election. Miles Templeman is the head of the


Institute of Directors. What are you looking for from Vince Cable


this morning? We are certainly not looking for what we think we can to


get about executive pay, quite the wrong issue to be talking about


when we are really trying to encourage growth, stimulating


investment, get overseas people to come here. It is that to be talking


about that topic at this stage. -- daft. War would be wrong with Kevin


executive pay? The ratio to normal pay is far higher than it has ever


been. For a start, you are only talking about the very top


executives. Most executives get nothing like that, as he would


appreciate. The average director earns about 75,000, a good salary.


That is a non-executive. No, no, that is an executive director.


in the FTSE 100 for 250, they earn a lot more than that. Not most


directors. In the 1950s, they earned about 40 times average


earnings. Today they earn 400 times average earnings. Why? It varies


dramatically between companies, as you know. Basically, you are in a


marketplace of directors. You have got to pay them what they can get


internationally, and that is the price. It is the same in any sport


or music or anything. The top people are earning a lot more. What


I would like to see is more emphasis on how we get the lower


paid people to earn more, rather than trying to hold back those were


creating wealth and stimulating business. A wee are about to hear


from Mr Cable. I just hope we will be an odyssey in going up in a


second. Can I just ask you this, do you take what he is saying


seriously, or is it just conference rhetoric? I hope it is just


conference rhetoric, because it is not something that would help


business and the economy. All right. We are going to have delivered


there, he is on his feet. Straight into the conference hall to hear


When I joined up, I had very mixed feelings about the coalition. Like


many of you, I looked for good precedents. I thought of Clement


Attlee and Aaron Bevan, working with their Tory opponents,


Churchill and Beaverbrook, setting aside their political differences


in a common cause. Of course, that coalition unleashed the great


liberal reforms. You could say, well, that was war, that was


different, and it is different. But we now face a crisis that is the


economic equivalent of war, and this is not a time for business as


usual for politics as usual. The financial crisis is still with us.


It never went away. And we can now say that recovery has stalled in


the United States and the position in the eurozone is, well, Dyer. But


it is wishful thinking to imagine that we have a healthy economy


which has somehow been infected by a dangerous foreign virus, because


many of our problems are home-grown. Gordon Brown regularly advised the


rest of the world to follow his British model of rock, but the


model was flawed. -- growth. It led to the highest level of household


debt in relation to income in the world. It produced a dangerously


inflated property bubble. It encouraged bloated banking, while


manufacturing declined at an unprecedented right. And then they


socialised the cost of the crash through a massive budget deficit,


the biggest of any major economy. And his disciple, Ed Balls, highers,


well, sort of apologised, but now advocates policies that would


repeat that disaster. -- has. What this period of crisis should have


taught us, above all, his humility. And humility in politics means


accepting that one party does not have all the answers. Recognising


that working in partnership is And it has been hard, and it has


required courage from our party to withstand the tribalism which is


British politics at its worst. And it has not been possible for the


party to get its own way on everything. I mean, I regret this


year that we did not secure a tighter control on bank pay and


bonuses, for example. A bad message was sent that unrestrained greed is


acceptable, and we now know where that leads. What we do have are


very real achievements. My team in the business department, and I want


to acknowledge David Willetts and our own outstanding minister Ed


We have not only made a major contribution to deficit-reduction,


but we are now helping recovery. We are greatly expanded


apprenticeships, giving respect and recognition to the 60% of young


people who do not pursue academic study at universities. We have


protected our science budget, and we have launched a chain of


Technology Innovation centres promoting the technologies of the


future. We have established a green investment bank to promote major


green projects, and Nick Clegg has driven the regional growth fund,


investing in businesses up and down the country, not just in the south-


east. And we, and Ed Davey in particular, have done what


Conservative and Labour governments failed to do, legislate for the


necessary reform of the Royal Mail, with worker shares, providing a


stable future for the post office network. And then, after a


generation of manufacturing decline, we brought jobs back to Britain in


stealer at Red Care, a motor vehicle supply chains, electric


vehicles, and in aerospace through Rolls-Royce, Airbus and Augusta


Westland. And this morning, Jaguar and Land Rover announced that they


are to build a new engine plant in the West Midlands, a massive boost


for British manufacturing and for And that is what I mean by a


business recovery, cars, not But this work is just beginning.


