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Afternoon folks. Welcome to our third and final Daily Politics

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Special on the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton. Today, two

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shows for the price of one. Yes, this one will run until 1:00pm.

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Then we'll be back from 2:30pm until 4:30pm with live coverage and

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analysis of Nick Clegg's conference speech. In which he's going to tell

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the party faithful to return to their constituencies and prepare

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for more vitriol and abuse. Yes, amid dire poll ratings, the Deputy

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Prime Minister will tell his flock they have to grin and bear it, but

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that he is paving the way for a better, more meaningful future for

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the Lib Dems. We'll be talking to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury,

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Danny Alexander, and asking him how all his deficit and spending cuts

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are going. Adam has been out with his balls - again - asking if Nick

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:01:45.:01:46.

should stay or go. He's got a massively difficult job and he

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deserves free balls. And David Cameron is to appear on one of

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America's best-loved chat shows. But will he have a bad hair day

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like Boris Johnson? How long have you been cutting your own hair?

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LAUGHTER All that in the next hour and with

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us for the duration journalist and commentator John Kampfner and

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Stephen Tall, the editor of the website Liberal Democrat Voice.

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Welcome. So Nick Clegg takes to the stage at just after 3:00pm. It's a

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tough gig for him and he'll need to craft a mesage not just for his

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disillusioned supporters, but the even more disillusioned wider

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electorate. There is no challenge to his leadership in Brighton, but

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if things don't improve in the next 12 months that might not be true of

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the 2013 Lib Dem conference. Is he living on borrowed time? He's got a

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year in which to hope that the economy starts to rise and nobody

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will use the term green shoots. The economists can decide where we are

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in terms of beginnings of recovery, growth or bottoming out or whatever.

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He also needs to show the party there is a purpose. It's not just

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being in government for the sake, but bringing forward real liberal

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measures and the thing I've been saying for some time now is it's

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one thing to have negative compromise, trying to make the

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Tories a little less nasty to a reason to vote, but it's bruthing.

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You have to have positive -- grudging. You have to have positive

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compromise, to have liberal things that people are going to be happy

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to go out on to the doorsteps and really persuade people to vote for

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them. Do you agree he has a year to sort it out, or he will face

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leadership problems? I think he has got a year's grace and I think I

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agree with John, the economy will be key. There's a new word,

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proalition and it's about getting away from the idea that the Lib

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Dems are in government is to block the nasty Tories doing eve. That's

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what everyone has been saying. Mr Clegg has been saying that and

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Vince Cable has said nothing but that. He saved us from the Tory

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headbangers. Tim Farron has been using the phrase, distinctive, not

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distructive and he's trying to get the measure - Where do they get

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them from? Soundbites are fantastic. It's the balance between stopping

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the Tories doing the stuff if they were in majority and proving that

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the Liberal Democrats have prosive ideas put forward in government.

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Are you surprised, if you agree with what he was saying -- if you

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agree with what I was saying. always agree. I like a challenge.

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Are you surprised that Vince Cable - if Mr Clegg was to fall under a

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bus that Vince Cable is a clear alternative? That seems to be the

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case. Tim Farron seems to be saying, "Remember me." What I said in

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columns about Vince Cable is he's in danger of almost repeating but

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in reverse Nick Clegg's biggest mistake in the first year, which

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was being seen to be too close to David Cameron. Vince Cable and his

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love-in with Ed Balls, I think that does in reverse. I've always said

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to the Lib Dems, you've got to say this is a business relationship.

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This is two companies coming together. We advocate A and they B

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and for the national interest we have agreed on C. Rather than this

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sort of, we really like these people. You can do this without

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being confrontational and tachy. You do it in a prove -- tetchy. You

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do it in a professional way. That was the mistake and they're still

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trying to recover from that and to put to the people a very clear

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proposition in which you can also say, if, as we hope, there is a

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hung Parliament in the next election, the Lib Dems can choose

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on the basis of who is the largest party and who is more - They may

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not win whatever happens? That's not a great possession for the

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people? You often say the electorate gets the government in a

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Parliament system what it likes. would never be that rude. What has

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made this difficult for us to cover is a whole host of ideas have been

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thrown out. Some new and some recycled, but the moment you ask

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questions about them there's total confusion over what they are

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standing for. What did Nick Clegg mean by the top 10% and wealth tax?

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How would you establish the property values for a mansion tax?

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All sorts of other things, that we can't get any flesh on the bones in

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You have two different bits there. You have the Liberal Democrats

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within the conference trying to establish broad principles, because

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a lot of what we hear from the media is no-one knows what they

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stand for now. You have to get that across in simple terms. The slogan

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was fairer taxes in tough times. We are moving away from income taxes

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on the poor to wealth taxes on the rich. That's the big picture, but

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the detail has to be worked up. That's what you are after,

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understandably, but in terms of what we are trying to make sure is

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the headline that people hear, that's the key. Gentlemen, thank

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you very much. $$YYELLOW Let's get a sense of the mood at conference

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:07:39.:07:40.

and talk to the Guardian's Polly Toynbee and Sam Coates of the Times.

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Do the party faithful want to here vitriol and abuse? Ehave a lot of

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members and they know that. They've lost half of the votes. They know

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that well and they seem rather stunned, very loyal. I think they

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mostly believe there is no alternative for the time being, but

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you have to remember how many have already departed. They made a bold

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stand this time, with some of the things that Liberal Democrats

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really do stand for, on assisted dying for instance. On planning.

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Also on secret courts. These are good civil rights issues for them.

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On the really important things, what this Government is doing,

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they've made no difference at all. Sam Coates, we'll talk about those,

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which is targeting wealthy pensioners, about Nick Clegg. Is

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that brave or mad? I think it's probably sensible. There are

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growing numbers of people. The Sun is running a campaign saying take

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away the benefits from more wealthy pensioners. Why someone like me is

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getting a bus pass? It's not a huge amount of money, but it's sensible.

