Conference Special: Part 2 Daily Politics

Conference Special: Part 2

Similar Content

Browse content similar to Conference Special: Part 2. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Afternoon, folks. Welcome to our final Daily Politics Conference


Special, from the Lib-Dem Conference, here in Birmingham. It


will reach its traditional climax with the annual leader's speech to


the party faithful. Nick Clegg finished the text last night. No


burning of the midnight oil for him. It contains no dramatic new


announcements, but a plea to his party and the country to stay the


coalition course. He will be on his feet in about four -- half-an-hour.


As always, Daily Politics will bring you live and uninterrupted


coverage. There is one part of the speech at the Lib Dem spinners have


been key to highlight. The decker de Prime Minister's depiction of


summer rioters as youngsters who had fallen through the cracks. And


his plans to send them all to summer schools. We will be


analysing that command anything else he has to say, in the best


pre-speech build-up and post-Speech debate in town. And Jo is here with


more. I'm soaking up the atmosphere at the Liberal Democrat conference


ahead of the big speech. And just what kind of fiscal stimulus is


Vince Cable cooking up? The Business Secretary will join us


live. And we will hear from former Lib-Dem leader Paddy Ashdown and


ask him if he backs divorce or continued married bliss with the


Yes, all of that is coming up between now and 4:15pm on BBC Two.


To kick off our coverage, with us is a Sam Coates of the Times and


Ben Brogan of the Daily Telegraph. What has Mr Clegg got to do in this


speech this afternoon? I think it's the perfect speech for an


uneventful conference. This conference is all about being dull


and steady, just kind of... could say they have achieved that!


Writing the ship, but not really taking it anywhere. It's the


perfect beach for that kind of conference. It's without major


announcements, it raises the hope for a few things, but there isn't a


great deal of policy beneath it. There's a big bit in a speech about


the economy, and he promises to do more about growth. Does that mean a


big fiscal stimulus? No, we are told. There are no plans for that.


There is a big section about taking on the unions. Is there a change in


position? No, we are told. It will try to rally de troops, settled the


troops, but it's not going to change the political markets.


telling us to prepare to be bored? I think he's telling us not to


expect to see Nick Clegg on the front pages tomorrow. Then maybe it


has failed? From his point of view, I think that's a good thing. People


have been going around and saying that the conference is boring and


flat, but from their point of view, that's quite good. In the past,


their conferences have made it into the headlines for the wrong reasons.


He desperately wants to persuade us that his party, not just him, is a


responsible member of the coalition. It is taking its duties in


government seriously. I think he's quite surprised the extent to which


his members here, in... Wherever we are, their Eminem... I can confirm


we are in Birmingham. -- wherever we are, in Birmingham... They have


not said anything outrageous. months ago, you could have


speculated this would be a lynch- mob for Nick Clegg. We wrote that!


You probably did, that is where we got the phrase from. Thankfully,


that is well forgotten. They have studied it, there has not been a


great deal of complaining. My Dem activists are hardier than Labour


and Tory activists. Why do you say that? They have seen two leaders


dispatched, underperforming under a General Election expected to do


well in, being thrown into coalition with a party they thought


they were in politics to oppose. Broadly speaking, they have behaved


themselves and they haven't complained too much. Therein lies


the danger. I think the Lib-Dems are over the content with a boring


conference, where there is not much to say. To get anywhere useful by


2013, to allow them to return dozens of MPs, they are going to


need a much clearer forward message about why they are in government


and what they appear to do. I don't know what a Lib Dem growth will


defence policy is. They haven't really told us. It might not matter.


When you look at the international economic situation, they are not in


control of any of the events that out washing around us. It is likely


to get much worse before it get better? I think that is the


backdrop of the conference. It is almost that this conference is


pointless, we are staring into the abyss and things across the Channel


and across the Atlantic are looking rather dire. I think Nick Clegg is


very aware of that. They were grappling with how much politics


could be in this speech. They made a clear decision that it needed to


be statesmanlike and needed to be she wore of that. People out there


are looking at the International situation, they are thinking that


they don't want to hear that kind of language. There are an awful lot


of points against Labour, he decides not to do any yah-boo


politics against the Conservatives. They argued that is because it was


done earlier in the week. Who have been the winners of this


conference? Who has come through as a leading Lib Dem start? The one


that has perhaps jumped the shark is Tim Farron. I'm surprised by the


number of his colleagues who said that his speech, with lots of jokes


against the Tories, it was perhaps older -- over eight, not


necessarily helpful. -- over a bit. People were worried that he might


even consider becoming leader of the party, because he would put


them to the left of Labour. I think Vince Cable had a good conference.


He made a speech that was incredibly gloomy. But you just


have to look at the economic news this morning and think that he


broadly had it right. There is very little to cheer about. Who do you


think has had a good conference? think Nick Clegg has brought Lee


had a good conference. He hasn't had the attacks, he hasn't had the


questions over his leadership for 2013. They were absolutely take


what they had this time around. The other person is Paddy Ashdown. Why?


There is a bit of a reshuffle inside Downing Street. All of his


old team, Olly Grender, a couple of others, they are going in. A


reverse takeover by a party going on in Downing Street. We'll see if


we can get him in before the speech and we will put that to him. We


will let you go and get pole position for the speech.


Andrew, D will be pleased to know that I am a winner and every single


key person here is a winner. We are minutes ahead -- away from


witnessing the speech. But we want one are due to win big. Imagine


sitting back cant luxuriating in the indulgence of the Labour


coverage with a Daily Politics mug filled with crystal champagne. You


will have to buy the bubbly, but if you enter the guess the year


competition, you could win your own mug. Just see if you can remember


# In the jungle, the mighty jungle, # Don't say a prayer for me now,


and save it until the mourning How long do you think your regime


can survive, with battles in the # Never a frown, with golden-


It would be wrong and unwise. Apart from anything else, it would be


Well, to be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics?, and you


know you want to, or send your You can see the full terms and


conditions on the website. Just to say, we will be picking a winner


tomorrow, back in the Daily Politics studio.


Delegates this year seem to have been very well-behaved. What a


shame! They stuck to the party line, much to the joy of press officers


but to the sadness of most journalists. Before the Lib Dem


spinners completely relax, we sent the Daily Mail's Quentin Letts out


to give us his take on how the conference has gone.


Nice car, Vince! In the old days, the Liberal Democrats could have


their conferences, a supremely confident that they would never get


anywhere near a ministerial limousine. Nowadays, they are in


government. But don't worry, they still been complaining about the


Government they help to create. Take this for some Tory bashing.


I'm afraid, divorce is inevitable. As your President, I've taken some


legal advice about how we stand in the event of a break-up. There is


good news and bad news. Good news, we might get half of Ashcroft's


money. Bad news, we have to have pickles at the weekend. Ed Hume was


determined not to be had done. danger, if you don't compromise, is


Kiev. America, the markets looked over the brink when the madcap


Republican Right in Congress would not compromise with the President.


