Conference Special Daily Politics


Conference Special

Andrew Neil presents coverage of the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow and talks to Jeremy Browne and Ed Davey. Includes the speech by business secretary Vince Cable.


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The Liberal Democrats continue their autumn party conference in Glasgow

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with debates on the economy, taxes and benefits and a keynote speech

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from Business Secretary Vince Cable. Afternoon, folks, welcome to the

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Daily Politics Conference Special. Today's headlines from Glasgow: Lib

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Dems get down to business with a debate on the economy. Nick Clegg

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wants conference to back Government policy, but some activists want more

:01:01.:01:12.

focus on employment and growth. Vince Cable

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All that in the next hour, as well as an interview with the Energy

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Secretary, Ed Davey. And with us for the whole programme today is the

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writer, broadcaster and prominent Lib Dem supporter John Kampfner.

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Welcome to the Daily Politics. Well, Nick Clegg was out and about early

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in his sandals this morning doing the media rounds. I know you were

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in his sandals this morning doing probably all still in bed, so here's

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what he had to say to BBC Breakfast when he was asked about a poll in

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the Independent that suggests 59% of all those who voted Lib Dem at the

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last election believe the party has got worse in the last three years,

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last election believe the party has and only 9% believe it has got

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better. We are in government in difficult times. We came in, stepped

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up to the plate, rolled up our sleeves, got our hands dirty and got

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involved in this crucial once in a generation task of rescuing and

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repairing the British economy, which really was teetering on the edge of

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repairing the British economy, which the precipice in 2010. Without the

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Liberal Democrats holding our nerve, we would not now be starting to get

:03:05.:03:09.

a flow of better economic news. It is because we held our nerve. I

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understand that has unsettled some people, but it was the right thing

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for the country. Nick Clegg, not set to music!

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I would suggest he is having quite a good Conference. There is no

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possibility of any sort of leadership challenge. A confident

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interview on BBC breakfast yesterday morning, a confident interview on

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the today programme this morning. We understand he has just won the

:03:31.:03:35.

economy debate. The left-wing alternative was beaten, he won. He

:03:35.:03:44.

is. If you compare it to his first year, year and a half, with

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situation fees, he said he used to have things thrown through his

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letterbox and pretty unpleasant thing shouted at him in the Street.

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It was wondered whether he would survive a couple of years into the

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Government. You never survive a couple of years into the

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happen with voters, that he could be the kingmaker again and potentially

:03:59.:04:05.

the next deputy. Given they have been right in the middle of

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headwinds in terms of the recession and the general mood of gloom in the

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country, it is a pretty robust performance. But whether you get

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votes and plaudits for being tough and robust, whether you need to

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offer a different vision, that is how they are being challenged, how

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they show they are different from the other two parties. He still has

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about 18 months to do that. Let's get a sense of the mood at

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conference and talk to Andrew Grice from the Independent and Isabel

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Hardman of the Spectator. Isabel, cut to the chase, what is Vince

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Cable up to? It is a little bit unclear what he was thinking he was

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doing. He did not want to go into the economy debate because he was

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doing speech crap, then he decided he would have to come and vote in

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favour of Nick Clegg 's motion. It is probably because this was

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supposed to be Vince Cable 's leadership bid conference. Two years

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ago, people were expecting him to ride on the shoulders of activists.

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That has not happened. When he walked into the conference hall

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earlier, the cameras watched him sitting down, looking miserable. He

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managed to cause a stir but the economy motion was passed without

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his support, quite overwhelmingly. Are we making too much of the

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alleged split between Nick Clegg and Vince Cable? There is some

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substance. Vince Cable has always wanted the coalition to be more

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flexible with economic strategy. Nick Clegg thinks that as the

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economic tide is turning and there is a return to growth, it is a

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stupid time to reopen that argument. If they go back to calling for a

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Plan B, in Nick Clegg 's words, the Lib Dems will get no credit for the

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recovery, it will go to George Osborne and the Conservatives. There

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is confusion about why Vince Cable wants to show difference between

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himself and Nick Clegg. Even internal polls show that this is a

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party full of activists who are on the left. Mystic leg is a party full

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of activists who are on the left. Mystic laggards governing and

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leading -- leading his party from the centre. Can he do that

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indefinitely? I think what the debate we have just seen showed is

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that the left-leaning faction of the party may be the loudest but not

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necessarily the most powerful. That is dominated by the very well-known

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Social Liberal Forum, but Liberal Reform, which is more market-based,

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is going in to the ascendancy. Many people are backing market-based

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speeches. What is the overall mood in bars go? Every time I have been

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to a Lib Dem conference since the coalition they are torn between, on

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the one hand, being happy they are finally in government after all

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these years and able to do some things, on the other hand, not that

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happy that they are in power with the Conservatives? That is true.

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They are growing up as a party. Yesterday they accept that they

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could not go into the election saying that they would get rid of

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university tuition fees, a big change since last time. They

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embraced nuclear power, a big U-turn. They have rallied behind

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Nick Clegg on the economy. Is a painful process, but I think they

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are along the road what Nick Clegg want, a party of permanent

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government, not a protest party in the comfort zone of opposition where

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they can vote against anything the Government was doing. I think we are

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seeing a transformation along the lines that Nick Legge wanted. Do you

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agree? I think the votes vindicate the leadership strategy of

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confronting activists. One MP said it is a scab picking conference,

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where they talk about some of the difficult issues. The scab picking

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has paid off so far, although we have a debate on the 50p tax, which

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the leadership is briefing that they will lose. I gather from yesterday

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pulls-macro speech that Ed Davey is now using Sarah tether 's joke

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right? It was that bad? Is that right? It was quite painful. He had

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a good narrative about fighting Owen Paterson but he peppered it with

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terrible jokes. Where they bad, Andy? He tried to say he was

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fracking responsible for exposing the hyperbole of the Tories on

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fracking. But after his first joke fell flat he should have drawn

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stumps, skipped a few pages and got onto his serious message. It was a

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joke too far. When I interviewed him later, I will tell him to avoid the

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jokes. Thank you both for joining us, enjoy your time in the fair city

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jokes. Thank you both for joining of Glasgow.