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What's the point in talking about it when it's after the next

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election. A lot of things are after the next election. Some time in the

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distance. Wish lists. Not things actually happening. Sam Coates,

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talking of mansion tax, we have mentioned it briefly. Is George

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Osborne totally cold on that idea, do you think? Oddly enough I think

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he's a bit more reacceptive. The big problem is that David Cameron

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isn't in it. He has been pleased with the way he's managed to block

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that in negotiations to date. I think we are getting to the stage

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in this Parliament where I suspect that Nick Clegg thinks it's

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unlikely to happen in the next two- and-a-half years and he'll put it

:09:27.:09:30.

in the back pocket for the next general election. There are all

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sorts of complicated questions over quite how you would value the top-

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rate properties that you would target with the superrate tax.

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David Cameron doesn't want to do it. I can't quite see why they're going

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on about it now, given it's unlikely to happen. What about the

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level of Tory bark, Sam? You always expect there to be a little bit. Is

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there a point on which it can go too far and be detrimental? I think

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there's a wider problem. There has been over the last ten days just

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quite a lot of whinging. We started with an apology and attacking the

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Tories for various stances that they've taken on the environment

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and their attitude to the less well-off. The challenge for Nick

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Clegg today is that he's got to present a big and bold and positive

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version of what liberal government would look like, rather than

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indulging the activist in what the Tories won't let them do. You can

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end up talking about the fantasy world of stuff that happens after

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the next general election, but to the extent that the public are

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listening, they want to hear what difference they'll make in

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government now. That conversation is remarkably missing from quite a

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lot of the discussions that you have here. Finally, Poly, is there

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a sense of a disconnect between the Parliamentary party and the party

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faithful? I don't think there is very much discorrect between the

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two. The party faithful are a dwindled band. A lot of parties

:11:00.:11:04.

have nobody left in them. They are losing councillors by the shed load

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every May. I think what we are getting though is a world of

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fantasy where you are going to have Nick Clegg saying, "We are on the

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path to prosperity." That's the reason for the coalition, but the

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truth is we are not on the path to prosperity. The deficit is rising

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and it's very scary where we are now. It hasn't worked. Austerity

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hasn't worked here or in Europe. Austerity is the great disaster and

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it's never been a Liberal Democrat policy. Now they're having to

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present Conservatives and obey the policy. That is the great disaster.

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Thank you both very much. Enjoy the speech. You may have seen pictures

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earlier this week of a special mug at Lib Dem Conference carrying Nick

:11:52.:11:55.

Clegg's tuition fees apology. For reasons that are unclear they've

:11:56.:12:00.

sold out. Perhaps they were incredibly popular. Or perhaps they

:12:00.:12:06.

didn't make very many. Anyway, the good news is you can still get your

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hands on a better mug that's not sold out. It's not even sold. And

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it's not remotely sorry, just proud to be a Daily Politics mug. If you

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want one all you have to do is win our Guess the Conference Year

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competition. We'll remind you how to enter in a minute, but let's see

:12:23.:12:33.
:12:33.:12:36.

if you can remember when this happened. As midnight struck 11

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countries combined their currencies for the first time since the Rome

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an empire. # We've come a long, long way

:12:45.:12:49.

together # Through the hard times... #

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# Oh, I want to get away # I want to fly away

:12:55.:13:01.

# Before he even began he received a standing ovation, which he

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greeted with his characteristically rye remark. I bet you wouldn't have

:13:06.:13:16.
:13:16.:13:21.

done that if I was staying! moment the last rays of light

:13:21.:13:26.

disappear as the moon covers the face of the sun.

:13:26.:13:31.

MUSIC No, he wasn't looking aloft for

:13:31.:13:41.
:13:41.:13:42.

divine guidance. # Give it to me baby

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:13:52.:14:08.

# Give it to me baby... # To be in with a chance of winning a mug send

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your answer to us to our special quiz e-mail address, which is: You

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can see the full terms and conditions for the competition on

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the website. That's: While many are worried about paying next month's

:14:24.:14:29.

bills and Christmas is only 89 days away, folks, just to depress you,

:14:29.:14:35.

the Liberal Democrats are already getting hot and bothered about how

:14:35.:14:41.

they'll make savings after 2015. The Liberal Democrats know they

:14:41.:14:44.

need to make even more savings after the next election, but they

:14:44.:14:49.

would rather the rich paid more to help plug the gap. So, is Danny

:14:49.:14:52.

Alexander Robin Hood? The Chancellor announced last year that

:14:52.:14:56.

austerity will continue into the next Parliament. And set the target

:14:56.:15:02.

of savings �16 billion in 2015-16. Mr Osborne is thought to favour a

:15:02.:15:07.

freeze in benefits and cuts of �10 billion to the welfare budget. This

:15:07.:15:11.

is unpopular with Liberal Democrats, who would rather target the wealthy.

:15:11.:15:16.

Their first is tax avoidance and they hope to raise �9 billion by

:15:16.:15:26.

There has been a lot of talk at this conference about a mansion tax

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- and the Lib Dems want any home worth more than �2 million to be

:15:30.:15:33.

subject to a 1% annual charge. And Nick Clegg told the BBC yesterday

:15:34.:15:36.

that it might be time for universal benefits for wealthy pensioners to

:15:36.:15:39.

end. The Lib Dem leader said it can't be right that hard up working

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people are paying for free bus passes, the winter fuel allowance

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and free TV licences for millionaire pensioners. The Chief

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Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, can join us now from

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Brighton. Let's start with the current situation about cats. You

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say repeatedly that cutting the deficit is at the core of the

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purpose of the coalition. Why it is the deficit 22% higher than last

:16:11.:16:20.

financial year? Part of an hour... Reducing the deficit and dealing

:16:20.:16:25.

with the financial problems is the core purpose of the coalition. We

:16:25.:16:30.

set out in 2010 plans that would reduce public spending by a �2

:16:30.:16:35.

million, as well as tax rises. Part of the thing that people need to

:16:35.:16:40.

understand about the plan is there are also flexibilities built in.

:16:40.:16:45.