Because to turn Britain around, we need much more. And I have three


priorities, stability, stimulus, solidarity. Stability in the


government's finances, the deficit problem, and in our banks. Stimulus


to support growth, and that sustainable growth based on


business investment, exports, green technology and manufacturing. And


solidarity to give people a sense of a shared society, reducing our


appalling inequalities of income and wealth, and creating a


responsible capitalism. Let me start with stability. The last


government promised an end to boom and bust, but it gave us both. And


it left us a dangerous, unsustainable budget deficit. And


cutting that deficit is a thankless and unpopular task, but it is


unavoidable if our country and party are to be taken seriously.


And the government's tough approach to deficit reduction is often


attacked as ideological, as right- wing. The truth is that financial


discipline is not ideological, it is a necessary condition for


effective government, and I see us following in the footsteps of


Stafford Cripps and Roy Jenkins in post-war Britain, and it brought


the Canadian Liberals, Scandinavian Social Democrats, the Clinton


Democrats in United States, because they understood, unlike today's


Labour Party, that the progressive agenda of centre-left parties


cannot be delivered by bankrupt I think most of the British public


to get it, but there are politicians on both Left and Right


who do not, and some of them believe that governments, like


Father Christmas, they draw up lists of tax cuts and giveaways,


and they assume that Santa Claus will pop down the chimney and leave


presents under the tree. This is childish fantasy. Some of them, for


example, believe that if taxes on the wealthy are cut, new revenue


will miraculously appear. And I think the reasoning is something


like this, all those British billionaires who demonstrate their


patriotism by hiding from the taxman in Monaco for some Caribbean


bolt hole will come rushing back to pay more tax at a lower rate. Well,


I'm afraid that my view of this is Financial stability is not just


about the Government's deficit. Massive potential instability is


caused by British-based global banks whose combined assets are


over 400% of the size of our economy. The largest of any major


country. And that the present, banks offered a one-way bet. If


they gambled and win, they fill up the bonus pool, and when he loses,


the taxpayer pays. And the Independent Banking Commission, the


Vickers commission, provides a means to stop this dangerous


nonsense. The commission's key findings, which are two separate


retail and casino banking, must be put in place. Legislation will


start soon, and it will be APPLAUSE.


And if there are any doubts about the need for radical reform, the


UBS rogue trader is to dispel them. We simply cannot have rogue


institutions, exposing taxpayers to the risk of exploding financial


weapons of mass destruction. APPLAUSE.


But the banks must also perform their basic economic function.


Which is channeling our savings, into productive investment.


They are doing so. Productive British business and banking are


currently at odds. Banks operate a bit like a man who


either wears his trousers around his chest stifling breathing, which


is what they do at the moment or around their ankles, exposing their


assets. APPLAUSE


That's if they have any! We want the trousers around the middle!


Steady lending growth, especially to protective British businesses,


small-scale enter prices, that is what they have to do. No more feast


and famine in bank lending. APPLAUSE


Now the big economic policy question now is how-do we pro gres


from financial stability to growth? -- progress from financial


stability to growth? With business and consumer confidence so low,


there is a responsibility on Government. My job is to support


businesses. That means promoting British


commerce in the big emerging markets that have been neglected in


the past. It means keeping Britain open to


inward investment, to trade, to students and skilled workers.


It means cutting red tape which is suffocating growing companies which


create jobs. Well, I I will not provide cover


for the ideological deendents of those who once sent children up


chimneys. Panic in financial markets will not be stopped by


scrapping maternity rights. APPLAUSE


But the immediate threat is lack of demand.