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Now it's time for our daily quiz. The question is, which sport did

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Nick Clegg not try his hand at yesterday? Table football, pitch and

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putt or beach volleyball. At the end of the show, John will give us the

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correct answer. You will get is the correct answer? You don't know it,

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do you? I saw a photograph of one that he certainly did. That is not

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the question. Whisper it quietly, but after three

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years of little or no growth the economy appears to be recovering. A

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bit. Somewhat. At last. And one half of the coalition certainly seems to

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be happy to take the credit, with George Osborne boldly declaring last

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week that the UK is turning a corner. What is around that corner

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is another matter. But what of the other half of the coalition? Well,

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Nick Clegg certainly thinks Lib Dems should be loud and proud about their

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economic achievements, while those on the left of his party feel pretty

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uncomfortable about any taking credit for what they call

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Osbornonomics. The internal Lib Dem row over economic policy is in the

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spotlight today in Glasgow. Nick Clegg wanted party members to

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endorse the coalition's deficit reduction plan, but left-leaning

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activists from the Social Liberal Forum tabled an amendment calling on

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the plan to be rebalanced with more flexible policy on the pace of

:10:21.:10:34.

deficit reduction. Ie slower deficit-reduction. They also want

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some councils to be allowed to borrow more to build an extra

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300,000 new homes a year, as well as the reintroduction of the 50p higher

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rate of tax. There was some speculation over whether Vince Cable

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would even turn up today. He was thought to be unhappy. When did that

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happen? ! He was thought to be unhappy that the motion did not draw

:11:04.:11:09.

on some of the amendments tabled by the party. There are rumours that he

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is not entirely happy with some of the Government 's economic policies.

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He is particularly concerned that the recovery is not sustainable,

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especially with the potential for another housing bubble thanks to the

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Government 's help to buy mortgage scheme. In a newspaper interview

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over the weekend he said the danger lights had been flashing for some

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time over rising house prices. Well, this morning Lib Dems have backed

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Nick Clegg in his motion on the economy. Here are some highlights

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from the debate. On Sunday the 9th of March 2008,

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Nick made his first speech as Lib Dem leader. I would like to remind

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you of what you said and how much we welcomed these words. You said, I

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will never allow the Liberal Democrat to be a mere annex to

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another party pulls-macro agenda. Conference, unamended, this motion

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would do just that. We must not vote for an ideological merger with the

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Conservative Party 's economic odysseys.

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We are the balancing force for whichever party is in Government, we

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are able to put Labour 's spending excess in check and we are able to

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make sure the Conservative Party remains fair. That is the message I

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need to be able to say on the doorstep to win in Hampstead and

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Kilburn. That will only resonate if we stay the course on this motion,

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if we stay the course with the fiscal mandate.

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I want the party leadership to talk more about housing, to shout about

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it from the rooftops. The shortage of private and public housing is a

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social and, yes, economic crisis in this country that never seems to get

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to the Cabinet table. We should be building more new homes, social and

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private. We should not be inflating another housing bubble.

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The evidence is that the original planning of George Osborne has been

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a disaster. If you look across the piece, if you not selective, such as

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the proposals of the motion, if you look across the piece, the original

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Osborne planning has been a disaster. Fortunately, people like

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Vince Cable and others have gently finessed away from the original

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planning. There is a lot of good in the body of this motion, which I

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wholly support. But what I am asking you to do today is a vote in favour

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of three things. Amendment one, Amendment two and intellectual

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honesty. If we reject the two amendments we will be going into the

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election with a miserable little compromise. 50 years ago this

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weekend, we talked about marching towards the sound of gunfire. I want

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the ammunition to fight that battle and win. In government, the Liberal

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Democrats have delivered. I will not repeat everything everybody else

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says that, time is short. But it there has been a lot of pain in that

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process. And to now think about jumping ship just as things are

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starting to improve seems to me to not be a very rational or sensible

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decision. Nick, I bid you to accept the whole amendment. You are not

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alone Ranger and we are not Tonto. Please show the world that we are an

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independent policy and we have a better taken on a policy than the

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Tories. That was the flavour of the economic

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bait. It was thought to cause problems for the party leadership

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but in the end, the party one. Jeremy Browne joins me now from

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Glasgow. Vince Cable says there are dangers

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signs of a housing bubble. The Vince Cable says there are dangers

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Government is right. It has the right policy. It is about slowly

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implementing policy - getting the country back on its feet. Part of

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that is about recovery in the housing market. We want a boy

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galloping ahead and escalation of house prices -- we want to avoid a

:15:30.:15:40.

galloping ahead. We do not want to repeat the problem. That is why the

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Government is being cautious in its problems generally inquiry are not

:15:44.:15:48.

getting ahead of ourselves and taking things step by step. I think

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we have the right policy. You say the Government is right. Both Vince

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Cable and Mr Alexander are members of the Government. It would seem

:15:59.:16:06.

you side with Danny Alexander. That is the Government's policy. Danny

:16:06.:16:11.

Alexander is a Treasury Minister, which is the responsible government

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department. I think the whole government is united behind that

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policy. Is it true that bins Cable and Danny Alex Song are barely on

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policy. Is it true that bins Cable speaking terms? -- Vince Cable and

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Danny Alexander. I am not able to see the relationship in the Cabinet.