There Rupp automatic stabilisers where benefits, payments and tax

:16:45.:16:51.

receipts are just an borrowing response to deal with adverse

:16:51.:16:55.

economic circumstances. They are operating to the fold. But as

:16:55.:16:59.

appropriate as you go through difficult times in the economy. --

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the full. This has proved to be more tough and the euro crisis is

:17:05.:17:10.

more severe. Those automatic stabilisers should respond in the

:17:10.:17:15.

way they do. It has the practical effect of your deficit-cutting

:17:15.:17:23.

strategy now going into reverse. On current trends, this year's deficit

:17:23.:17:31.

will be bigger than last year. Look! We have had three, four

:17:31.:17:40.

month... Five months figures. saw tax receipts fall in the early

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months. I do not want to know - as I do I do not know what will happen

:17:49.:17:55.

the -- I do not know what will happen with the next figures. There

:17:55.:17:58.

is a lot of uncertainty about the forecast. I was not get into the

:17:58.:18:04.

business of trying to forecast the forecasters. We have had five

:18:04.:18:11.

months and you have 22% last year. Let's stick to the deficit. It is

:18:11.:18:16.

at the core of your purpose. You claim public spending needs to be

:18:16.:18:24.

cut to balance the books. Why is total public spending down of only

:18:24.:18:29.

1% in two point five years of coalition government? In real terms,

:18:29.:18:33.

total public spending has fallen substantially. We have made

:18:33.:18:38.

substantial savings in welfare and departmental budgets. We have cut

:18:38.:18:44.

administration budgets across government by 33% and, in some

:18:44.:18:48.

departments, up more than that. The spending cuts happen progressively

:18:48.:18:54.

year after year. We have set out a plan that reduces in real terms

:18:54.:19:04.
:19:04.:19:18.

You say you are cutting public spending. Why is current spending

:19:18.:19:24.

3% higher than last year? Current spending is ever-so-slightly below

:19:24.:19:34.
:19:34.:19:35.

the forecast for this stage in the air it is below the forecast

:19:35.:19:43.

overall. We are seeing the automatic stabilisers helping deal

:19:43.:19:47.

with the difficulties in the economy. That is part of the plan

:19:47.:19:53.

we have for the economy. It means the deficit also rises. Of can I

:19:53.:19:58.

just finish? The underlining reductions and departmental

:19:59.:20:05.

spending carry on regardless. deficit is rising as it that is

:20:05.:20:12.

contrary to everything you stand for. I can give you the same

:20:12.:20:17.

answers. This government is totally committed to dealing with the mess

:20:17.:20:23.

in our public finances - to bring the deficit down. That is what we

:20:23.:20:26.

set out to do when we started. We have a clear and credible plan that

:20:26.:20:31.

commands confidence in the markets. It is keeping interest rates very

:20:31.:20:41.
:20:41.:20:44.

low. There is a flexibility and pragmatic sense in that plan.

:20:44.:20:51.

except that to save a decent sum of money it would have to affect the

:20:51.:20:56.

affluent pensioners? Look! We need to look at a whole range of ideas.

:20:56.:21:00.

We have not make decisions on any particular spending reductions as

:21:00.:21:10.
:21:10.:21:18.

yet. A one not engaged in a process of elimination we need to look at

:21:18.:21:23.

these things in the next Parliament. When you are making decisions

:21:23.:21:29.

elsewhere, I think this needs to be tested to see if it is justifiable.

:21:29.:21:33.

That is a proper place to look, given what we have to do is make

:21:33.:21:37.

difficult decisions affecting every single person in this country. The

:21:37.:21:41.

burden of those reductions must be shared fairly. But as were a lot of

:21:41.:21:48.

the conversation this week has been about going further. -- that is why

:21:48.:21:54.

a lot of the conversation. Beth we come on to that. With a mansion tax,

:21:54.:21:59.

how do you establish what properties are worth over �2

:21:59.:22:04.

million? How long would it take you to do that? Probably a year or two

:22:04.:22:08.

to work through all the processes we need to put in place with a

:22:08.:22:13.

mansion tax. That is something that is practically deliverable. It

:22:13.:22:19.

affects a small number of properties. You would have to value

:22:19.:22:23.

them. The Valuation Office Agency would be able to carry out at work.

:22:23.:22:27.

What we're doing at this conference is making the case for a mansion

:22:27.:22:32.

tax, the case for an argument that those living in the most expensive

:22:32.:22:36.

properties over �2 million should pay an additional amount to help us

:22:36.:22:41.

do with his big puncher problems we have. I just wondered how long it

:22:41.:22:46.

would take to do the valuation. You have said two years. How much would

:22:46.:22:52.

that raised? That would depend on what you set the rate tax. What

:22:52.:22:57.

would you do? The proposal we put forward in our manifesto at the

:22:57.:23:01.

last election Reserve would raise �1.9 billion. That will have

:23:01.:23:09.

changed slightly. You could set a lower rate which would raise less.

:23:09.:23:14.

The order of �2 billion is what our proposals would raise. A rounding

:23:15.:23:21.

error in the accounts. When it came to your stand-up routine... Can I

:23:21.:23:25.

take you are on that? I would not call it a rounding error. A

:23:25.:23:31.

substantial sum of money. We are looking for �16 billion of deficit-

:23:31.:23:36.

reduction money. That would be a significant contribution in meeting

:23:36.:23:43.

that gap. When it came to a stand- up routine yesterday, why did you

:23:43.:23:51.

employ Sarah Teather, as a scriptwriter? It was a conference

:23:51.:23:55.

speech. I had serious points to make and if you light hearted

:23:55.:23:59.

remarks as well. It is a proper weight to carry out a speech. I

:24:00.:24:07.

enjoy delivering it. -- a proper way. That is the way of the world.

:24:07.:24:13.

It is nice to see you smile. Thank you for joining us from Brighton.

:24:13.:24:17.

The pointer was trying to make in the questions is not to do with

:24:17.:24:23.

party politics. --. I was trying to make. The way politics is going now,

:24:23.:24:29.

it is starting to rise again. long as that continues, Danny

:24:29.:24:34.

Alexander was making the point, or clutching at straws, that more

:24:34.:24:38.

people would pay tax and may be the first demands of the she would not

:24:38.:24:42.

be as bad when it comes round. These jobs have already been

:24:42.:24:49.

created. There are already paying tax. It depends when. -- they are

:24:49.:24:53.

already. We have only got the employment figures for the last

:24:53.:25:02.

five months. They met in the labour force. The other interesting point

:25:02.:25:03.

ears, even if you get the situation... You look back to 1997,

:25:03.:25:10.