With consumers, companies and governments cutting spending, there


was once a talk of a paradox of thrift where everyone in every


country is individually wise, but collectively foolish, leading to a


downward spiral. A lot of the responsibility for countering this


rests on the bank of England, to relax monetary policy, but


government can also act. We can use Chris Huhne's Green Deal to


generate 100,000 jobs, we can leverage private investment through


the growth fund and the Greenpeace Investment bank. We can allow


councils to use planning permission, using the permissions for social


housing.. We can step up investment in our clapped out infrastructure.


There are tens of billions of pounds of British savings in


pension funds and insurance companies ready to invest in


transport, energy, broadband and housing if the regulators can


ensure a reasonable, mot raid return. As Danny announced


yesterday, the the Government is putting serious money behind local


infrastructure, but even with a stimulus to support the recovery,


the next few years will be difficult.


Living standards are being squeezed by continued high imported


inflation. The painful truth is that Britain is now a poorer


country as a result of the financial crash.


The public will only accept continuing us stairity if it is


seen to be fair. Yet there is currently a great sense of


grievance that the workers and the pensioners are paying the penalty


for a crisis that they did not create.


APPLAUSE And I want a real sense of


solidarity. That does not mean that we go around in green bowler hats


carrying suitcases, but we have as a party made clear our priorities


for continuing to lift lower than average earners out of tax and the


wealthy must pay their share. What the Liberal Democrats should focus


on are the vast disparrities of wealth. Much of it in inflated


property and land price, artificially generated by the boom


of the last decade. A few weeks ago a house changed hands for �140


million. One newspaper headline said without


a sense of irony, "Oligarchs are being priced out of Central London"


Yet the owners pay no more tax than men of -- many of the occupants of


a family semi-. When some critics attack our party policy on a tax on


properties over �million, you have to wonder what part much the solar


system they live in, but let me be clear, there is absolutely nothing


wrong with generous rewards for those who build up successful


businesses. For those who create wealth and


People accept capitalism, but what they want is responsible capitalism.


As for irspibl capitalism, some of you may have noticed that one of


the big media companies has recently had a spot of bother! I


think that you know who I'm referring to. All I would say about


it is this: The Labour Party, the Conservatives, even the Scottish


nationalists spent years queuing up to pay them homage. What makes me


proud of our party is that we never compromised oifs in that way.


APPLAUSE -- come promisised ourselves in


that way. APPLAUSE


What I want to do is to strengthen the best of British business.


I have taken two initiatives in particular. I have asked Professor


John Kay, together with Sir John Rose, the former boss of Rolls-


Royce. They have commitment to long-term investment, training, R


and D. I have asked them to look at how we make our stock markets and


institutional investors get out of this short-term speculative mind


frame. I am separately consulting on how best to tackle the


escalation of executive pay. Which in many cases have lost connection


with the value of shares, let alone average employee pay.


APPLAUSE It is very hard to explain why


share holders can vote to cut top pay, that the managers then ignore


the vote. Surely pay should be transparent and not hidden from


share holders and the public? So, I want to call time on payouts for


failure. APPLAUSE


Let me... Let me just say in conclusion, that when my staff saw


my draft of this speech, they said that they could see the grey sky,


but where are the sunny uplands? I have to say that I'm sorry, but I


can only tell it as asee it. I think that people are not


projecting ten years ahead when they are worrying about how to


survive the next ten days to their pay day, but I do sense a deeper


truth, that the public is tired of being lied to by politicians and


promised what cannot be delivered. The truth is that there are


difficult times ahead. Britain's post-war pattern of ever rising


living standards has been broken by the financial collapse. But I


believe that we can turn the economy around and we will.


In the coalition agreement we promised to put fairness at the


heart of all that we do. As we rebuild our broken economy


from the rubble, the Liberal Democrats know that you can't do


one without the other. So we must now do both, fairness and recovery.


Thank you. APPLAUSE


Nick Clegg getting on to his feet there to give Vince Cable a


standing ovation. A rather more low-key Vince Cable than some


expected. He attacked the Tory supplysiders with the low rate of


tax. Attacking yet again the banks, calling for a stimulus, although


not clear if this was to be a new stimulus. He went through a range


of existing policies. He is slightly constrained as it is the


policy of the coalition not to have further stimulus in the sense of


new money. He attacked the ideological descendents of those


who sent children up chimneys, though he did not say who they were.