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They seem to be working together as far as I can see. The Government is

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They seem to be working together as united in its purpose. The Liberal

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Democrats in the Government a very determined we see through the

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economic rebuilding of our country after the ruinous state it was in

:16:57.:17:04.

three, four, five years ago. We are on part to get our country back on

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track. It is a slow and incremental process. The Liberal Democrats were

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strongly committed to seeing it through. Isn't it tactically less

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than the siege - just as many people think the economy is now

:17:19.:17:23.

coming right after three years' hard pounding - for many Lib Dems,

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led by Vince Cable, to be questioning whether the economic

:17:29.:17:35.

policy was right or not? I strongly agree with your question. The

:17:35.:17:40.

Liberal Democrats have shown commitment to resilience can afford

:17:40.:17:44.

to do in government. We have stuck to our guns. -- resilience,

:17:44.:17:51.

fortitude in government. We are now in a position where the country

:17:51.:17:56.

appears to be starting to turn a corner. We are not there yet. We're

:17:56.:18:01.

off our knees and on our feet again. We are not yet fully up and running.

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We need to see this job through. The Lib Dems should be unequivocal.

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We need to see this job through. We have been instrumental to the

:18:10.:18:15.

success of this government. The decisions this government has taken

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on economic policy have been labelled Democrat decisions as much

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as conservative decisions. -- Liberal Democrat. There difficult

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decisions -- the Liberal Democrats need to ask themselves, are we

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proud of our government of the ashamed of it? We should be

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unequivocally proud of it. We should not be bashful about our

:18:42.:18:46.

achievements. The achievements are just as much a result of Liberal

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Democrat policies as they are conservative ones. Talking about

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your own department, you want to start a debate about banning young

:18:57.:19:03.

Muslim women from wearing the veil. Why do you want to do that? There

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is a debate already. There is a debate that people discuss at her

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name, they discuss it in schools and the media. It is legitimate. --

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at home. Mainstream liberal-minded politician should be engaging in

:19:24.:19:29.

public debates which are matters of the national interest to people

:19:29.:19:33.

across the country. It would be regrettable if the only people who

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are willing to talk about this issue publicly were people with

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extremist political views. I want us to value freedom of religious

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expression. We have a proud tradition in this country of

:19:45.:19:49.

religious tolerance. I do not want religious majority opinion to

:19:49.:20:02.

impose itself. We can talk about how we can have a harmonious

:20:02.:20:06.

society where everybody feels a full participant in that society.

:20:06.:20:12.

There is debate happening. IG not have necessarily fixed fees. I have

:20:12.:20:19.

not necessarily come to a conclusion. We may come to

:20:19.:20:23.

differing conclusions were rethink about and analyse these issues. It

:20:23.:20:28.

is a good subject to debate. We should be confident about

:20:28.:20:32.

discussing how we can make our country a harmonious and inclusive

:20:32.:20:38.

country. You have said in an article or newspaper interview,

:20:38.:20:41.

you're concerned about where the girl should feel a compulsion to

:20:41.:20:50.

wear a veil. -- where the girls. Is it not hard to determine those who

:20:50.:20:55.

are wearing it because they want to and those who wear it because they

:20:55.:21:01.

are being forced to? My starting position is that I am very keen to

:21:01.:21:07.

protect religious minority expression. I ate her in this

:21:07.:21:12.

debate on not going down the path of trying to tell people what they

:21:12.:21:15.

should wear and restrict what they should wear. Most people attending

:21:16.:21:21.

school, at school age, what they wear is restricted. They are

:21:21.:21:25.

obliged to wear school uniform of some sort. I was only making an

:21:25.:21:30.

observation when talking to the newspapers that we, as a society,

:21:30.:21:34.

one people to have freedom of choice but we to restrict that for

:21:34.:21:39.

people under the age of 18 in a whole variety of ways. We think

:21:39.:21:44.

they have not yet got sufficient maturity to exercise those choices

:21:44.:21:48.

they have not yet got sufficient in the way that an adult could. I

:21:48.:21:52.

suppose there is a legitimate debate about whether women should

:21:52.:22:00.

be able to wear veils and because. I am overwhelmingly instinctive

:22:00.:22:07.

with you that they should be. They are adults and expressing that

:22:07.:22:13.

opinion. I have a predisposition to protecting religious opinion. There

:22:13.:22:18.

is escape about whether children are able to exercise those choices

:22:18.:22:23.

in quite the same way as women can. I do not have a conclusive you on

:22:24.:22:29.

it. Nearly every child who goes to school wears a uniform already.

:22:29.:22:33.

There are restricted in all sorts of ways. This is something that

:22:33.:22:37.

mainstream politicians can reasonably discuss. In the party's

:22:37.:22:41.

official talking points that were sent this morning to MPs like

:22:41.:22:46.

yourself, appearing on programme's like this, I'm sure you have a copy.

:22:46.:22:54.

By mistake we were also sent a copy, for which we are very grateful. One

:22:54.:23:00.

talking point is that an example of the Tory backbench being beyond the

:23:00.:23:06.

pale, your party says they wanted to ban the backer. -- burkha. Sarah

:23:06.:23:22.

Wollaston is a Conservative MP in Devon. She is famously independent-

:23:22.:23:27.

minded. I think she occasionally causes some frustration in the

:23:27.:23:31.

leadership or her party and maybe people in other parties as well. No

:23:31.:23:34.

leadership or her party and maybe one would regard her as an extreme

:23:34.:23:38.

political figure. She has mainstream views. She has broadly

:23:38.:23:43.

quite liberal views. She has expressed some opinions on this

:23:43.:23:48.

subject in the media today as well. What I suppose I caution you about

:23:48.:23:51.

is I do not think we should close down debate. I do not want to have

:23:51.:23:56.

a situation where only people with marginal extreme views feel able to

:23:56.:24:01.

discuss these issues. In private, people of all religious Bates to

:24:01.:24:02.

discuss these issues under scour people of all religious Bates to

:24:02.:24:09.

how we can have -- and discuss how we can have a harmonious society.