I am old enough to remember that but you are not, Andrew! Labour won

:25:10.:25:14.

on the back of a narrative, which was that the economy is in a big

:25:14.:25:20.

mess and we need to sort it out and public services. The economy was

:25:20.:25:24.

recovering under Kenneth Clarke as Chancellor. The public had tuned

:25:24.:25:31.

out to that. Even if they really dismal scenario for the coalition

:25:31.:25:38.

government, even if in 2013/2014, things start to bottom out and

:25:38.:25:41.

improve, the public will not see that. It always takes a long time

:25:41.:25:47.

from economic statistics to really get into people's psychology.

:25:47.:25:54.

seems to me that the coalition has been remarkably united over deficit

:25:54.:25:57.

reduction. It would be very hard for people like me to get a piece

:25:57.:26:01.

of cigarette paper between them. If a whole deficit plan begins to

:26:01.:26:05.

unravel, as the first five months of this financial year suggests,

:26:05.:26:11.

that is a whole new ball game for the coalition. Danny Alexander

:26:11.:26:17.

cannot see it but I can. Most of the coalition recognises that plan

:26:17.:26:23.

A is not working. It is not surprising the deficit is going up.

:26:23.:26:30.

We are in recession. Those measures are starting to kick in. Going back

:26:30.:26:36.

to 1992, there is an opportunity for the coalition. If you remember

:26:36.:26:41.

Ben, but John Major line was called upon. There was a faltering

:26:41.:26:48.

recovery kicking in. That is what the coalition hopes. Come 2015, you

:26:48.:26:52.

have a coalition with a very slight recovery. That will feed through to

:26:52.:26:56.

income us and mean that Labour will not be able to come back and say,

:26:56.:27:02.

the economy was better under us. is a double benefit. It is also the

:27:02.:27:06.

subliminal message that you cannot trust Ed Miliband with the economy.

:27:06.:27:10.

Now since his last party conference, Nick Clegg's had a bit of a stormy

:27:10.:27:14.

year. It ended in one big apology. But who knows maybe he has a number

:27:14.:27:17.

one to look forward to. We sent the FT's George Parker and his

:27:17.:27:27.
:27:27.:27:48.

favourite battery-operated toy for When you are the captain of a

:27:48.:27:51.

political party, the sailing can get quite choppy. That is

:27:51.:27:55.

particularly the case if you are happening to work with another

:27:55.:27:59.

captain with his own ship to worry about. Someone who might have a

:27:59.:28:08.

different idea about we were going. -- where you are going. Bustard was

:28:08.:28:15.

supposed to be the time for the S S Lib Dems to steer away from the

:28:15.:28:21.

storm with the tuition fees. Then came the Lords reform bill. In June,

:28:21.:28:25.

he was charting a perilous course through the House of Commons.

:28:25.:28:30.

the heart of this Bill, Mr Speaker, it is the vision of a House of

:28:30.:28:35.

Lords which is more modern, more representative and more legitimate.

:28:35.:28:39.

Within months that Bill was sunk. Torpedoed by backbenchers from his

:28:39.:28:44.

own coalition. Something that Nick Clegg is unlikely to forget.

:28:44.:28:48.

Conservative Party is not honouring the commitment to Lords reform. As

:28:48.:28:55.

a result, part of our contract has now been broken. Clearly I cannot

:28:55.:28:58.

permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and

:28:58.:29:03.

choose the parts of the contract they like, while Liberal Democrat

:29:03.:29:07.

MPs are bound to the entire agreement. Lib Dems were left

:29:07.:29:11.

wondering whether they had been sold down the river and what their

:29:11.:29:16.

retaliation should be. Nick Clegg has now made that clear. David

:29:16.:29:19.

Cameron can wave goodbye to the Commons Andrew review that would

:29:19.:29:29.
:29:29.:29:31.

have helped him win next election. -- boundary review. Nick Clegg was

:29:31.:29:36.

absent from the House of Commons as David Cameron gave his statement on

:29:36.:29:40.

the EU veto. He did pop up on the Andrew Marr programme a few days

:29:40.:29:45.

later. I am bitterly disappointed by the outcome of the sum it. There

:29:45.:29:51.

is a danger that, over time, the United Kingdom will be isolated and

:29:51.:29:54.

marginalised within the European Union. I do not think it is good

:29:54.:30:01.

for jobs or grace. In June, fury among the Conservatives after the

:30:01.:30:08.

Lib Dems refuse to back Jeremy Hunt in the Commons. -- amongst the

:30:08.:30:12.

Conservatives. The Leveson inquiry raised questions about his handling

:30:12.:30:18.

of the Rupert Murdoch bit for BSkyB. Not only Conservative ministers -

:30:18.:30:26.

is that the ministers have faced controversy. Chris Huhne resigned.

:30:26.:30:36.
:30:36.:30:46.

-- Tory Conservative ministers have The coalition has to get the

:30:46.:30:49.

economy right to stay afloat. There are tensions creeping in on the

:30:49.:30:55.

scale of cuts, investments and how to get banks working. The austerity

:30:55.:31:01.

programme hasn't been universally popular. The people gave the

:31:01.:31:04.

Liberal Democrats a drubbing. Cutting the number of seats to

:31:04.:31:09.

3,000, the lowest in their history and there's a nasty feeling in the

:31:09.:31:12.

party that it could get worst with the Corby by-election and the

:31:12.:31:16.

general election. This summer, David Cameron and Nick Clegg

:31:16.:31:20.

relaunched themselves, presenting a united front at a railway depot in

:31:20.:31:27.

the West Midlands. It's tough to be in Government in difficult times.

:31:27.:31:32.

It's not always a walk in the park or in the rose garden. It's no

:31:32.:31:36.

wonder there are some who lose their nerve a bit at this stage,

:31:36.:31:41.

but I can speak for both of us, we'll not lose our nerve. Nick

:31:41.:31:45.