Let that be a warning to the Conservative right here. We need no


Tea Party tendency in Britain. Dem conferences have always been


pretty docile affairs. Look at it, it's not exactly Nuremberg. Nick


Clegg certainly thought he had done well under control. Does anybody


else want to ask a supplementary? Heavens, how docile. It's like


North Korea's conference meetings. They certainly haven't been many of


them here this week. But supporting the Lib-Dems is a bit like


supporting a lower-league football club. You cheer the T1, whatever


the results. That explains how they can clap enthusiastically when Nick


Clegg has stood up for the coalition... Just as they have


clapped along enthusiastically when others have attacked it. Where are


they all? Some rotten so-and-sos reckoned that the Lib-Dems are a


bunch of comedians. Education Minister Sarah Teather soon proved


them wrong. I thought I wouldn't keep you for too long, because I


want to get back to my hotel room to watch Strictly... I've heard


that they got Peter Hain booked for the next series. He's doing the


tango. Rupert Murdoch is on for the series after. He's been out


shopping with Andy Coulson already. Living dangerously... Coming back


to George Osborne, I heard that he's quite keen to get on the show


as well. He wants to delay line dance. -- do we Adeline dance.


Lib-Dems have always had a slightly split personality between the old


SDLP and the old Liberals. That polarity is continuing with those


that are happy to be in government and those that are slightly


happening abroad. I'm not sure that anything that is happening in


Birmingham has really shaken the world. Oh, well, I'm off to


That was Quentin Letts' viewer of Let's get the view from Testament,


Julian Huppert and Stephen Williams. Described as docile, dull and


irrelevant, well, that was the implication from Quentin Letts?


don't think that is true at all. I think it has been an interesting


conference, we have started to stretch that some things and see


policies that we want to get implemented. How? They have been no


divide on any key issues, there has been "no" vote on Health, where is


the stretch? There has been a whole lot of things, looking at a


sensible policy to stop the war on drugs and reduce harm to people.


We'd look at things to do with how to connect people up, developed the


digital economy, developing the way we look at our society, towards


well-being, how people like what they're doing and not just about


money. Generally, people have agreed with it. Plus, the French


discussions. Nick Clegg was saying, any supplementary questions? Nobody


had anything to say. What happened to the soul of the Liberal Democrat


party. We still have them. Where is it? It's interesting. That


particular question, there were no supplementary questions for that


one, but there were four other questions. The questions we asking


ourselves, it is,, when we make policy, it is going to work. We had


the luxury of opposition for many years. Now, in government, we are


doing the right thing and the fair thing. Do you think it's time to


look at plan B on the economy? if we have no money, we can't spend


more money. It's absolutely the right thing to do, follow-through.


It will make it better for people. Stephen, you negotiated on the


referendum on AV, which you lost. At the same time, you have tied


yourself to a boundary review which looks pretty awful for the Liberal


Democrats. Was that a No member of Parliament likes


boundary reviews. I have been through one and I survived it. You


can survive them. It was a bargain on constitutional reform that we


entered into. It is as much our fault that we lost the referendum


because I do not think that we had a strong enough yes campaign.


you might lose seats, will you rebel? There are lots of members of


Parliament. Conservative MPs are chuntering in the background as


well. I think it is right that we have a boundary review and reduce


the numbers of seats. I am talking generally, but there is no reason


to be cheerful, nothing uplifting. Is that what you want to hear from


Nick Clegg? There are lots of things to be cheerful about. We


have managed to lift 1 million people out of income tax. You know


the record. That is a great achievement. We have spent many


decades coming up with great ideas and not being able to do anything


about them. Now we are able to help people. We can actually electrify


the train line, and put money into the Green Investment Bank, to


change things for people in Britain. Still supporting the reforms on


health care? I am not actually a fan of them. I hope they can fix


that in the House of Lords. There is this pretence that the NHS is


perfect as it is. Clearly it is not perfect. People come to my surgery


and make that clear time I -- time and again. Why about summer school


for rioters? It is not just for them. I do think that the point is


that when children move into bigger schools, it is a difficult


transition at 11. We have all had that debate about whether the


summer holidays are too long, if it might be easier to move young


people into this all where they are going to start at 11. One feels it


is not the big answer. They began so was the money. The �50 million?


-- the big answer was the money. is the pupil premium. This should


make things better. Along with many other measures. OK, we have the


countdown to the speech. Thank you very much.


Thank you, Jo. Before we speak to Paddy Ashdown, let's have a look at


Mr Clegg arriving with his wife. Arriving at the Conference Centre,


not that long ago. Going through the canal district. This Conference


Centre is in the centre of Birmingham. It is part of a new


redevelopment programme. His wife was not supposed to want him to


stand for his second term but that was knocked down. She is dressed in


a yellow dress, I am told, from Topshop. And the jacket is from


this are -- another High Street shop. Why is that, Paddy Ashdown? I


will not ask you that. However you cut it, among the rank and file


here, there remains deep unease that they are in bed with the


Tories. However you cut it, Andrew, there remains among the rank and


file a deep understanding of why it is necessary. I know that you like


fighting and we have not lived up to your comfortable prejudices, but


the truth of the matter is this. And our expectations, which were


never high. Your expectations never are. Let's come back to the


question. There is a deep unease. You may feel you have to do it but


there is a deep unease. I suspect there will be an unease in the Tory


party about working with the Lib Dems. That is what coalitions are


about. This is the point and let's be serious for a moment. I think


you have not yet fully recognise the observers of our party, shop


and a cute like you they may be, that over the years the path that


we have followed, which I initiated as leader, means that the majority


of the people here are councillors. They have been in power, had a


coalition, understand what it is about. Does a coalition lead to


tensions between the parties? Of course it does. Of course there is


some unease about that. But the thing that really stands me, and I


am pretty surprised, is the sense that the steady understanding that


what we are doing is the right thing for our country and the party,


and by and large it has been pretty does as well, with the odd slip up


here and there. I suggest that one of the reasons why they are uneasy


is because leaders like you, and Mr Kennedy, and Mr Campbell, never


prepared the rank and file for coalition with the Tories. The


party was always clearly on the left when you 3 lead it. The


thought was always that if there would be a coalition it would be


with Labour. You never said, hang on, one day we may have to their --


share power with the Tories. That is a fair point. I was in power


when Margaret Thatcher was leading. If we honour the electorate, we had


to work with the Tories. For me, it was quite a shock. The ground had


not been prepared. Nobody prepared the ground. Nick Clegg had not


either. Do we love the Tories? No, we don't. Do we love Labour? We


don't. But we are democrats and we listen to the voice of the British


people speaking through the ballot box. When it is our duty to respond


to that as Democrats, it is not who but what. And of -- the question


was how do you govern? This coalition does have tensions about


it, but both sides have been surprised by the other. We have


been surprised by the number of things we actually agree with with


the Conservatives, starting with a deficit reduction plan, and they


have been surprised with the combatants and the steadiness of


the party, based in its ministers and its members. -- competence,


both in its ministers and its members. The general attitude is


collectivist. It is the minority of economic liberals that have


actually won the argument in your party. You now have to stand for


fiscal discipline, cutting the size of Government, not raising taxes


any more, no more public spending. You lost the argument. You would


forgive me if I said to you that you are normally highly acute, but


you are just plain wrong. If you did not notice that when I took


over in 1983, we moved the party away from social liberalism on to


the free market, on to the enterprise based approach of the


SDP, combining with the St -- SDP. That began that shift. You always


calling for higher taxes and Government spending. I was not. I


was calling for spending on education. Where does David Laws


come from? He joined his party when I was leader, he is my successor.


Nick Clegg joined his party when I was leader, and if you have not


spotted that your old prejudice view that we are collectively


Socialists... Of no, I said you were divided and they had won the


argument. Those that believe that there is a proper balance between


economic and social liberalism but the balance had shifted too far


towards social liberalism include me. That is where I wanted to lead


the party to. I am surprised that you did not notice that change


taking place over the last 10 years. This is the fruition of it. At we


will try to do better next time. am glad to hear it. What would you


do now if you were making these speeches? Exactly what we are doing.