He also called as had been trailed in the papers and the broadcasts


this morning for greater controls on executive pay, but all that he


announced was an investigation to be led by the former chief


executive of Rolls-Royce into how stock markets and institutional


investors can get away from the speculation, so that it highly


likely to be that radical and he is consultanting about what to do on


executive pay. So I suspect in the boardrooms of the City of London up


and down the country, they are breathing a little sigh of relief.


Let's find out from the head of the Institute of Directors, Templeton,


he has been listening to the speech in London. What did you make of it


Miles Templeman? It was like you, it was much milder than we were


expecting. Much we agreed with. The emphasis on growth, on planning


liberalisation, and infrastructure. So those things are key to growth.


I was glad, apart from the bashing of the banks again that he kept off,


largely, the whole issue of executive pay.


So, you are not frightened? He has not frightened the horses by what


he said on executive pay? It was strongly billed but in your view


turned out to be pretty much milk and water? I think that is as it


should be. It is not the issue that we should be talking about now. We


know that the share hold verse a responsibility. That is in place.


It is increasingly transparent what is happening. I think that is


improving. We are on that track. What we don't need is anything


further. Could you answer the question that


Chris Huhne seemed to have difficulty in answering to me a few


minutes ago, what in your view has Vince Cable done for business?


thought it was a good question. I think he said one or two things, on


a presentships they have been goofpltd we support that. The


planning on regulation -- the planning on infrastructure. The


regulation, we have not had progress, but a lot of fine words.


I think that the enterprise zone is a good one, but will it be


effective? We will wait and see. There are some areas, but not a lot


of progress yet,ual it is a difficult environment. Do you think


he was re fefring to you or the Institute of Directors as the


ideological descendents of those who want to send children up


chimneys? I don't know who. He did not follow through on it at all any


way. No. I think what we need from him is a much stronger voice


supporting business. We don't need the problems in business, but the


support. We need that internationally as well as at home.


He is doing that. Do you think that Vince Cable is


that strong voice? He's got to be, otherwise we never get the inward


investment. Is he? Well, the less he talks about bashing banks and


executive pay, the better. Miles Templeman, thank you very


much. Now, it is a hard life here at


party conferences, I'm sure you realise that. Not only do we wade


through countless fringe events, endless drinks receptions it is our


duty to go and to get our heads around the impenetrable language


that the political parties like to use on these occasions, but never


fear, in the first of our series of conference jargon busters, who are


you going to call? The Daily Politics and Andrew Dilnot, our own


dictionary, he's been out and about in Birmingham, looking at the


powers of the Lib Dem conference. Of all of the party conferences,


the Lib Dem seas arguably the most powerful. The conference is the


sovereign body of the party. It is responsible for making policy and


all policy flows from it. Not always a source of comfort to


the leadership, however, not everything voted on in conference


actually make it is into an There is part of the party will


have suggested things they want to discuss, and they pass that on to


the federal committee, who choose which ones will be debated at


conference, and then members will get to vote on them and turn them


into policy. Oh, yeah, how do they vote? Each member is issued with a


voting card that comes with their conference pass. That allows them


to take part in the full debates, which I chaired by the President of


the party or his representatives. He or she have the final say in any


decision. That was Giles Dilnot. With me now


part two MPs July overtaking notes, Duncan Hames and Tessa Munt. What


is the point of a Liberal Democrat conference that might it is a good


time to get together, to recharge our batteries. You are in a


coalition with no power to implement what to discuss. Are you


sure? To anyone policy that you have passed this week that will be


adopted by the coalition. -- Tell Me one policy. In March, as a


result of the demands we wanted to the health reforms, conference


flexed its muscles, and we have seen the impact of that in


legislation. What have you done this week? We have had the


discussion about having a response to looking at drugs and the problem


of drugs that inflicts massive damage on all of our communities. I


know it is a very unpopular topic, but it is what we have called for,


a structured and proper look at the impact. I listened to parts of the


debate. Do think the government will adopt it? We have to ask, and


we will see. We will have a go, won't we? Would you hold your


breath for it? We have got to do something, we cannot ignore the


problem any longer. Isn't there a danger that your conference is


becoming more like the Labour and Conservative conferences, which


over the years have a bath into rallies? Well, I guess your viewers


can judge that over the next couple of weeks. I think they will say


that Liberal Democrat conference has been different to the


conferences they will see in the next couple of weeks, which are


dominated by the platform. What is the mood of this conference?