Clegg will be talking about the positives. Some research suggests

:31:45.:31:49.

that 75% of the Liberal Democrat manifesto has been implemented or

:31:49.:31:52.

is in the course of being so. He'll talk about the fact that millions

:31:52.:31:56.

of people are out of the tax system, that the pupil premium aimed at the

:31:56.:31:59.

children of low-income families has been a success. Some in the party

:31:59.:32:03.

argue that the Liberal Democrats have had a softening effect on Tory

:32:03.:32:07.

legislation. Within Government, the Liberal Democrats are making a

:32:07.:32:10.

difference. Danny Alexander has been praised by his colleagues in

:32:10.:32:14.

both parties. Vince Cable is increasingly being lauded by the

:32:14.:32:19.

groos roots of his party and now David -- grass roots of his party

:32:19.:32:22.

and now David Laws, who helped negotiate the coalition agreement

:32:22.:32:27.

and who is widely respected across party lines as education minister

:32:28.:32:31.

and top Clegg adviser. Showing support for the Government and

:32:31.:32:34.

stressing the party's independence is a difficult balancing act for

:32:34.:32:38.

Nick Clegg to pull off, but it's some the speech will have to

:32:38.:32:43.

achieve. Nobody's said to would be plain sailing. Is this the way to

:32:43.:32:53.
:32:53.:32:59.

Brighton? Puntastic. Over to Mark Thompson who got to interview Nick

:32:59.:33:04.

Clegg and David haul Matthews. We spoke to him earlier on in the

:33:04.:33:08.

conference. Welcome to you both. Mark, you interviewed Nick Clegg

:33:08.:33:18.
:33:18.:33:19.

for your blog this week. How did he characterise the year? Well, he

:33:19.:33:24.

seemed pretty calm and pretty happy really with how things have gone.

:33:24.:33:26.

He certainly seemed relaxed and was willing to be very open when I

:33:26.:33:29.

asked him questions, even fairly controversial ones like about drugs

:33:29.:33:33.

policy and the position of the monarchy. He was certainly very

:33:33.:33:37.

happy to talk and I didn't get that feeling you sometimes get from

:33:37.:33:42.

politicians that he's closed -- closing things down. Do you think

:33:42.:33:48.

that's because he feels relieved after that big apology? Well, I

:33:49.:33:52.

think it went reasonably well, certainly in terms of how it was

:33:52.:33:55.

received. The fact it was turned into a song helped to lighten the

:33:55.:34:00.

mood around it, which was a bit of a bonus .. When I arrived here

:34:00.:34:07.

there was a car blasting it out, which was a nice little backdrop. I

:34:07.:34:10.

do think that - the feeling that I've been getting from people here,

:34:10.:34:13.

there is no real appetite for talk about the leadership. We just have

:34:13.:34:20.

to get on with it. I think that message has got through to him.

:34:20.:34:24.

David, the economy is obviously key. We have just spoken to Danny

:34:25.:34:28.

Alexander about the deficit reduction plan. Should the Liberal

:34:28.:34:33.

Democrats now in coalition rg ewe against more austerity and promote

:34:33.:34:38.

-- arguing against more austerity? Yes. I think they are. They don't

:34:38.:34:45.

want to admit that they're doing it. They are investing billions for

:34:45.:34:49.

small and medium enterprises. We have the Green Investment Bank and

:34:49.:34:52.

further investment and also in fairness, as well, new

:34:52.:34:57.

announcements for children who are struggling in schools. All of this

:34:57.:35:00.

is not consistent with George Osborne's plan A of slash first and

:35:00.:35:06.

don't do anything positive for the economy until the deficit is

:35:06.:35:09.

reduced. I think it's obviously politically impossible for Danny or

:35:09.:35:16.

Nick to say, no, no, we disagree with the original plan. But they're

:35:16.:35:20.

quietly arguing against it and I personally wish they would shout a

:35:20.:35:24.

bit more and say the Liberal Democrats are making Britain fairer

:35:24.:35:28.

in difficult circumstances. I think that would help us in the opinion

:35:28.:35:34.

polls. What they are doing is in the right direction and doing more

:35:34.:35:37.

and more. In terms of differentiation, Mark, there seems

:35:37.:35:43.

to be more of that, but talking about coalition partners negatively

:35:43.:35:51.

is that good for morale? I think there's a delicate line to be

:35:51.:35:56.

trodden. People like Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander have to be careful

:35:56.:36:00.

about how they say it. That didn't stop Vince Cable from having a jibe

:36:00.:36:05.

at Andrew Mitchell when he made some reference to the pleb comment

:36:05.:36:11.

- the alleged pleb comment and that went down well. He got a big laugh

:36:11.:36:15.

and applause. Little things like that. Let's face it, it's not as if

:36:15.:36:18.

the Conservatives not above little digs rkes so it's our conference

:36:18.:36:24.

and there's -- digs, so it's our conference and there's bound to be

:36:24.:36:28.

a few things. The line between the two is getting blurred and we're in

:36:28.:36:31.

the position where things are being done, but it's done under the radar,

:36:32.:36:35.

because they can't turn around and say they've got to change. They

:36:35.:36:40.

have to do it in a political way. David, is there a tipping point for

:36:40.:36:42.

Liberal Democrats if the polls don't improve that Nick Clegg's

:36:42.:36:49.

out? I don't think it's up to Liberal Democrat MPs and it

:36:49.:36:52.

certainly isn't up to conference delegates like us. I think Nick

:36:52.:36:57.

Clegg will make that decision. He's a smart cookie. If the poll ratings

:36:57.:37:03.

are much, much worse than the party's or if there is specific

:37:03.:37:06.

polls showing we would do better and the election is closer, I think

:37:06.:37:10.

he'll take that into account. I agree, it's not the time now to

:37:10.:37:16.

talk about a leadership challenge. What we want to say is nick, please

:37:16.:37:20.

differentiate a bit more, please shout a bit more proudly and a bit

:37:20.:37:27.

more specifically about what we ask for as well as achievements and

:37:27.:37:30.

recognise that a lot of Lib Dems are a little concerned about the

:37:30.:37:33.

way the economy is going. If he does that then I think the ratings

:37:33.:37:37.

will start to improve. Certainly, the mood in the party will improve.

:37:37.:37:44.