No, I mean in terms of preparation. Would you be pacing up and down?


have seen many leaders do this and I think this is the most difficult


thing that the party leader has to do. 45 minutes of speech,


WordPerfect, stir the hall, make the press listen, speak to the


country beyond the hall. It is a huge pressure. I used to the pace


up and down. My wife said don't go near me because I would bite your


head off. But Nick Clegg will be nervous, he will be. We will let


you get a good seat. We expect they have reserved one for you. Thank


you, Paddy Ashdown. You have just heard that it is


never easy being party leader and this year has proved that for Nick


Clegg. Somebody else that knows about the trials and tribulations


is Charles Kennedy. This is his Well, in the words of the song, If


I Could turn Back Time. Of course, for the Lib Dems, we cannot. We


have had 12 months of the real grind of Government, and with it,


policy splits at the top, electoral setbacks, sometimes severe, the


loss of that alternative vote referendum, and more recently of


course, and disturbingly, rioting on the streets. And do you know


what? There is no suggestion that the next 12 months will get any


Now, this is Nick Clegg's rather magisterial deputy prime


ministerial compound on Whitehall. It was just one year ago that he


addressed our party conference in that role. Hold our nerve, and we


will have changed British politics for good. Hold our nerve, and we


will have changed Britain for good. And of course, he is right.


Politics, you know, is always a marathon more than a sprint. As a


party of Government we are still the rules of engagement have


changed, and that we still have four long years to go. Of course,


probably the biggest single flashpoint came with that notorious


U-turn over student tuition fees. Thousands of angry students on the


streets, right here in Whitehall, police having to kettle in certain


areas, like outside the Treasury when I am standing, long from the


Cabinet War Rooms. I was around that afternoon and it felt like


wartime conditions. Inside the Commons chamber itself, highly


heated debate, followed by that vote. The Lib Dems, well, we were


unable to resolve our internal differences, and we ended up voting


in three different directions. With his former leader and another


former leader both voting against the Government. Their noes to the


left, 302. Of course, once you are in Government, you are also much


more likely to find yourself in the full glare of the media. This year


David Laws was suspended from the Commons for seven days after the


standards committee found that he had mismanaged his expenses. Chris


Huhne, dogged by questions about that driving penalty. And Vince


Cable, stripped of responsibility for media and telecoms issues after


a newspaper surreptitiously recorded in declaring war on Rupert


Murdoch. -- recorded him. It has been the toughest of tough years.


First the Oldham East by-election, which proved that we are no longer


the automatic insurgent party of those kind of contests. Then the


meltdown at the Scottish parliamentary elections. There was


no way in the time available, 12 months, that the coalition


agreement and medicine from Westminster would do anything other


than hold back the party in Scotland, and so it proved. And


then the English local elections, usually a source of good support


for us at grassroots level. I am afraid to say, not the case this


year. The biggest issue that came up on the doorstep was tuition fees,


but also the way that Nick Clegg has run the coalition, and I am in


favour of the coalition, but I think he has run it very badly and


in my view should resign immediately. A huge blow of course


was losing that alternative vote referendum campaign. It was a


campaign that just did not seem to send the right signals, get the


right messages across. If anything, it appeared to press all the wrong


buttons with those that did bother to go out and vote. It has kicked


into the very long grass the subject closest to Liberal Democrat


hearts, I fear, for perhaps another political generation. It has


certainly soured relations between the two coalition parties. Put it


this way. I think everybody knows my views about the nature of no


campaign. It has been a fairly nasty campaign which has sought to


Brighton and mislead people. Although I take the view that


former leaders should be seen occasionally but not heard too


often, if I did have one word of advice for Nick Clegg I think it


would be this. At the moment there is a sense that we are just trying


to fight too many battle fronts at the same time. So let's just be a


bit more canny, pick our fights, Well, that was Charles Kennedy.


Joining me now, top-level people at the conference, Mark Littlewood


from the Institute of economic Affairs and Evan habits -- Evan


Harris, chair of the Lib Dem committee. What does he have to do,


Nick Clegg, this afternoon? I hope that he speaks beyond the


that he speaks beyond the conference floor. A lot of this


conference has been about making sure that the Liberal Democrat


party is comfortable alongside him. It's been surprisingly disciplined.


I thought that after year-old coalition there would be many more


complaints, much fewer people being comfortable with being in coalition.


There hasn't been a sign of that at all. The party leadership can be


happy with that. The question is, the people watching on television,


not the few 1000 Liberal Democrat activists in the hall. His Mark


Harris right? There hasn't been much dissent and he has actually


concentrated too much on the cosiness of the Liberal Democrats,


making them feel comfortable with all that Tory bashing, rather than


concentrating on the issues of the day? I think Mark is right, we


voted for the coalition, we are a democratic party. You asked the


question, being in the coalition, no. What most of the people


concerned about policy matters, and there has been some debate, though


not a lot, they want to stick to the coalition agreement. They don't


want to go beyond it, into the wild west of Tory manifesto commitments


that we thought we had excluded. Health is a good example. Although


it wasn't brought to the conference for on a motion, there were a lot


of people condemning the fact it was not on a motion. Norman Lamb


quite fairly said this morning that there is still more work to do on


health. People are not complaining about the coalition, they are


surprisingly sanguine about the state of the polls, but they are


still concerned about policy. That is how we should be. The Lib Dems


have been screaming from the rooftops, Nick Clegg in particular.


75% of the Lib Dem manifesto has been implemented. We are only in


the first year. But to what extent is that a good percentage and can


you push further? My worry is that there has been quite a lot of Tory


bashing, which I don't think would happen in Whitehall, from a lot of


people doing it, because they are in a safe enclave of Liberal


Democrats. And there's not been enough about what the double


Democrats want to do to get growth into the economy. Vince Cable...


Well, you must have missed Vince Cable's speech. I don't think you


missed it, I think you disagreed. We are saying it is right that the


Tories should be painted, and they are proud to be painted as people


that want to cut taxes for millionaires with the 50 pence rate.


We are clear that we are fighting against that. They say it is


temporary. You think it should be permanent? We are saying that


unless you replace it with something that makes the better-off


pay their fair share, then it should stay. We complained in March


and September that it was not being distinctive enough. I think Mark


agreed that it wasn't being distinctive enough. Now he is


putting out our distinctive position and people say it is anti-


Tory. He is a anti-Tory because he is not a Tory. I did Nick Clegg,


Vince Cable and others have shown a lot of honesty about the shape of


the economy. They have not been saying that it is going to come


good quickly. But they haven't really matter a programme about how


they will get growth into the economy. Despite the stimulus,


which isn't really extra money at all, they haven't got a plan. The


Business Secretary Hotson set out where growth is going to come from.


