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Afternoon folks. Welcome to our third and final Daily Politics


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


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


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


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


the party faithful to return to their constituencies and prepare


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


LAUGHTER All that in the next hour and with


us for the duration journalist and commentator John Kampfner and


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


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


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


disillusioned supporters, but the even more disillusioned wider


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


one thing to have negative compromise, trying to make the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Liberal Democrats have prosive ideas put forward in government.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


within the conference trying to establish broad principles, because


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


which is targeting wealthy pensioners, about Nick Clegg. Is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rate properties that you would target with the superrate tax.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


version of what liberal government would look like, rather than


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


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


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


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


government now. That conversation is remarkably missing from quite a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


countries combined their currencies for the first time since the Rome


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


together # Through the hard times... #


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


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


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


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


disappear as the moon covers the face of the sun.


MUSIC No, he wasn't looking aloft for


divine guidance. # Give it to me baby


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


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


can see the full terms and conditions for the competition on


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


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


the Liberal Democrats are already getting hot and bothered about how


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


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


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


Alexander Robin Hood? The Chancellor announced last year that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and free TV licences for millionaire pensioners. The Chief


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


There Rupp automatic stabilisers where benefits, payments and tax


receipts are just an borrowing response to deal with adverse


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


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


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


more severe. Those automatic stabilisers should respond in the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


total public spending has fallen substantially. We have made


substantial savings in welfare and departmental budgets. We have cut


administration budgets across government by 33% and, in some


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


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


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


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


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


overall. We are seeing the automatic stabilisers helping deal


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


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


just finish? The underlining reductions and departmental


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


We have not make decisions on any particular spending reductions as


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


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


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


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


difficult decisions affecting every single person in this country. The


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


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


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


how do you establish what properties are worth over �2


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reduction money. That would be a significant contribution in meeting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


recovering under Kenneth Clarke as Chancellor. The public had tuned


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


particularly the case if you are happening to work with another


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and


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


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


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


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


Cameron can wave goodbye to the Commons Andrew review that would


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Conservatives. The Leveson inquiry raised questions about his handling


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


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


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


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


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


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


Liberal Democrats a drubbing. Cutting the number of seats to


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


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


general election. This summer, David Cameron and Nick Clegg


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


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


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


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


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


Clegg will be talking about the positives. Some research suggests


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


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


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


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


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


legislation. Within Government, the Liberal Democrats are making a


difference. Danny Alexander has been praised by his colleagues in


both parties. Vince Cable is increasingly being lauded by the


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


and now David Laws, who helped negotiate the coalition agreement


and who is widely respected across party lines as education minister


and top Clegg adviser. Showing support for the Government and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


asked him questions, even fairly controversial ones like about drugs


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Alexander about the deficit reduction plan. Should the Liberal


Democrats now in coalition rg ewe against more austerity and promote


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


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


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


further investment and also in fairness, as well, new


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


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


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


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


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


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


bit more and say the Liberal Democrats are making Britain fairer


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


giving interviews to the regional newspapers and the Birmingham Post,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


hair? Laugh 456


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


was quite funny. The American writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


possibility, but I think you probably considered Margaret


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


a campaign, the Lib Dems have proven themselves remarkably adept


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


proportional representation. have had to end a half years in


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


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


is hardly surprising we found ourselves not doing well in many


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


The local elections were poor but significantly better than the year


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


election. You said that voters who abandoned your party were


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and struggling on middle-income scholar should not be squeezed


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


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


Democrats arguing politely and cutely in front of the public gaze


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


politics because I believe very passionately in liberalism. I am


passionate about politics. Part of that his understanding pluralism.


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


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


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


wonderful thing about this coalition and how it differs with


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


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


last Tony Blair/Gordon Brown government had rancorous fighting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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