Gentlemen, thank you. Down in blight tonne, Nick Clegg's been

:37:44.:37:48.

giving interviews to the regional newspapers and the Birmingham Post,

:37:48.:37:52.

is carrying a story quoting with him saying, "If you don't like me,

:37:52.:37:55.

vote Labour." David Cameron will appear on the David Letterman show

:37:55.:37:58.

in the United States. He's the first serving British Prime

:37:58.:38:07.

Minister to do so. It's late at night. Will it be the lamb to the

:38:07.:38:11.

slaughter or his credibility take a hit? Does he have a sense of

:38:11.:38:14.

humour? Look at this from another British politician, who was on the

:38:14.:38:21.

show earlier this year. So, how long have you been cutting your own

:38:21.:38:25.

hair? Laugh 456

:38:25.:38:32.

-- LAUGHTER. Don't you think that was a low blow.

:38:32.:38:37.

I think it was. Look at mine! That's true. I thought I was

:38:37.:38:41.

beginning to think I can got through this more or less unscathed.

:38:41.:38:45.

Is there a possibility you could become Prime Minister? I think that

:38:45.:38:51.

is vanishing. I've about as much chance of being reincarnated as an

:38:51.:38:55.

olive. Do you think the hair is holding you back? Until you

:38:55.:39:02.

mentioned it tonight I've never regarded it as a drawback. Well, it

:39:02.:39:06.

was quite funny. The American writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer

:39:06.:39:15.

is with us. Welcome back to the programme. You can see Boris

:39:15.:39:19.

handled him because he's a comedian, but do you think David Cameron can

:39:19.:39:23.

handle him? No. I first thing that I thought when I heard this, I just

:39:23.:39:30.

went, why is he doing this? I had to examine why I thought that. I

:39:30.:39:36.

think a lot of people think that Letterman's a chat show, because

:39:36.:39:41.

he's in the guise and it's late at night, but it's the landscape of

:39:41.:39:46.

his mind and as a New Yorker it's also about New York. You have to be

:39:46.:39:52.

able to play that and be there. Especially as an English man of the

:39:52.:39:57.

Prime Minister's class. Hugh Grant pulled it off after the Miss Divine

:39:57.:40:05.

Brown thing. He came on in the guise of a man they would expect a

:40:05.:40:09.

guy to come on. Cameron doesn't foe how he'll be dealt with. You have

:40:09.:40:14.

to know what the whole thing is. I just hope that Cameron isn't a fan

:40:15.:40:19.

of Letterman because the audience will smell that and they'll grill

:40:19.:40:23.

him. By British standards he's not a very tough interviewer. American

:40:23.:40:26.

interviewers aren't tough, but he comes out with a quip when you left

:40:26.:40:33.

expect it, like the one with the Boris hair? That's my point. Three

:40:33.:40:39.

million watch the show, so he can come off of left field while

:40:39.:40:43.

Cameron's talking about the agenda. You can't do that on that?

:40:43.:40:52.

course, not. They'll ask about The Duchess and her breasts and plebs

:40:52.:40:58.

and all this kind of stuff. He'll have to balance that out. Here's

:40:58.:41:02.

the question - why is he doing it? As I said before, I hope he doesn't

:41:02.:41:08.

ask to do this show. I hope he didn't set it up. I hope he didn't

:41:08.:41:14.

say, "I'm a real fan." When British States they appear on the Today

:41:15.:41:21.

Show and Meet the Press and on Good Morning America and do 60 Minutes.

:41:21.:41:26.

They don't do the funny. Has Tony Blair done it? He did. He was known.

:41:26.:41:34.

He was - Everybody knew him in America. I think we have a few

:41:34.:41:41.

clips from David Cameron's outings on previous these type of shows.

:41:41.:41:48.

Can I ask you a question? How old where you were when now laidy

:41:48.:41:55.

Thatcher was first elected? About 12, 13. That's a time in a boy's

:41:55.:42:02.

life when you look around for women who are attractive. This is the

:42:02.:42:08.

moment I realise why politicians never come on this show. I put it

:42:08.:42:14.

to you, Sir, that as a young man you may have rejected the

:42:14.:42:21.

possibility, but I think you probably considered Margaret

:42:21.:42:28.

Thatcher in a Khanal fashion? -- carnal fashion, as we all did?

:42:28.:42:36.

We are not talking about politics. I wasn't really following it all

:42:36.:42:39.

very closely. I'm concerned did you think of her as a woman? Pin-up

:42:39.:42:43.

material? No. You didn't want to see her in stocksings?

:42:43.:42:48.

Politicians have to think about what we say and the trouble with

:42:48.:42:58.
:42:58.:43:01.

Twitter, the instance too many twits might make a twit. Do you now

:43:01.:43:04.

regret when once asked what your favourite joke was you relied Nick

:43:04.:43:07.

Clegg and Deputy Prime Minister, what do you think of that? We are

:43:07.:43:17.

all going to have, I'm afraid I did say that once. We are all going to

:43:17.:43:22.

have things that we said thrown back at us. Quickly, how do you

:43:22.:43:28.

sleep at night? I've always been able to sleep OK. If you work hard

:43:28.:43:31.

in the day and try to get your stuff done and try to get it behind

:43:31.:43:34.

you, because at the end of the day if you are exhausted you'll make

:43:34.:43:37.

wrong decisions so you have to get a good night's sleep. On that note,

:43:37.:43:44.

we're all off to bed. We're not. He's had some practice. He comes

:43:45.:43:48.

across as the charming publishman and the Americans will like that.

:43:48.:43:52.

He's quite good on his feet, but I would suggest to you that the only

:43:52.:43:56.

reason for doing this programme can be that you want to be better known

:43:56.:44:05.

in America? And he'll be better known for being a sprendrick --

:44:05.:44:10.

spendrick. Letterman will use him to make a point he might feel about

:44:10.:44:15.

Britain. This week, with the Emmys, there was a point made about all of

:44:15.:44:22.

the English and British actors in American TV. There's not a lot of

:44:22.:44:26.

warm feeling going on in the media, because so many great English and

:44:26.:44:31.