There is a real difficulty. They don't want to move into plan B,


because they don't think that plan A has been given enough time to


work. I think Mark would agree that plan B, or a non- plan of Labour,


would not be an answer. But we are running out of time before there


has to at least be a plan A plus. Some more stimulus, more Keynesian


worker. Paul quantitative easing, which we are pressing the Bank of


England to do. If the economy doesn't recover, then both Labour


and Liberal Democrat are in trouble. Does their committed in point? We


know that growth is barely coming off the bottom. Forecasts have been


downgraded again. When does the grant -- downgrade come? If the IMF


are right, rather than the earlier government forecasts, then the


deficit is not going to be controlled in the way that George


Osborne wants. That's the problem, we'll have to look at a spending


review. But I don't think we've heard enough this week about what


we are going to do to make Britain and easier and better place to do


business in. Cut in corporation tax? There have been these points


about fairness, but I would like to see more about how we are going to


attract inward investment into Britain, how we are going to make


it easier for entrepreneurs. It's not in competition. You can be


entrepreneurial in your outlook, still have people making a huge


amount of money, people that are turning their wealth. You can do


that and you can still have a fairer society. Or as fair a


society as possible, given the austerity. I don't just brush that


offer. Liberals like me, mainstream liberal Democrats, put social


justice first. But the Tories want the economy to be first, that's the


reality? You don't get fairness without using the fruits of the


economy. You can't just say that the fairness stuff is not critical


for us. Do I think we are getting close to the time for the big


speech. Back to you Andrew. The we were told by party managers that


Nick Clegg was going to run and little early.


Now we are told he is going to run a little late. Don Foster has just


given a warm-up speech. A fund- raising speech. They are passing


around the bucket in the hall. I did say passing around the bucket,


not kicking the bucket! Just to be clear on that. While we wait for


Nick Clegg to take to the stage, let's have a word with Nick


Robinson. What has Mr Clegg got to do this afternoon? Quite simply to


try to persuade people who are not listening to him any more to listen


to him once again. In a sense, it's an incredibly modest target. But


nothing else he does is worthwhile if he is not getting a hearing. The


problem, he believes, is quite simple. After going into government


with the Conservatives, which many traditional Lib-Dem voters regarded


as a betrayal, after breaking his word, as they saw it, on tuition


fees, that they have simply not been listening to anything he has


said since. They don't want to know. His aim today is to say, with this


refrain we will hear again and again, that it wasn't easy to go


into government, but it was right. You might not agree with everything


we are doing, it might be difficult and painful, but, for goodness sake,


credit me with doing it for the right reasons. If that is all he


achieves, he'll be perfectly content, I think. But he hasn't


given anything very dramatic to get people's attention. The Government


has no money and they are very confined by the international


economic situation. What he is offering is an argument. His risky


is that people lie in the mood to say, I don't want to hear your


argument. People might say, what difference did it make? We've had


some bleak economic news. Vince Cable using the metaphor of it


being an economic war time. That went down rather badly, not just in


the Treasury but with other Liberal Democrats. They thought it was


rather bleak, although characteristic of Vince Cable. He


now can't say, we have the solution to this wartime problem. He will


make a commitment to deal with the problem of the deficit and the lack


of growth, and a commitment to do what he can to spend more on


infrastructure, not for sources of growth. We are not expecting any


detail in that. I know that he believes that the sort of


conference speech that has five or six new announcements and has


people scurrying to work out if it is new money or not, that it's not


the best way to use these pictures. It's a rare moment way you get


quite a sizable audience watching the whole thing live. You get


substantial coverage on BBC news bulletins, instead of one or two


clips, you can get people having a chance to seek your argument. That


is the best way. That's going to do all. I believe Mr Roberts and... No,


you are Mr Robinson, you are not speaking today. Nick Clegg, getting


a standing ovation before he has even said a word. It's the sort of


thing that happens in party conferences. Let's listen to the


leader's address at the Lib Dem conference of 2011. We bring it to


you live. The deputy Prime Minister, Thank you. France -- friends, his


party, the Liberal Democrats, we have now been in government for 500


days. Not easy, is it? None of us thought it would be a walk in the


park. But I suspect none of us predicted just how tough it would


turn out to be. We have or support, we have lost seats, we have lost a


referendum. I know how painful it has been to face anger and


frustration on the doorstep. Some of you may even have wondered, will


it all be worth it in the end? It will be. And, today, I want to


explain why. But above all I want to pay tribute to you. Your


resilience, your Grace Under Fire. I have been genuinely moved by your


spirit and your strength. Thank you. And thank you, bow ball, for never


forgetting what we are in politics for. At the May elections, Alex


Cole-Hamilton, one of our defeated candidates in Edinburgh, said that


if cruising was part payment for ending child detention, then, as he


said, I accept it with all my heart. -- if losing was part payment. That


is the liberal spirit. That is It is a spirit that gave birth to


our party. That kept us alive when the other two parties tried to kill


us off. The spirit that means, however great our past, our fight


will always be for a better future. Now, down in Westminster, we have


been vilified like never before. The left and the right, I tell you,


they didn't like a as much in opposition and they like as a whole


lot less now we are in government. The left accuse us of being


powerless puppets, duped by a right-wing conservative clique. The


right accuse us of being a sinister left-wing clique, who have duped


powerless Conservatives. I wish they would make up their minds! Yes,


it has been hard. And adversity tests the character of a party,


just as it tests any person. We have shown, you have shown, immense


strength. After being hit hard, we picked ourselves up and we came out


fighting. Fighting to keep the NHS safe, fighting to protect human


rights, fighting to create jobs, fighting for every family. Not


doing the easy thing. But doing the right thing. Not easy, but right.


As for of those seats were lost in May, let me tell you this. I will


not rest, we will not rest until we have won every single one of those


Now, these may not be easy times for others as a party. But much


more importantly, these are not easy times for our country.


Economic insecurity, conflict, terrorism, disorder flaring on our


streets. Times like these can breathe protectionism and populism.


So, times like these are when liberals are needed most. Our party


has fought for liberal values for a century and a half, justice,


optimism, freedom, we are not about This Conference Centre is on the


site of the old Bingley Hall, where William Gladstone stood, 130 years


ago, have to found the National Liberal Federation. He observed


that day that Birmingham had shown it was no place for week need


liberalism. No change there, then. So we are strong, united, true to


our values, back in Government and In Government you are faced with


hard choices every single day. The question is how you make them. Some


ask how we can get a market to work here. Others, how can this win a


small boats? If you, what will the press think? -- win a small votes.


For liberals, the litmus test is always the national interest. Not


doing the easy thing, but the right thing. That takes a certain kind of


character, one that we have seen on display over the last few months


and days here in Birmingham. Brave, principal, awkward, resolute,


optimistic, unstoppable, and I am not just talking about Paddy


Ashdown, I am talking about every single one of you in this hall! But


I think... But I think people still need to know more. More about the


character of our party. Not just how we govern, but why. We proved


something about ourselves last year when we faced a historic choice,


whether or not to enter Government in coalition with the Conservatives.


Now, the easy thing would have been to sit on the opposition benches,


throwing rocks at the Government as it tried to get control of the


public finances, and in the short term it might even have been more


popular. But it wouldn't have been right. At that moment, Britain


needed a strong Government. Alistair Darling's recent book is


called Back From The Brink. In reality, Labour left us on the


brink. Teetering on the edge of an economic precipice, so we put aside


party differences for the sake of the national interest. People


before politics. Nation before party. And while other countries


have been riven by political bickering, we have shown that they


coalition forged in the time of emergency could be a different kind


of Government, governing different league. Because let me tell you


this, you don't play politics at a time of national crisis. You don't


play politics with the economy, and you never, ever play politics with


Our first big decision was of course to clear the structural


deficit, this Parliament. To wipe the slate clean up by 2015. This


has meant painful cuts, agonisingly difficult decisions. Not easy. But


right. Because handing control of the economy to the traders, that is


not progressive. Burying your head in the sand, that is not liberal.


Sanderling our children with the notion's debt, that is not fair.