:24:09.:24:18.

There were five things you had to a member for every interview this

:24:18.:24:20.

morning. I think you got three of them. That is not bad. You missed

:24:20.:24:27.

out the economy and that the Conservatives cannot build a fairer

:24:27.:24:32.

society. Three out of five is pretty good so far. You plug this

:24:32.:24:38.

two and between us we will get the 4th one. You plug them and then a

:24:38.:24:46.

question you! Thank you for joining us. You are deep into freedom

:24:46.:24:52.

issues. Where on view on banning the frail? -- veil or the burkha?

:24:52.:25:12.

It is about people not feeling constrained. It is about

:25:12.:25:14.

termination to take offence. That has been almost elevated into a

:25:14.:25:24.

human right. -- determination. Issues around gender politics or

:25:24.:25:28.

whatever are circumscribed because of this determination by a vocal

:25:28.:25:35.

minority to take offence. The facts of the debate itself, where every

:25:35.:25:42.

it ends up, is a good name. -- wherever it ends up. I am more in

:25:42.:25:55.

the British position of freedom of expression. Yesterday on the Sunday

:25:55.:25:57.

Politics, Paddy Ashdown told me that the Lib Dems are a centre-left

:25:58.:26:01.

party but that it would be up to voters to decide whether the Lib

:26:01.:26:05.

Dems would go into a coalition with the Tories or Labour after the next

:26:05.:26:09.

election. Adam has been busy talking to Lib Dem activists and

:26:09.:26:12.

party members in Glasgow to test Lord Ashdown's theory. Here at the

:26:12.:26:20.

Lib Dem conference there is loads of talk about whether the party is

:26:20.:26:26.

Centre Left, a bit left, a bit right, so, we're asking delegates,

:26:26.:26:31.

who would they rather go into coalition with? The Tories or

:26:31.:26:36.

Labour? Who is your favourite coalition partner? Why Labour? I

:26:37.:26:44.

feel closer to them in underlying philosophy. Has it been tricky

:26:44.:26:49.

being in bed with the Tories? A bit. My heart says layback and my brain

:26:49.:26:56.

says the Tories. You are physically conflicted. -- Labour. The Tories

:26:56.:27:02.

are more likely to compromise in the national interest. Nick Clegg

:27:02.:27:06.

is going to have to separate the head from the rest of your body. It

:27:06.:27:11.

will be a difficult decision to make. I would rather cut of my left

:27:11.:27:15.

leg before they go into coalition with the Tories again. Disabled

:27:15.:27:21.

benefits and benefits in general have been most upsetting. I find Ed

:27:21.:27:27.

Miliband a totally ineffective leader and I would not want to find

:27:27.:27:35.

a government run by such a weak man. We have been at this for quite some

:27:35.:27:40.

time. The boxes are not really getting that full. Loads of people

:27:40.:27:44.

put the balls on the floor because they do not want to vote for either.

:27:44.:27:48.

There will be of the people who will be balanced between the Labour

:27:48.:27:55.

Party and the Tory Party. -- other people. It is quite a tricky

:27:55.:28:03.

proposition. Oh, horror, horror! Dangling in the middle. Down to the

:28:03.:28:13.

voters. The electorate will decide. Where does your heart lead you -

:28:13.:28:23.

Labour or the Tories? You vote in a slot that matches your view. I do

:28:23.:28:30.

not think there are enough slots. It is all about what we can get.

:28:30.:28:37.

That sounds mercenary. It is all about the people who vote for us,

:28:37.:28:43.

what they get out of it. I'm not going to pick. I can predict

:28:43.:28:49.

exactly what you're going to say. I say, who is your preferred

:28:49.:28:53.

coalition partner next time around? You say, we let the voters decide.

:28:53.:29:01.

Dean that down. Let's both go her name. Most of the balls have gone

:29:01.:29:13.

in the Labour box. -- let's both go home. It is coming up to 12:30pm

:29:13.:29:17.

here on BBC Two. Let's take a look inside the conference hall in

:29:17.:29:20.

Glasgow as delegates wait to hear Vince Cable's keynote speech. Our

:29:20.:29:22.

deputy political editor, James Landale, joins me now.

:29:22.:29:33.

A good morning for the leadership, they won the economy debate so they

:29:33.:29:40.

can continue to take credit, but Mr Cable and his people really causing

:29:40.:29:45.

mischief? Mischief is a pretty good word. To allow a story like this

:29:45.:29:51.

about whether he will vote for the leadership or not, will he even

:29:51.:29:55.

attend the debate, to allow that to last for a whole new cycle and then

:29:55.:29:59.

do a rush to the rescue at the end, I spoke to a Lib Dem minister who

:29:59.:30:03.

said it is like Vince Cable being Gordon Brown to Nick Clegg 's Tony

:30:03.:30:10.

Blair. It is a little bit of vanity, some genuine difference about

:30:10.:30:14.

economic tone and a little bit of flirtation with the left of the

:30:14.:30:19.

party. What he says is crucial and we will listen to him fairly soon.

:30:20.:30:22.

Let go straight to the hall and to we will listen to him fairly soon.

:30:22.:30:29.

the Business Secretary, Vince Cable. But Glasgow has experienced one part

:30:29.:30:35.

the, that is Labour, rule for decades. I was part of the Labour

:30:35.:30:41.

political machine here in the 1970s. And on one level, it worked

:30:41.:30:48.

well. In sanitary slums were raised to the ground, we built 30,000 new

:30:48.:30:54.

social homes for rent in a decade. Actually, 5001 year, I think on a

:30:54.:31:03.

scale unimaginable today. -- 5000 in one year. But there was tribalism

:31:03.:31:10.

and a culture in which union bosses had excessive influence in picking

:31:10.:31:16.

candidates and deciding policies. Judging by Falkirk and other Labour

:31:16.:31:20.

fiefdoms, nothing very much has changed. That is one major reason

:31:20.:31:29.

why we must not concede to Labour the mantle of radical progressive

:31:29.:31:34.

politics. We must assert our control. We must assert our

:31:34.:31:42.

ownership of that tradition, which in Scotland runs for over a century

:31:42.:31:48.