British actors are taking jobs. That's about acting. The American

:44:31.:44:35.

public love it. Downton Abbey is huge. I know, but they made a note

:44:35.:44:44.

of it and made a point at the Emmys, so Cameron will be put up against

:44:44.:44:49.

that. The Duchess of Cambridge will figure. That may be the case. I

:44:49.:44:53.

think he'll survive. Letterman will be kind. He's not like us. Do you

:44:54.:44:59.

want to make a bet? We have had some suggestions here. We asked

:44:59.:45:04.

people to tweet questions that he should be asked. Frankie says,

:45:04.:45:13.

"What's a pleb? How are he and Sam coping with austerity?" Maurice,

:45:13.:45:23.
:45:23.:45:32.

"Should people who abuse and swear I think that if he is on the show,

:45:32.:45:36.

he wants him to be on the show. He will be kind to him but he will

:45:36.:45:41.

make fun of him. Cameron one need to be it on his toes because the

:45:41.:45:49.

audience will demand it. That is what they like. Now who's got the

:45:49.:45:52.

balls to vote against Nick Clegg being Lib Dem leader at the next

:45:52.:45:56.

election? Here's Adam. Yesterday we were talking about leadership. We

:45:56.:46:01.

were asking delegates, in 2015, do want to be led by Nick Clegg or

:46:01.:46:08.

not? I am for Nick. He has taken a lot of flak. That would have

:46:08.:46:17.

crushed a normal politician. Go on then. I will put that in in a

:46:17.:46:26.

moment. Is that a coded signal? seat if I can get it in. Missed

:46:26.:46:32.

again. -- let's see. Are you pondering for dramatic effect?

:46:33.:46:37.

pondering. I do not have a viable alternative in mind. I think Nick

:46:37.:46:44.

Clegg is very good. I'm not sure how much good it will do us in 2015.

:46:44.:46:50.

Did any of you see ourselves as leaders of the party? -- do any of

:46:50.:46:58.

you? I would like to be. I would not want to be leader of the party.

:46:58.:47:04.

I would rather be Chief Whip. not? I think the apology was the

:47:04.:47:10.

right thing to do. It was two-and- a-half years to make. We have lost

:47:10.:47:15.

many councillors, including myself. We lost seats at the last election

:47:15.:47:22.

and we did not gain seats. We need a fresh start. Have you seen what

:47:22.:47:32.
:47:32.:47:32.

we are doing today? This is not who should stay as BBC political editor.

:47:32.:47:39.

That would look like a political judgment. What if he belt out and

:47:39.:47:46.

went to work in Brussels in 2014? - - bailed out. Would you be upset?

:47:46.:47:56.
:47:56.:47:58.

would be upset. I would vote for Tim Farron. Definitely! You are

:47:58.:48:05.

ruling yourself out for the leadership. Why on earth should we

:48:05.:48:14.

dump Nick Clegg? I need to take out two off his balls. I saw you voting

:48:14.:48:21.

for not. I was hoping no one would notice. I think it is a Gordon

:48:21.:48:31.

Brown effect. Regretted afterwards. -- you regret it afterwards. Some

:48:31.:48:36.

party members do not want you to hang around until 2015 but look at

:48:36.:48:42.

the massive majority that does. say, stick that in your ball box,

:48:42.:48:46.

media. That is the real story and not what the media wants to tell.

:48:46.:48:53.

She told him. John Kampfner and Stephen Tall are still with us. Is

:48:53.:48:58.

that a fair reflection of what the party things? Are they being

:48:58.:49:02.

dutifully loyal? I think it has been the conference that did not

:49:03.:49:08.

bark when it comes to leadership. A lot of speculation coming in that

:49:08.:49:14.

there would be chapter in the park at night. There has been idle

:49:14.:49:21.

speculation. -- chatter in the bath. I think now, Nick Clegg is

:49:21.:49:26.

determined to fight the next election as leader of the Lib Dems.

:49:26.:49:35.

Let's have a brief look at the potential successes. -- successor

:49:35.:49:39.

was. Vince Cable and Tim Farron. Are there others who could

:49:39.:49:45.

potentially takeover? Any of these figures, when you are asked, you

:49:45.:49:51.

say he is doing a fantastic job and long may he continue. When there is

:49:51.:49:54.

a campaign, the Lib Dems have proven themselves remarkably adept

:49:54.:50:01.

at getting rid of leaders. They have got rid of quite a few.

:50:01.:50:05.

Tories are far more fractures. The Parliamentary Party is pretty much

:50:05.:50:15.

open season now. The only person who is consistently - almost daily

:50:15.:50:23.

denouncing Nick Clegg and Plan A - is in the House of Lords. That is

:50:23.:50:32.

Lord Oakeshott. The extent of the discipline is... A standing.

:50:32.:50:35.

point that Polly Toynbee made earlier, a lot of those who are

:50:35.:50:41.

really cheesed off have just left the party. If you agree with that,

:50:41.:50:46.

is that the reason? The question about who might succeed Nick Clegg

:50:46.:50:51.

if he were kicked out come step down whatever, if the polls do not

:50:51.:50:54.

improve. Of a seat in -- implications and that he they

:50:54.:51:01.

should do the coalition revs. -- obviously implications. It is hard

:51:01.:51:06.

to imagine how that should happen. Can he looked down the camera lens

:51:06.:51:12.

at the next leaders' debate and say trust me? That is the crunch

:51:12.:51:16.

question that the Lib Dems and Nick Clegg have to answer. It was the

:51:16.:51:21.

policy on tuition fees from Vince Cable that landed Nick Clegg in hot

:51:22.:51:28.

water. It is interesting that Vince Cable is being touted as caretaker

:51:28.:51:31.

leader who might win back some of the deserters from the party but

:51:31.:51:36.

Nick Clegg had to make the apology for it. He could do we do with

:51:36.:51:42.

Labour, couldn't he? I also think Nick Clegg could. Labour would not

:51:42.:51:48.

do a deal with him. There is wrong number sides of this was they have

:51:48.:51:53.

both had a lot of personal acrimony to get in there. -- sides of this.

:51:53.:52:00.