Labour says the Government is going too far, too fast. I say Labour


would have offered too little, too late. Imagine, imagine for a moment,


if Ed Miliband and Ed Balls had still been in power. Gordon Brown's


backroom boys, when Labour was failing to balance the books,


failing to regulate the financial markets, and failing to take on the


banks. The two Eds, behind the scenes, lurking in the shadows,


always plotting, always scheming, never taking responsibility. And at


this time of crisis, what Britain needs is real leadership. This is


Labour's economy was based on bad debt, and false hope. Labour got us


into this mess and they are clueless about how to get us out.


Another turn of Labour would have been a disaster for our economy, so


don't for a moment let Labour get away with it. Don't forget the


chaos, the fear, of 2008, and never ever trust Labour again with the


You know, Government has certainly been a bit of a learning experience.


For example, you go on these international visits and you have


to exchange gifts with the foreign dignitaries that you meet. But what


do you get them? When I met the French Prime Minister for the first


time, he had done his research, he had found out exactly what he I was


born in, and presented me with a beautiful bottle of 1967 brandy. My


office told me that he light hiking, so what did I give him? -- he like


hiking. A bar of Kendal mint cake. Tim Farron's idea! But Government


has also brought difficult decisions. And of course the most


heart-wrenching for me, for all of us, was on university funding. Like


all of you, I saw the anger, I understand it, I felt it. And I


have learned from it. I know how much damage this has done to us as


a party. By far the most painful part of our transition from the


easy promises of opposition to the invidious choices of Government.


And probably the most important lesson I have learned is this. No


matter how hard you work, on the details of a policy, it is no good


if the perception is wrong. We can say until we are blue in the face


that no one will have to pay any fees as a student, but still people


don't believe it. At once you have left university, you will pay less


week in week out than under the current system, but still people


don't believe it. That the support given to students from poorer


families will increase dramatically, but still people don't believe it.


The simple truth is that the Conservatives and Labour were both


set on increasing fees. And in those circumstances, we did the


best thing we could. Working tirelessly to ensure anyone that


wants to go to university can. Freeing part-time students from


upfront fees for the first time. Ensuring fair repayments for all


graduates. But we failed to properly explain those dilemmas. We


failed to explain that there were no other easy options. And we have


failed so far to show that the new system will be much, much better


than people fear. So, yes, lessons learned. But the most important


thing right now is to get out there and show that university is for


everyone. And we should all take a leaf out of Simon Hughes's book. He


has been busting a gut as the Government's Advocate For Access,


travelling the country, explaining the new system, finding ways to get


young people from all backgrounds to apply for university. Simon did


not like the decision we made for reasons that I respect. But rather


than sitting back, he has rolled up his sleeves, and got on with making


the new system work. Simon, thank Right now, of course, our biggest


concern is the economy. The recovery is fragile, every worker,


every family knows that. There is a long, hard road ahead. Just in the


last few days alone, we have seen the financial storm in the eurozone,


rising unemployment, falling stock markets. So we were right to pull


the economy back from the brink. It is clearer now than ever that


deficit reduction was essential to protect the economy. To protect


homes and jobs. Because deficit reduction lays the foundations for


growth, but on its own it is not enough. That is why we are already


investing in infrastructure, reducing red tape, promoting skills,


getting the banks lending. The outlook for the global economy has


got worse. So we need to do more. We can do more and we will do more


Because we are not in politics just to repair the damage done by Labour,


too glued back together the pieces of the old economy. We are here to


build a new economy. A new economy say from Casino speculation, that


is why the Liberal Democrat Businee Secretary is putting a firewall


into the banking system, protecting the people that have worked hard


and saved. A new economy that safeguards the environment. That is


why a Liberal Democrat environment secretary is creating the world's


first Green Investment Bank, spending �3 billion to create new


jobs, a new economy where the lowest paid get to keep the money


they earn. That is why a Liberal Democrat, Chief Secretary to the


Treasury, has put �200 into the pocket of every basic rate taxpayer,


and taken almost 1 million workers, most of them women, out of income


A new economy. A new economy based on skills. And that is why one


Liberal Democrat minister is creating a quarter of a million new


apprenticeships and another is investing in schools and early


years education. A new economy that works for families, where men and


women can choose how to balance work and home. That is why Liberal


Democrats are bringing in shared parental leave and more flexible


working. And a new economy run for ordinary people, rather than big


finance, after the so-called masters of the universe turned out


to be the masters of destruction instead. Which is why... Which is


why when we come to sell those bank shares I want to see a pay back to


British citizens. Your money was put at risk. Your money was used to


bail-out the banks. And so the money made by the banks is your


money, too. An economy for everyone. In Scotland, Wales, in every part


of the United Kingdom, for women and men, young and old, town and


country, North and South, a new Because as Liberal Democrats, we


act for the whole nation. In our long, proud, liberal history, we


have never, never served the media moguls, the union barons, all the


bankers -- or the bankers. We do not serve and we have never served


vested interests. We are in OK, OK, OK! I get it, you agree


with that! That is why we can make decisions in the national interest.


Not easy. But right. That is why we speak up, first and loudest, when


the establishment let the people down. In the last three years, we


have seen establishment institutions exposed, one by one.


The City of London, shattered by the greed of bankers. The media,


corrupted by phone hacking, Parliament shamed by expenses. I


was brought up to know that it is not polite to say I told you so.


In 2006, when Vince Cable warned that bad debts were growing and


that bank lending levels were recklessly irresponsible. In 2002,


when Tom McNally... I can't see him... There he is! When he said


that the Government must guard the public interest as much as Mr


Murdoch guards his shareholder's interests. In 1996, when Paddy


Ashdown said that Parliament had become a dishevelled old corpse of


what was once called the mother of all parliaments. Never one to pull


Free to tell it like it really is. Because we are no bodies pocket. Of


all the claims that Ed Miliband has made, the most risible is that his


party is the enemy of vested interests. I mean, give me a break.


While we were campaigning for change and the banking system, they


were on their prawn cocktail offensive in the city. While we led


the charge against the media barons, Labour has cowered before them for


decades. Do you know the most shocking thing about the news that


Tony Blair is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children is that


nobody was really shocked at all? And, today, Labour is in hock to


the trade union balance. After their government stipend, 95% of


Labour's money comes from unions, most of it from just four of them.


Let me be clear, the values of trade unionism are as relevant as


ever. Supporting workers, fighting for fairness at work. But I don't


think the unions should be able to Ed Miliband says he wants to loosen


the ties between Labour and the union barons who helps him to beat


his brother. OK. Let's see him put his money where his mouth is. Let's


see if he will support radical reform of party funding. Every


previous attempt has been blocked by the vested interests of the


other two parties. We are all stuck in a system that we know is wrong.


We have all been damaged by it. But if we learned anything from the


expenses scandal it is surely that if the system has broken then we


should not wait for the next scandal, we should fix it and fix


So, whether it is securing the economy, sorting the banks or


cleaning out politics, we are making the big, difficult decisions.


Not easy, but right. And that is what it means to be a party of


national government again. Not just making arguments, making change.


Now, in a coalition we have two kinds of power. The power to hold


our coalition partners back and the power to move the Government for


what. So, we can keep the Government to a liberal path, and


could the Government in the centre ground. -- and could the Government.