- Askwith, Gladstone, Charles Kennedy, Bob MacLennan, many others.

:31:48.:31:57.

The challenge today is to reinforce that liberal tradition, which is at

:31:57.:32:06.

risk of being compromised by working on Clydeside. Like you, I have spent

:32:06.:32:15.

most of my political life fighting the Tories, from Glasgow to

:32:15.:32:23.

Twickenham. But despite that, I believe it was both brave and

:32:23.:32:28.

absolutely right for the party, and a Nick Clegg 's leadership, to work

:32:28.:32:35.

with the Tories in an economic emergency, in the national interest.

:32:35.:32:40.

Theresa May once characterised the Tories a decade ago as the nasty

:32:40.:32:44.

party, and after a few years trying to be nice and inclusive it has

:32:44.:32:49.

reverted to type. We have got dog whistle politics orchestrated by an

:32:49.:32:59.

Australian Rottweiler. We have got hostility towards organised Labour

:32:59.:33:11.

that micro-organised labour, people on benefits and immigrant

:33:11.:33:13.

minorities. The list of people the Tories disapprove of this even

:33:13.:33:16.

longer. Public sector workers, especially teachers, the unmarried,

:33:16.:33:21.

people who don't earn property. I suspect their core demographic

:33:21.:33:25.

excludes pretty much anybody who wouldn't have qualified for a vote

:33:25.:33:29.

before the 1867 reform act. APPLAUSE

:33:29.:33:39.

I think these prejudicial as can perhaps be explained in part by

:33:39.:33:43.

their age profile. I suspect I would qualify, not an ideology but on age,

:33:43.:33:49.

to be a member of the Young Conservatives. But I think the other

:33:49.:33:58.

reason is deeper. A cynical calculation that in difficult times

:33:58.:34:06.

fear trumps hope, and that competence requires callousness.

:34:06.:34:10.

fear trumps hope, and that That is not our kind of politics. It

:34:10.:34:16.

is ugly and we will not be dragged down by it. That is why our Liberal

:34:16.:34:23.

Democrat message, about fairness, is absolutely key. That

:34:23.:34:28.

Democrat message, about fairness, is legitimately claim ownership of the

:34:28.:34:31.

tax policies, which have lifted millions of low earners out of

:34:31.:34:37.

income tax. Remember, it is our policy. Don't let the Tories steal

:34:37.:34:42.

it. I can remember in opposition

:34:42.:34:49.

bringing this proposal to this conference at a time when George

:34:49.:34:53.

Osborne's top priority was cutting inheritance tax for millionaires.

:34:53.:34:57.

And our commitment to taxing unproductive wealth, that is

:34:57.:35:02.

valuable property, through the mansion tax, is economic league

:35:02.:35:07.

sensible and popular and, above all, fair. Don't let Labour steel that,

:35:07.:35:13.

either. -- is economic league sensible. Fairness takes so far

:35:13.:35:24.

but, in my view, not far enough. We're not just a nicer version of

:35:24.:35:34.

the Tories. There are fundamental differences about how we create a

:35:34.:35:37.

stronger economy and more jobs. Remember, we are five years on from

:35:37.:35:41.

the biggest market failure of our lifetime. Financial capitalism

:35:41.:35:45.

collapsed and was rescued by the state. Labour was in charge, they

:35:45.:35:51.

had fallen asleep at the wheel and they were negligent. But the

:35:51.:36:00.

Tories' friends and donors were also at the heart of the greed and

:36:00.:36:03.

recklessness that lay behind that disaster. And today they yearn to

:36:03.:36:13.

return to business as usual. Whilst we work with them, as we have to

:36:13.:36:17.

do, pragmatically and constructively, to clear up the

:36:17.:36:22.

mess, we must not allow them to turn the clock back. In essence, the

:36:22.:36:27.

Tories have a very simple world-view, which is private good,

:36:27.:36:34.

public bad. Labour offers the polar opposite. As Liberal Democrats, we

:36:34.:36:43.

value both private and public sector. I support, of course,

:36:43.:36:49.

Private business, big and small, but I also support mutuals and employee

:36:49.:36:54.

ownership. And I don't think even Tony Benn could have claimed to have

:36:54.:37:11.

launched two state-owned banks. The green investment bank, now based

:37:11.:37:15.

in Edinboro, which was promised three years ago, is already

:37:15.:37:19.

committing £685 million to green project is. And the business bank

:37:19.:37:23.

that I launched at conference exactly one year ago, is mobilising

:37:23.:37:25.

private capital to support new banks and local banks. It is the key to

:37:25.:37:30.

stopping the suffocation of good small companies by the big banks. By

:37:30.:37:41.

contrast, the spiritual home of the Conservatives is the United States.

:37:41.:37:46.