think it is a slightly different one from normal, been at perhaps


when we met back in March, people were still slightly shell-shocked


about the fact that we were in power. What has happened in his


last little while is that, having recovered from the damage that we


were inflicted in May, what has happened now... In what way have


you recovered? Q and n% in the polls. I do not mean in polling


terms. What we have got is an opportunity to actually rebuild our


thoughts, think about the impact policies. What has changed is that


we have grown up a little bit, I think. That is what power has done.


I think it probably has. Are you growing up? We certainly have to


leave quite a lot of old habits behind. We need to roll our sleeves


and concentrate on making a difference, rather than talking


about a vision for what might be, instead making sure that it happens.


Do you want to change the rules of conference? Does it need to be


modernised? Does it needs to be more dynamic, interesting? No.


think it was pretty interesting when the issue that was of great


concern to the whole country was being discussed at our last Lib Dem


Conference... You are back in March again! This is now set them up.


This was an experience we never had in opposition, and I'm sure we'll


have other debates like that again. I think that has reinvigorated Lib


Dem Conference, to know that the debates here can make a difference


in government Airway that they never could before. Is it true that


he will miss the speech are your great leader? I am all start house


that you do such a thing? It is just a one-off. Is it true that you


are going on your honeymoon? That is right, yes. Isn't Birmingham


enough of a honeymoon for any Lib Dem? An old liberal city, a fine


tradition. Where could you go that could better Birmingham? It is


certainly a great prelude to my honeymoon to have spent his time at


conference. Where are you going? That's is a state secret, Andrew.


thought you believed in transparency! A bit of privacy as


well. You're also marrying a Theroux -- fellow anti-. I have


already married there. I did not get an invite! So you donate the


honeymoon did go on to Birmingham, is that what happened? -- delayed.


We manage to come to conference, but I figured that while the other


parties are having their conferences, that is when we will


be leased list. We be taking the lead Dem manifesto or the Orange


Book on honeymoon? I think we might Stop you might think the Liberal


Democrats are a soft and cuddly party, but we know differently.


They are turning nasty. The knives are out, and not just towards


Labour, they barely mention in these days. They are having a go at


The our coalition partners are sometimes helpful. I thought of


asking George Osborne for some jokes for his speech, as he knows a


lot about gags. They get worse! But I did not want to get up his nose


about it. I thought I went to queue for too long tonight, because I


want to get back to my hotel room to watch Strictly. Do you watch it?


Coming back to George Osborne, I heard that he is keen to get on a


show as well. He wants to do a line dance. It probably damages my


efforts as getting anything through the court ever again. But never


mind. I'm afraid divorce is inevitable, so has your President I


took the liberty of seeking legal advice about how we stand any event


of a World Cup, and there is good news and bad news. Good news, we


might get half of Ashcroft's money. Bad news, we have to have Eric


Pickles at the weekends. With me now, the Foreign Office


minister Jeremy Browne. Welcome to the Daily Politics. That afternoon.