You were absolutely right to stop the NHS Bill in its tracks. To


ensure a change in our terms, no arbitrary but deadlines, no threat


to the basic principles at the heart of our NHS. We are right to


stand up for civil liberties. No retreat to the illiberal populism


of the Labour years. We are right to keep insisting on a fair tax


system, asking the most of the people who have the most. And we


will always defend human rights. At home, as well as abroad. The


European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act are not,


as some would have you believe, foreign in positions. These are


British rights, drafted by British lawyers, forged in the aftermath of


the atrocities of the Second World War, fought for by Winston


Churchill. So, let me say something. Let me say something really care


about the Human Rights Act. In fact, I will do it in words of one


So, friends, we will always hold the liberal line. But, much more


important, the positive power of government. Not just stopping bad


things but doing good things. Last year, I walked through the door of


Number 10. But we all walked through a kind of altogether. Did


being, once again, a party of national government. So, we must


now move beyond the reflexes of opposition, to the opportunities of


government. New social housing. Criminal justice reform. Fixed-term


parliaments. Keeping our post offices open. House of Lords reform.


Better mental health care. Safer banks. Income tax down for ordinary


workers, capital gains tax up for the rich. Compulsory retirement,


scrapped. Pensions protected by a triple lock. ID cards, history.


Child detention, ended. Just look at what we have announced in the


last five days. After decades of campaigning, thanks to Lynne


Featherstone, equal marriage, straight or gay. All-powerful


consumers over energy companies. Calling time on rewards for failure


in boardrooms. Investing in education for girls in developing


countries. New powers to turn empty homes back into family homes. A


�500 million investment in growth. Liberal achievements from a liberal


And we have stood by our commitments to act on the


environment. The pollsters tell us that climate change has dropped


down people's list of worries. That people have more immediate concerns.


I understand this. So, the politically convenient thing would


have been to put this off to another day. Instead, we have acted


immediately. Not easy, but right. Ambitious carbon targets, energy


market reform. Councils generated renewable energy. A Green Deal to


make bills lower and homes warmer. Carbon capture and storage. Green


buses, trains and trams. The world's first ever Green Investment


Bank. Green achievements from a I've learnt quite a bit in the last


500 days. About the responsibilities of government,


about the resilience of our party. The integrity of our members, our


determination to do the right thing. In government, every single day


brings hard choices. You know, you can very quickly lose your way


unless you at some reduce certain of your calls. Why you're there in


the first place. -- unless you are absolutely certain of your calls,


why you're there in the first place. Everyone of us in this hall has


strong convictions. A human rights, political reform, civil liberties,


fighting capitalism, fighting climate change. -- responsible


capitalism, fighting climate change. Every one of us has a political


passion, too. The firing side that drew us into politics and the first


place. Let me tell you about what I care most about. My passion is


insuring a fair start for every child. I have a simple,


unquenchable belief that every child can do good things, great


things, if only we give them the opportunities they deserve. Equal


opportunity. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Everyone agrees that it.


But then we allow prejudice, tradition, class, to crush a


million hopes and dreams. Watch young children's lives go off-track,


even before they go off to school, sit idly by while talent goes to


waste. I know I have had all the advantages you could dream of. Good


school, great parents. I was lucky. But it shouldn't be about luck. On


Saturday I met a group of young people, just after I arrived in


Birmingham, from a charity called UpRising. They were all from really


difficult backgrounds. One young woman, Chantal, she told me that


she only started to thrive when she found someone who believed in her.


I want every child to believe in themselves. In terms of opportunity,


we are a nation divided. Children from a poor background, a gear


behind in language skills before the age of five. More young black


men in prison than at Russell Group universities. In Hammersmith and


Fulham in West London, more than half the children leading state


schools head to a good university. Just 30 minutes down the District


Line to Tower Hamlets, just 4% do. Odds stacked against too many of


our children. A deep injustice, when birth his destiny. That is why


I have been leading the charge for social mobility. For fairer chances,


You know, people keep telling me that it's too hard. That it is


futile to push for fairness, into the headwinds of an economic


slowdown. Or they say it will take too long, that I should find some


politically convenient, quick wins instead. I also encountered fierce


resistance from those who do so well out of the status quo. But for


liberals, the only struggles worth having are the uphill ones.


Allowing schools to move poorer children at the cue for admissions.


Making universities open their doors to everyone. Making firms


work harder to get women on their boards. Breaking open internships.


Or controversial, all difficult. So, I am not backing down. I am not


slowing down. Because this will not be a liberal nation until every


citizen can thrive and prosper, until birth is no longer destiny,


This summer, we saw the consequences of a society in which


some people feel they have no stake at all. Nobody could fail to be


horrified by what we saw during the riots. These were not organised


campaigns for change. They were outbursts of nihilism and greed.


I'll never forget the woman I met in Tottenham. She told me the


clothes that she stood in were the only possessions she had in the


torched. But, you know, in every city where trouble broke out, most


people did the right thing. So many more people were out there to clean


up the streets that went out to trash them in the first place. In


Manchester I met a cafe owner who boarded up her broken windows and


started serving tea and coffee straight away it to the people that


were helping clear up. Here in Birmingham, the community stood


together in the face of disorder and tragedy. Our emergency services,


police, courts, they all rose to the challenge. But we have to now


ensure that the offenders become ex-offenders, for good. Three out


of four had previous convictions. We have to push ahead, not step


back from, but push ahead with a government rehabilitation


revolution. Punishment that sticks, that changes behaviour. An end to


the corrosive cycle of crime. And I want the criminal to look their


victims in the eye. Two of see the consequences of their actions and


put it right. That is why there will be community pay back projects


in every city affected. Why we are investing in drug recovery wings in


our prisons, tackling down culture, tougher community sentences.


Effective, restorative justice. Let me say something else. The


rioters are not the face of Britain's young people. The vast


majority of our young people are good, decent, and doing the best


they can. Don't condemn all of them Do you know what really struck me?


It was how so many of those that did join the riots seems to have


nothing to lose. It was about what they could get here and now. Not


what lay in front of them tomorrow and the years ahead, as if their


own future had little value. Too many of these young people had


simply fallen through the cracks, not just this summer, but many


summers ago, when they lost touch with their own future. And so often


the people that have gone off the rails are the ones that are


struggling years earlier, not least in making that critical leap from


primary to secondary school. So today I am launching a new scheme


to help the children that need it most, in the summer before they


start secondary school. A two-week summer school helping them catch up


in maths and English and getting them ready for the challenges ahead.


Because we know this is a time when too many children lose their way.


So this is a �50 million investment And that is why we have found the


money even now to invest in education, protecting the school's


budget. A �2.5 billion pupil premium by the end of the Palmer.


More investment in early years education. 50 hours for all three


and four year-olds. New provision for the poorest two year-olds. All


steps towards a society where nobody is enslaved by poverty,


ignorance or conformity, towards a liberal society. These are


investments that will take years or even decades to pay off. By the


time the two year-olds that we have next year come to vote, I will be


60. It is even possible that I will no longer be leader by then! At


least, that is what I have told Miriam. So why are we doing it when


it cost so much and take so long? Because investing early makes such


a huge difference. Especially for the poorest children. Not easy. Not


So hold your heads up. Look our critics squarely in the eye. This


country would be in deep trouble today if we had not gone into


Government last year. And Britain will be a fairer nation tomorrow


because we are in Government today. Never apologise for the difficult


things we are having to do. We are serving a great country at the time


of great need. There are no short cuts, but we won't flinch. Our


values are strong, our instincts are good. Reason, not prejudice,


compassion not greed. Hope, not After the summer riots message


boards sprang up. They became known as peace walls. And on the one in


Peckham there was a note that simply said - our home, our


children, our future. Six words that say so much more than 600


speeches. Our home, our children, our future. Britain is our home. We


will make it safe and strong. These are our children. We will tear down


every barrier they face. And this is our future. We start building it


JUDO: Nick Clegg finishes his address. His wife Miriam on her


feet with the rest of the conference will a statutory


standing ovation that all party leaders get at this stage. He spoke


for about 45 minutes. It was a pretty are repentant Lib Dem leader.