They have become the Tea Party Tories. They want to throw overboard

:37:46.:37:50.

any tax or regulation that get in the view of their blinkered small

:37:51.:37:56.

states ideal Jew. Deep down, they believe their are native to

:37:56.:38:02.

unhindered individual self-interest, and interest that

:38:02.:38:05.

attempts to tackle big disparities of interest and health must be on

:38:05.:38:11.

the road of suicide safe -- socialist safety. Our rejection of

:38:11.:38:17.

that dogma leads us to an eclectic mixture of market and regulation. In

:38:17.:38:23.

government, we are, rightly, getting rid of the red tape that throttles

:38:23.:38:27.

small business and holds back entrepreneurs. But some regulation

:38:27.:38:32.

is essential. That is why I work with Ed Davie to resist Tory

:38:32.:38:44.

pressure as it is in their ludicrous bills. It is why we have seen of

:38:44.:38:51.

demands from a Tory donor to make it possible to fire people for no

:38:51.:38:58.

reason whatever. Let nobody tell you... APPLAUSE.Let nobody tell you

:38:58.:39:08.

that Liberal Democrats have not made a difference. Without is in

:39:08.:39:12.

government, we would be ruled by people who think that the problem

:39:12.:39:16.

with this country is that workers have too much job security. Instead,

:39:16.:39:22.

I propose to act against abusive practices in zero-hours contracts,

:39:22.:39:27.

like exclusivity arrangements preventing workers from seeking

:39:27.:39:30.

alternatives even when they are given no work. I have secured

:39:30.:39:35.

agreement in Government to launch a formal consultation on the best

:39:35.:39:39.

mechanism to tackle this abuse. APPLAUSE

:39:39.:39:50.

. We have had to take some tough and necessary economic decisions with

:39:50.:39:56.

the Tories. There is, of course, common ground with them on the need

:39:56.:40:00.

to cut the structural deficit and to promote private enterprise. There is

:40:00.:40:05.

welcome sign of returning confidence in the economy. And let's not get

:40:05.:40:11.

carried away, and let's not get sucked in to a petty point-scoring

:40:11.:40:17.

Tory/Labour Punch and Judy show on sucked in to a petty point-scoring

:40:17.:40:22.

the economy. It took many years of mistakes to create the financial

:40:22.:40:26.

crisis. It has taken as five years to start to dig our way out. We must

:40:26.:40:34.

not now settle for a short-term spurt of growth fuelled by

:40:34.:40:38.

old-fashioned property boom and bankers rediscovering their Mojo.

:40:38.:40:49.

We have seen it all before. There already and amber lights flashing,

:40:49.:40:54.

warning us of history repeating itself. -- that are already amber

:40:54.:41:14.

lights flashing. You will recall from your reading of the old

:41:14.:41:17.

Testament that Jeremiah was right. David Cameron says I am a Jeremiah.

:41:17.:41:22.

He warned that Jerusalem would be overrun by the armies of

:41:22.:41:25.

Nebuchadnezzar, and in my own Book Of Lamentations I described how

:41:25.:41:30.

Gordon Brown's new Jerusalem was overcome by an army of estate

:41:30.:41:34.

agents, property speculators and bankers. The problem we now have is

:41:34.:41:38.

that the invaders are back. They have got a bridgehead in London and

:41:38.:41:43.

the south-east of England. They have got to be stopped. Instead, we need

:41:43.:41:47.

sustainable growth. That involves got to be stopped. Instead, we need

:41:47.:41:55.

rebalancing the economy across the UK in favour of exports and

:41:55.:42:00.

investment, which is the central purpose of our government's

:42:00.:42:04.

industrial strategy. We should celebrate the success of motor

:42:04.:42:08.

vehicles and aerospace and the creative industries and educational

:42:08.:42:13.

exports and the partnership dream business and government in all these

:42:13.:42:19.

areas. Manufacturing is coming back through rebuild supply chains. We

:42:19.:42:26.

are tackling the country's scandalous neglect of skills through

:42:26.:42:30.

our successful relaunching of large-scale apprenticeships. We have

:42:30.:42:35.

given priority to Britain's world-class science and created a

:42:35.:42:39.

chain of innovation centres, the so-called Catapults, of which there

:42:39.:42:48.

two in Glasgow, promoting new technologies for building,

:42:48.:42:49.

manufacturing and offshore renewables. We are building a

:42:49.:42:54.

genuine cross-party consensus around these Government intervention so

:42:54.:42:57.

that they end you are, that make absolutely no mistake. Without the

:42:58.:43:04.

Liberal Democrats in government, they would never have happened.

:43:04.:43:11.

But if sustainable recovery is to be achieved, we must meet the enormous

:43:12.:43:21.

challenge of house-building. Demand growth has been outstripping supply,

:43:21.:43:28.

pushing up rents and prices. Property is simply unaffordable for

:43:28.:43:32.

families without big incomes or access to the Bank Of Mum And Dad.

:43:32.:43:37.

But we are nowhere near it capturing the level of house-building that

:43:37.:43:41.

pulled Britain out of the slump of the 1950s. Anyone had a thousand

:43:41.:43:46.

homes a year are being compared it. That is a quarter to four was

:43:46.:43:52.

achieved in the 1960s -- barely 100,000 homes a year are being

:43:52.:43:56.

compared it, a quarter of what was achieved in the 1960s. Hence the

:43:56.:44:06.

enormous pressure on families trapped by low pay, rising rent

:44:06.:44:10.

enormous pressure on families tighter benefit rules. The priority

:44:10.:44:15.

now is increasing housing supply through both private and public

:44:16.:44:23.

sector. And, Conference, we took a strong step forward this morning

:44:23.:44:27.

with the proposal to give councils greater capacity to get on and build

:44:27.:44:35.

more social housing. What the country desperately wants

:44:35.:44:42.

is delivery of homes, not a dogmatic argument about tender. Now, I hoped

:44:42.:44:47.

that we would find some common ground with the Tories, at least in

:44:47.:44:52.

one area, which is supporting the idea of an open, outward looking

:44:52.:44:58.

country. Indeed, we said with one voice that Britain is open for

:44:58.:45:03.

business. Sadly, that message has changed. Brazilian and other

:45:03.:45:09.

overseas students who would bring economic and wider benefits to

:45:09.:45:12.