Does all this Tory bashing get your pulse racing? I think he expected


at the party conference, no doubt there will be some Lib Dem bashing


at the Labour and Conservative conferences as of. I let it wash


over me. You are not going to be embarrassed when you next bargain


to thought Tory boss at the Foreign Office. No, I don't think I will. I


have missed what you call Tory machine. Really? It has been hard


to avoid. I think all party conferences, as long as I have been


going to them, have had people taking a knock at the other two


parties, and all three parties did, and probably the public do not


respond well, but sometimes the party faithful quite enjoy it and


it raises their spirits. But why are you bashing the Tories more


than Labour? I do not know if we are. Oh, yes, you are! I suppose


there might be concern in some quarters that we do not appear to


have lost our distinctiveness, and maybe people feel there is an


audience for showing that we are different in spirit from the


Conservatives, but I think is pretty peripheral to what is


happening at a conference as a whole. The Secretary of the 1922


Committee of backbenchers, Mark Pritchard, once a vote on Britain's


membership of the European Union. - - once. That was in your Lib Dem


manifesto last year, so presumably you are in favour of that. I do not


think it end -- it is anything that is likely to happen soon, and the


Prime Minister has said that, at Mark Pritchard, a perfectly


reasonable MP, the needs to raise that with the leader of his own


party, I think. But it was in your manifesto, I will read out the


words. The European Union has evolved significantly since the


last public vote on membership over 30 years ago, 1975, when we voted


to stay in. The Liberal Democrats remain committed therefore to a


referendum. We had the coalition agreement that was forged in the


days after the general election, and there was no commitment to a


referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. So it is not


party policy any more. When the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime


Minister feel that is a necessary measure to take, then no doubt it


will be taken, but it isn't anything that is being contemplated


at this stage. To be honest, if you look at what is happening in Greece


and other countries in the eurozone, a referendum on Britain's


membership is not the number one issue with regard to Europe at the


moment. What actually matters most in Europe is whether the currency


which many countries in the European Union belong to is going


to go even further into crisis, and that is what is preoccupying people.


So should we filed his promise in your manifesto alongside tuition


fees as not worth the paper it was written on? -- should we file this


promise. Let me put it this way. I was born in May 1970, and we abide


many general elections since then. -- we have had. No Lib Dem


manifesto commitments implemented that any of those general elections.


2010, three quarters of our manifesto commitments implemented


in government. It is an amazing achievement for a party that only


as 8% of the seats in the House of Commons, we are in coalition with


the Conservatives in the national interest because no party won the


general election. No party has a mandate to implement this party


manifesto in full, but for the first time in my grandparents


lifetime we are implementing large parts of our manifesto. People who


have voted Lib Dem for decades in the Wilders years have reasons to


be ecstatic that their vote now cancels and they -- that their vote


now counts for something. Would it make sense that Britain would


prosper if it loosened its ties with the EU? Our relationship with


the EU is in the agreement that the parties arrived at after the last


general election, and we are working very constructively, the


government as a whole, within the European Union, and I can give you


a couple of examples. We have just signed a free-trade agreement with


South Korea, a country I have responsibility for within the


Foreign Office. That is a great success. We are co-ordinating


policy across the European Union with regards to Syria. I think that


is an important shed bit of policy. Two good examples, but what is the


answer to my question? Would we prosper if we loosened our ties


with the EU, as William Hague has claimed? The point and making is


that the government has a settled position on the EU, and in practice


on a day-to-day basis we are working very constructively with


the other members of the European Union to deliver British objectives.


Tim Farron, the President of your party, says that the government,


this current government, would be an absolute nightmare without Lib


Dem ministers. Is he right? It is a hypothetical question, because no


party won the last general election, so we have a coalition as a result


of the British people deciding that no party decided to govern alone.


The British people came to the conclusion that they did not want


any party to be in government implementing its manifesto in its


entirety on their own. So it does not sound like you agree with the


phrase absolute nightmare. They, as a result, have given as a situation


where we needed to forge a coalition, and that is what we have


done. If I wanted to join the Conservative Party, if I wanted to


implement Conservative Party policies, I could have done that. I


did not do that, I joined the Liberal Democrats, and I'm proud of


the contribution they are making to government, but we finished third


in the general election. We do not deserve to govern outright or on


our own, we did not win a mandate. We are in collision with the


Conservatives, and lover of making every effort to put the country


back on a street. Would you like a badger that says don't panic Quetta


mark what are the other options? I love tax cuts, I love the euro.


Would you like that? No. I love nuclear power. Love is a bit strong.


How about I love the coalition? think that reflects the mood are


all hard-headed people. That is it for today. We are back tomorrow at


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