-- unrepentant. He would not apologise for joining in the


coalition with the Tories because they had to act in the interests of


the nation. The Deputy Prime Minister even DUP the previous


attacks on the Tories by criticising Ed Miliband and Ed


Balls as the backroom boys. Never trust Labour again on the economy,


he said. Words that may come back to haunt him a little bit iffy as


to form a coalition with them in the future. -- if he has to form a


coalition. And on a Human Rights Act, a lot of Conservatives want to


replace that with a British Human to stay. He told quite a bit about


social mobility as well. He said quite a lot about the rioting. He


announced a �50 million initiative to send children from the more


deprived parts of our cities and elsewhere into two weeks' summer


schools in the gap between leaving primary school and going to


secondary school so they could catch up on maths and English. Many


people will wonder what difference that might make. When we see the


details, it will no doubt be debated. He is going through the


hall. It was not packed. You may have seen from our coverage quite a


few empty seats. But he seems to have done the business. Sam Coates


from the Times is with me. What did you make of that? It was


interesting that he was making an appeal to the hall, rather than to


the country. The slogan of the speech was not easy but right and


he said it over and over. It was an appeal to activists to stay


together and pull together. I think he knows this is not a front page


speech. I think he knows that the job of today was to reassure


activists that it would be all right in the end, and to


essentially give them... Praising the people around him, at their


resilience and determination. Politically, one line steered


through. The line about Labour, never trust Labour on the economy


again. Surely that will mean that they can never go into coalition


with the Labour Party. We said that to them and they said not at all


because they would make it all right if they did. I am not sure he


can escape from that line. It is kind of they get out of jail free


card because you cannot trust Labour on their own, they will need


to be there to keep them on the right tracks. They have basically


been saying that about the Tories as well. In a sense, this may not


resonate, but will it make your front page tomorrow? It is in the


balance. There is a lot of bad economic news out today. The worst


borrowing figures ever, the speeches later on today, and the


development in Athens with the eurozone crisis. What Nick Clegg


had to say on the economy is actually worth highlighting. He


said they would do more growth. Again, in the briefing before the


speech we asked what that would be. But there is no new money, it


appears. A message for the hall, again, but not underpinning it as


you might want. He can regard Birmingham as a reasonable success


for him. There were rumblings that they wanted to ditch Nick Clegg,


because going into the bed with the Tories was a disaster. They may not


be very happy about it, but nobody is saying that Nick Clegg's


position is in jeopardy. He lives to fight another day as leader of


the Liberal Democrats. One of the interesting things about the


conference as a whole is that Nick Clegg has got his mojo back. The


top senior people all acknowledge that. That is interesting because


before the summer they may not have been so sure. Now he is determined


to fight into the next election and through it as well. And he promised


Mary and that he would not just be serving for one turn. -- Miriam.


That is the big if. Thank you. We have got more with some Lib Dem


activists now. Yes, I have. You may be able to


hear the noise of delegates streaming out of the Conference


Centre after the speech. We have managed to grab two of them for the


moment and we might get some more. Paul Hodgkinson and Neil McGovern,


both councillors. Welcome to you both. Your first impression? Really


good. What I liked about it was that Nick was unapologetic about


making tough decisions. He was really trumpeting our liberal


values. Things like the vested interest. They really liked that.


Yes, they did. And the stuff about the Green Investment Bank, taking


people out of tax at the bottom of the scale. He is really good and he


needs to say more. There are two things that he needs to do. One of


them was dealing with the issues that face us at the moment, so


cutting the deficit and making sure we get a good green recovery. And a


second one is that he has differentiated the Lib Dems on the


Tories and Labour. He mentioned that we have Labour and the Tories,


and we are different. It is clear what difference we are making to


this Government. He said this was less about Conservative bashing and


much more about firing at the Labour Party. Would you support


that? Would you say that on the doorsteps? I think it is very much


about what we are bringing to the Government. The things we are doing.


You heard him say very clearly then that the Human Rights Act will not


go. That was a real warning to the Conservatives. For me that is an


important thing. You are refused fan? Yes, and lots of Liberal


Democrat staff. -- a huge fan? So what is it like on the doorstep?


is different in the Cotswolds because we had a great result in


Labour and the best result in the country. Then we don't want to talk


to you! And in Cambridge? There has been a lot of anger but not from


people that vote Liberal Democrat. The Labour vote now think it is OK


to vote Labour again. They have forgotten a 10 pence tax rate,


things like that, and we are seeing lot of people coming out again.


Among the voters that we have got, they are still strong and it is


growing day-by-day, we have had members joining all the time.


experience was completely different. In those areas that have been


Conservative in the past, they are very comfortable with the coalition,


and we bring a break to those more extreme views. You are lucky enough


to be able to take a bad review. Which one would you like? I will


take the one which says I Love high-speed rail. It is not going


through your constituency! And you? I love the 50 pence tax rate.


controversial. We will return at the end of the programme and speak


to more delegates. Now back to We are joined by Nick Robinson,


what is your overview? In a sense, it was less of a speech and more of


a plea to the country to understand why he and his party had done what


they had done. There was that passionate moment, he said, we had


to go into government. That constant refrain, it's not easy,


but it is right. I think, in a sense, that is all the speech was.


There were lots of bits that pleased but all that didn't


actually sing off the page when we read the script before. They liked


the insistence that the party was in nobody's pocket, that they had


been that people that warned about the banks, but Rupert Murdoch and


the state of Parliament before expenses crisis. That gave them a


sense of who they were. They liked the stance about the human rights


act, his commitment, let me spell it out, he said, it is here to say


-- stayed. They liked the list of liberal achievement in government.


To the country, the message was, I did this for a reason you have to


understand. You might not like me, you might think I broke my word,


you might wish I hadn't done it, but accept why I did it. A little


bit like Tony Blair, again and again, he said, you may disagree


with me on Iraq but at least accept that I did it for the reasons I


believed in. They were never in Rupert Murdoch's pocket, but then


he never invited them into his pocket and we don't know what they


would have done if he had. Is it best to see this... Although he was


speaking to the wider audience as well, overwhelmingly to me it


seemed it was a speech to consolidate, almost re consolidate


his position with his own party. To that extent, he succeeded?


Absolutely. In a sense, he had succeeded before the speech was


delivered. Back in May, when he lost the election so badly, not


just the English locals, but in Scotland and Wales, when he lost


the referendum on voting change, the great Liberal Democrat dream


for so many years, when he was the target for so much personal abuse,


you might have believed that this was a day when he was pleading for


his leadership, for a continuance of the coalition. In truth, he is


not. In part, that's because his main rivals have been damaged on


the way. Vince Cable for political reasons, his comments that were


recorded by the Daily Telegraph, Chris Huhne for personal reasons.


They are not the kind of threat they might have been a few months


ago. I think you are right, he was trying to say, there are things we


believe in that we are fighting for and we are winning. You don't have


to spend the whole time thinking you're only job is simply to find


things you don't like that the Tories are to and say no. Let's go


back to Jo for some more reaction from her end of things.