It is entirely right and proper. It may be out of their hands and one

:52:00.:52:04.

party gets majority. You should remove all acrimony and polite the

:52:04.:52:12.

deal with whoever there is to do a deal with. I will politely mediate

:52:12.:52:16.

on. And we're joined now by Lib Dem Party President, the man who told

:52:16.:52:21.

Conference that he looks good on the dance floor, Tim Farron. You

:52:21.:52:28.

chose, don't vaulter by Lauren Laverne, as to warm up song at the

:52:28.:52:32.

rally. You lost the House of Lords reform and the Porsche a

:52:32.:52:42.
:52:42.:52:43.

representation. You have lost hundreds of councillors. -- and

:52:43.:52:48.

proportional representation. have had to end a half years in

:52:48.:52:54.

government. You are banned -- to end a half years in government. You

:52:54.:52:58.

are bound to make decisions which will make people uncomfortable. It

:52:58.:53:01.

is hardly surprising we found ourselves not doing well in many

:53:01.:53:06.

elections. There has been a turning around in the last six months or so.

:53:06.:53:10.

The local elections were poor but significantly better than the year

:53:10.:53:14.

before. Three times more seats from the Tories than make took from us.

:53:14.:53:19.

Almost all the incumbent seats we won and we took seats from Labour

:53:19.:53:24.

that we had lost the previous year. Not all rosy and wonderful but this

:53:24.:53:28.

Gwynedd again turning point was that you can see it there are

:53:28.:53:33.

growing resilience and complement - - confidence. It will be hard for

:53:33.:53:39.

us at a time like this. The last seeing a resilient and well lead

:53:39.:53:44.

party to win the battles, making sure we will do well at the next

:53:44.:53:48.

election. You said that voters who abandoned your party were

:53:48.:53:53.

disappointed, angry and perplexed, why? I met many of them. Many

:53:53.:53:58.

people who voted for as would perhaps not have assumed we would

:53:58.:54:02.

get elected. You make decisions in relatively good times that are

:54:02.:54:05.

bound to offend people, if you wander into power and find people

:54:06.:54:10.

in government. Many people thought issues like tuition fees come at

:54:10.:54:16.

the factory working coalition at all, has made people confused. --

:54:16.:54:24.

like tuition fees, the fact we are in a coalition at all. Nine times

:54:24.:54:31.

out of 10, when I speak to people on the doorstep, they come back to

:54:31.:54:36.

us. You say that the Tories do not care about a fairer and more equal

:54:36.:54:45.

society or the green economy. The tree they have as a logo should be

:54:45.:54:50.

replaced by a 747. Having never been on a jet liner yourself?

:54:50.:54:56.

for a few years - deliberately. I take the point are that the

:54:56.:55:00.

Conservatives do want to see the economy recover. If you take as

:55:00.:55:03.

your definition of fairness, where there are those who are the

:55:03.:55:07.

wealthiest, pay affair burden, and those who are the least well-off

:55:07.:55:09.

and struggling on middle-income scholar should not be squeezed

:55:09.:55:14.

further than they already are, we do dig from that definition of

:55:14.:55:19.

fairness. The second half of this Parliament is about the Liberal

:55:19.:55:26.

Democrats arguing politely and cutely in front of the public gaze

:55:26.:55:36.
:55:36.:55:36.

in favour of Ferrer taxes. -- favour of a fairer taxes. I make

:55:37.:55:43.

the Commons I do, Tiley -- teasing them a little bit over the Tory

:55:43.:55:48.

agenda. They tried to adopt a softer green approach in the run-up

:55:48.:55:54.

to the election. That was quite encouraging. What is not

:55:54.:56:01.

encouraging us some of the rhetoric recently. I think you have a hard

:56:01.:56:07.

road to follow. If this is what you really think about the Tories - you

:56:07.:56:10.

think they do not believe in fairness - they're not interested

:56:10.:56:17.

in economy and their green words do not add up... It be think they are

:56:17.:56:24.

the evil scumbags of the World Cup when you in bed with them? They are

:56:24.:56:30.

your words and not mine. I do not think that. I am involved in

:56:30.:56:36.

politics because I believe very passionately in liberalism. I am

:56:36.:56:42.

passionate about politics. Part of that his understanding pluralism.

:56:42.:56:48.

If I belong to a party that gets a 23% of the boat, I need to talk to

:56:48.:56:55.

other parties. -- the vote. Many of the Tories are reasonable people -

:56:55.:57:00.

most of them. That does not mean I have to agree with them. The

:57:00.:57:03.

wonderful thing about this coalition and how it differs with

:57:03.:57:09.

the last one, this coalition means we can have an upfront argument on

:57:09.:57:15.

the issues that still treat each other like decent human beings. The

:57:15.:57:19.

last Tony Blair/Gordon Brown government had rancorous fighting

:57:19.:57:24.

in the background. You must be very depressed at the polls which show

:57:24.:57:29.

that if Mr Clegg fell under a bus, Vince Cable would be the clear

:57:29.:57:34.

favourite to take over from him. would be very depressed if Nick

:57:34.:57:40.

Clegg went under a bus. I want him to be our leader. I think that he

:57:40.:57:44.

should be and will be our leader for a very long time to come. If

:57:44.:57:49.

you look at what has happened to this party, we have grown hugely as

:57:49.:57:58.

a party in government. You must be depressed that Mr Cable is ahead of

:57:58.:58:02.

you. You are talking about the race that does not exist. I'm talking a

:58:02.:58:06.

what is best for the Liberal Democrats. We need to unite in get

:58:06.:58:11.

behind Nick Clegg and back him all the way to the next election and

:58:11.:58:17.

beyond. -- getting behind. I spoke to Nick Clegg before the apology. I

:58:17.:58:20.

was struck by the fact that had come completely from the heart. No

:58:20.:58:25.

one told him to do it. There he said this was the moment to do that.

:58:25.:58:29.

I think we will see an unblocking of pupils is and respect for him as

:58:29.:58:37.

a person needing a party for many years to come. -- people's ears.

:58:37.:58:42.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with the latest political news from Westminster and Liberal Democrat conference, including Treasury minister Danny Alexander and playwright Bonnie Greer.

The Guess the Year competition closes at 1.00pm during the live broadcast of this programme.


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