British universities are being told that they are heard in some

:45:12.:45:18.

immigrant, so they go to the United States instead. We have Chinese

:45:18.:45:22.

tourists and businessmen who was so fed up with the hassle and

:45:22.:45:27.

humiliation of trying to visit Britain to make investments here

:45:27.:45:30.

that they are taking their money to Germany and France instead. What are

:45:30.:45:37.

they here is that we are closed for business, that must change.

:45:37.:45:50.

Moreover, our status as a popular destination for job-creating

:45:50.:45:57.

investment from Japan, the United States and mainland Europe will be

:45:57.:46:04.

compromised by careless talk from some of my coalition Cabinet

:46:04.:46:09.

colleagues, let alone the backbench bones and collarbones about leaving

:46:09.:46:14.

the European Union and the single market. Britain's future in the

:46:14.:46:18.

European single market is now being put at risk by the Tories, yet

:46:18.:46:24.

millions of British jobs depend on protecting that relationship. We

:46:24.:46:38.

are leaving that speech at the Lib Dem Conference. You can still

:46:38.:46:42.

follow it live on BBC Parliament and probably on BBC News as well.

:46:42.:46:48.

He began his speech really with a very savage attack on the

:46:48.:46:51.

Conservatives. You would find it hard to believe he was in the same

:46:51.:46:56.

government as them. He kept that theme throughout the speech. His

:46:56.:47:02.

attack on not doing enough visas for Brazilians and Chinese is an

:47:02.:47:07.

attack on the Conservatives immigration policy. He took on the

:47:08.:47:13.

Tory chief spin doctor for the campaign, an Australian Rottweiler.

:47:13.:47:21.

They had seen off demands of a Tory donor he wanted to free up the

:47:21.:47:27.

labour market a bit more. The only people the Tories really like

:47:27.:47:36.

others who had the vote before the 1867 Reform Act. The Conservatives

:47:36.:47:42.

introduced that act. What did you make of all about? As you say, it

:47:42.:47:49.

was pretty full blooded against the Tory side of the Government. It

:47:49.:47:52.

was pretty full blooded against the suggests Vince Cable is becoming

:47:53.:47:58.

increasingly unhappy with being there - sitting around the table

:47:58.:48:02.

with these people. It is fine put that he can do it. He can attack

:48:02.:48:10.

the Conservatives. -- it is fine. The flipside, and this is the side

:48:10.:48:16.

that Nick Clegg and Jeremy Browne and others have not got to grips

:48:16.:48:24.

with, what happens come 2015 if they have to go into bed with

:48:24.:48:31.

Labour? This narrative is clearing up the mess that Labour left behind.

:48:31.:48:37.

In other words, a Labour trashed the economy. How can you go into,

:48:37.:48:42.

for all the differences they have with the Conservatives, how can you

:48:42.:48:48.

go into coalition with a party they regard as... OK, the bankers did

:48:48.:48:53.

their bit Amport the economy to its knees. That bit of it is far harder

:48:53.:48:59.

to reconcile. Nick Clegg is not moving anywhere away from that

:48:59.:49:04.

rhetoric. We shall see. While all eyes today have been on the Lib

:49:04.:49:07.

Dems' mild disagreement over economic policy, yesterday saw a

:49:07.:49:10.

much bigger row, at least in Lib Dem terms, over nuclear policy.

:49:10.:49:11.

much bigger row, at least in Lib Party members were asked to change

:49:11.:49:14.

Lib Dem policy to support new nuclear power. It provoked strong

:49:14.:49:19.

feelings on both sides of the argument. Not one Liberal Democrat

:49:19.:49:28.

MP voted for the national policy statement that committed us to more

:49:28.:49:32.

nuclear. We row right not to support it. Conference has been

:49:32.:49:37.

right every time it has rejected a nuclear power. -- rejected nuclear

:49:37.:49:44.

powerful stuff I'm shocked to hear some of the things I have just

:49:44.:49:49.

heard about nuclear power. I live in Somerset, next they're actually

:49:49.:49:55.

to Hinckley Point power station. A nuclear power station that has been

:49:55.:50:00.

bad for a long time. I was one of the local councillors that opposed

:50:00.:50:07.

the building of the third power station a number of years ago. I

:50:07.:50:13.

have grown up. I now live in the real world. In the end, the party

:50:13.:50:17.

leadership won the argument and got the backing of conference for their

:50:17.:50:20.

policy U-turn. Let's talk about this now with the Energy and

:50:20.:50:22.

Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, who joins us from Glasgow. In 2006,

:50:22.:50:29.

you said, we will not want nuclear. The alternatives are cleaner and

:50:29.:50:31.

safer for the environment and the The alternatives are cleaner and

:50:31.:50:39.

tax payer. Quite a U-turn? I did change my mind because of the

:50:39.:50:44.

threat of climate change. That is a huge threat to our planet crack our

:50:44.:50:48.

species and we have to do everything possible. -- our planet,

:50:48.:50:55.

our species. The amount we have to do in terms of low-carbon transport

:50:55.:51:00.

and low-carbon heating is massive. I have changed, because I have now

:51:00.:51:05.

realised that the pupils and energy efficiency cannot do it alone. We

:51:05.:51:11.

need all forms of low-carbon on the table. In 2006 you a warning about

:51:11.:51:15.

climate change as well and the dangers of that. -- you were

:51:15.:51:21.

warning. You lodged a press release saying, say no to nuclear. You are

:51:21.:51:30.

right. -- launched. In 2006, what I was hoping in the strategy put

:51:30.:51:35.

forward was that carbon captured storage would come on much quicker.

:51:35.:51:41.

That would be a boost to energy efficiency. I still think that can

:51:41.:51:46.

come on. What I have rarely had to face is the risk of climate change

:51:46.:51:50.

is so big that I am not going to take a risk of tackling climate

:51:50.:51:56.

change. I'm now think we should not take any low-carbon option of the

:51:56.:52:04.

table. A broad mix is the best way to ensure we can tackle climate

:52:04.:52:08.

change. The conference voted that way and it enhances Liberal

:52:08.:52:13.