Janet Morgan has been a councillor in Abingdon in Oxfordshire. Your


impressions of the atmosphere, first of all, what was it like in


that all? I thought it was very positive for their speech. A very


comprehensive speech. Not showy, but really down-to-earth.


didn't think it was too sombre, too much about the fight ahead? All of


the decisions are difficult? Was it uplifting enough? Yes, I think it


was realistic and uplifting. Particularly at the end, the


concentration on children, John people, one of them being the


future. That was definitely uplifting. Did you agree with Nick


Clegg in the staunch defence of the economic programme? That being in


coalition with the Conservatives is right and that they have to stick


to the plan of spending cuts? think so, provided it goes with the


other things like the emphasis on, particularly, looking at young


people for the future. What would you like to see? What would be the


most important thing you would like to see the Liberal Democrat achieve


in government now? The whole thing about tax, we started the progress


of taking people out of tax at the bottom of the scale. We need to go


fully ahead with that, by 2015 I want to see that everybody on the


minimum wage pays no tax at all. The other thing I would like to see


is more taxation for the bankers. I don't think we have gone far enough


on that. The bids is very strong on that. -- Vince Cable is very strong


on that. What would you like to see? More on more excessive bonuses,


more money coming back to us from the money we put into the banking


system in the first place. We've gone some way, but we need to go


further. In terms of tax, you have a badge saying I love the 50 pence


tax rate. It is staying for the moment. Is that something you would


like to see permanently? I think it is. I don't think it's the argument


that if we suddenly get some of the richest people a bit of a tax break,


it means they will leave the country and will lose thousands of


pounds. It's about sending a message, the people that pay the


most should be able to help the most. Are you invigorated to go


back out on the doorsteps, all three of you? Absolutely.


Absolutely. All three of you, thank you very much. We'll let you go in


a few minutes' time. At it from us with the delegates. Actor you.


We are joined by the Business Secretary Vince Cable. Welcome back


to the Daily Politics. Have you lost the stimulus argument in this


government? Absolutely not. I spoke on Monday about the need for


financial stability, stepping -- staying with our deficit-reduction


targets. This is partly about the measures to attract investment,


apprenticeship technology. In the short term, some of the things that


can happen, the modest support for infrastructure that Danny Alexander


had. At the weekend you called for a new deal style stimulus? I set


out a set of measures on how government can stimulate and


encourage growth, without at the same time undermining of


sacrificing... Well, there are new deals throughout our economic


history, that means a substantial increase in government investment.


You're not going to get that. didn't used that phrase, New Deal.


Someone glamorised it. It wasn't inaccurate? Of course, we need as


much commitment as we can for investment in the economy.


Government money can leverage in a substantial amount of private


capital. We are doing that with the Green Investment Bank, but we


mustn't compromise our public expenditure commitments and our


deficit reduction. Do you accept that there cannot be a substantial


amount of new capital investment without reaching your budget


targets and spending limits? You accept that? We are having to stick


to the commitments. But we are dealing with a moving target. As


far as capital expenditure is concerned, the Government has


already increased it. It was savaged under the outgoing


government. It clearly plays an important role in private-sector


investment. Danny Alexander has put in an additional commitment to that


during the conference. Your leader said today, deficit-reduction lays


the foundation for growth. We are getting the deficit reduction,


where is the growth? Deficit reduction leads to growth through


the following mechanisms. If you have external confidence... But we


haven't got the growth. That is a common problem throughout the


Western world. So, one isn't following the other? The growth we


need to have is beginning to become apparent in exports, manufacturing,


business investment. The biggest thing that happened on the first


day of the conference is the commitment to a big engine plant


that is happening throughout the manufacturing sector. That is the


kind of growth that is sustainable. Who are, to quote you, the


ideological descendants of those who sent children up chimneys?


There are people that are trying to suggest... Who? Well, I'm not


naming individuals... At why not? Let's just say segments of the


press... Depressed? -- the press? Not the Tories? I'm not criticising


the Conservatives... Which newspapers are in favour of sending


children up chimneys? I didn't actually say that... Or the


ideological? I'm trying to reform... Who was it that ended children


going up children -- tinnies? expected was one of the most


enlightened Prime Ministers... lord Shaftesbury, a Tory. Who


opposed the ending? Probably one our people! Yes, prominent...


Nobody is arguing... In a sense, you live the ideological descendent.


Nobody is really arguing about trim -- children going up chimneys.


mentioned it, not Mable stock -- not me. When your leader went on


and on about social mobility, steps that would be taken to improve it,


including cleaning up internships. As you will know, internships and


work experience are the way that privileged people can get a leg up.


They are often not paid and they depend on contract. From your own


website, I have a list of jobs for interns from Lib Dem MPs and your


own party headquarters. All of them are offering unpaid internships.


Wider to clean up your own house first? Unpaid internships can be a


valid form of work experience. They can have those negative effects,


that they can be valuable. We know they are valuable. That is not the


issue. The issue is that if they are unpaid, if you don't come from


a well-off family, especially if you don't come from London, you


cannot take these jobs. You are already making sure, on your own


website, that these jobs will only go to the privileged and well-


connected. That is not the case. Internships work for me, I try to


choose people from a wide variety of backgrounds. How can you live in


London and how an internship without a salary? A lot of people


are at home, they've left college, they are looking to gain experience.


Excuse me, this is quite important. You talk about this all the time.


If you are a bright boy or girl from Birmingham, just coming out of


university, from an ordinary, working-class family, how could you


afford to take any insure unshipped -- internship from the Liberal


Democrat when it is unpaid? We are not going to scrap internships.


did you just pay them? The major problems of social mobility have to


be overcome in a variety of ways, helping people to get to university,


the Pupil Premium and the rest. Internships are a valuable form of


training. They perform a useful function, themselves. You said you


were going to do something dramatic to curb executive pay. I didn't say


anything about dramatic. You ended up only consultant. Since you


control the pay of the Royal Bank of Scotland, why don't you do


You talk about Mr Hester? He has a long-term contract. Well, all of


them. The Government does not want to be in a position of managing


every executive decision in those banks which are state-owned.


even though you think that bankers are paid too much, you can do


nothing about the banks that your own? Well, we can do. One of the


eminence of the Merlin agreement was getting acceptance from the


banks, including state-owned banks, that they would exercise moderation


in their pay. In your view, have they? They are still getting


millions of pounds. Not enough. That is what we are working on.


will understand, as you lecture others to control their pay, in


banks way you want a shareholder, you can't do anything. It's like


your internships. You do one thing at a party conference, in reality,


you're not doing it at all. There is a great deal of restraint in


public sector pay, particularly at the top end. The banks, including


state banks, are under a lot of pressure to reduce bonuses and pay.


Perhaps they should do more of that. I acknowledge that in the case of


people that have failed, like the former head of Lloyds Bank, we


should maybe do more. In your heart of hearts, don't you think that


Greece will end up defaulting? will have to be written down. I


think that is acceptable. I hope they will remain within the


eurozone. That is a different issue. And that it will continue. It's a


while since we have been talking, I enjoyed that. Nice to see you. That


is the end of our coverage from the Lib Dem conference in Birmingham.


The day when Nick Clegg re- establish his credentials as Lib


Dem leader and convinced his party that they had no alternative but to


stick with the coalition in the national interests. We now move


from Birmingham to the Good City of Liverpool, where the Labour


conference will be gathering for their annual event. Join us there


Download Subtitles