Democrat credibility on the environment and tackling climate

:52:13.:52:18.

change. As recently as 2010, when people like you a warning that the

:52:18.:52:23.

huge risk of climate change, the Liberal Democrat manifesto, despite

:52:23.:52:28.

talking about these huge risks set, based on the evidence Skype nuclear

:52:28.:52:30.

is a far more expensive way based on the evidence Skype nuclear

:52:30.:52:37.

reducing carbon emissions than promoting renewable energy. I will

:52:37.:52:42.

tell you for a third time and if you want me to say a 4th time and a

:52:42.:52:48.

5th time, I have changed my mind. On the cost issue, that is

:52:48.:52:53.

something that still worries me. The history of nuclear power has

:52:53.:52:57.

been very expensive. Two-thirds of my budget is spent on

:52:57.:53:01.

decommissioning costs, cleaning up the waste from nuclear power in the

:53:01.:53:06.

past. I am cautious to make sure the price we strike with nuclear

:53:06.:53:11.

companies is something that actually is cost competitive was a

:53:11.:53:13.

bit make sure the consumer and actually is cost competitive was a

:53:13.:53:19.

British business is not paying over the odds. -- it is cost competitive.

:53:19.:53:26.

As you have moved towards nuclear power, you have said you would

:53:26.:53:30.

support it providing there was no subsidy for it was you know, as

:53:30.:53:36.

well as I do, there will be no nuclear power stations - the EDF is

:53:36.:53:42.

negotiating now - unless you agree to a price guarantee. A price

:53:42.:53:47.

guarantee way above the market price. That is a subsidy. I have

:53:47.:53:53.

not seen you at any of our negotiations. You seem to be well

:53:53.:54:01.

informed of what is private and confidential. Let me tell you the

:54:01.:54:09.

facts. We are clear that low-carbon electricity has to be compared

:54:09.:54:15.

price Warren with dirty coal or gas. You are wrong to take the market

:54:15.:54:25.

price. The market price is price of dirty power which is causing a

:54:25.:54:30.

climate change problem. You have actually got to compare apples with

:54:30.:54:36.

apples and pears with pears. If you do not commit you come up with

:54:37.:54:40.

spurious arguments against it. With the correct analysis, you will have

:54:40.:54:46.

to wait for our decision to complete the negotiations, you will

:54:46.:54:50.

find that nuclear can be cost competitive. I will not signed a

:54:50.:54:56.

deal where it is not. What do you make of Nick Clegg

:54:56.:55:07.

saying he will not support a party on economic policy and then turning

:55:07.:55:12.

up to do so? I saw Vince Cable vote for the economic policy. I have

:55:12.:55:17.

heard him in private. I have heard him in private as appears very

:55:17.:55:20.

supportive. The Liberal Democrats are playing a critical role in

:55:20.:55:24.

getting economic recovery. I am proud of what he's doing. He has

:55:24.:55:28.

worked with me on industrial strategy issues. He has been a real

:55:28.:55:33.

tower of strength in injury get economic recovery. There have been

:55:33.:55:38.

huge measures to make sure we get the growth. The Green Investment

:55:38.:55:40.

huge measures to make sure we get Bank will make sure we attract

:55:40.:55:45.

people into green energy. That would not be happening unless

:55:45.:55:49.

people like Vince Cable when not in the coalition. Today, listening to

:55:49.:55:55.

his speech, he is taking credit for the role Liberal Democrats have

:55:55.:55:58.

played in creating over 1 million new jobs since the demolition came

:55:58.:56:03.

to power. We have a good story on the economy. We have turned round a

:56:03.:56:08.

complete mess. The department has taken some tough decisions. It is

:56:08.:56:13.

now beginning to deliver - deliver jobs was to clutters what the the

:56:13.:56:17.

Democrats are about us to bring jobs and a fairer society. --

:56:17.:56:24.

delivered jobs. That is what the Liberal Democrats are about. He has

:56:24.:56:33.

said he has to -- reluctantly decided to vote for it because it

:56:33.:56:37.

has become an issue about the leadership of Nick Clegg. You have

:56:37.:56:48.

been mapped by a poster! It is wind power. And therefore quite

:56:48.:56:53.

dangerous. Clearly for humans as well as birds. Why did Vince Cable

:56:53.:57:01.

only reluctantly changed his mind because it has become an issue of

:57:01.:57:10.

leadership? He has been a tower of strength in this coalition economic

:57:10.:57:18.

policy. He has been really supportive. The largest investment

:57:19.:57:23.

in our railways since the Victorians come up with with not be

:57:23.:57:25.

seeing green things like that had it not been for the Liberal

:57:26.:57:30.

Democrats and Vince Cable. -- since the Victorians, we would not be

:57:30.:57:35.

seeing. What has been said to people like me this morning, its

:57:35.:57:39.

social party is looking at how the richest 10% of people - those

:57:39.:57:44.

earning over 50,000 a year - could give further contribution in tax?

:57:44.:57:50.

Should people earning over 50,000 be paying more tax? I want to make

:57:50.:57:56.

sure we have a much fairer tax system. What Liberal Democrats had

:57:56.:57:59.

done in government is to deliver that. We have closed a lot of

:57:59.:58:05.

loopholes. What is the answer to my question? I am coming to that. We

:58:05.:58:10.

had closed loopholes. I will answer the question in my own way. We have

:58:10.:58:15.

close the loopholes to make sure the richest pay their fair share

:58:15.:58:19.

and taken out of the tax people are lowest incomes and delivered a tax

:58:19.:58:22.

and taken out of the tax people are cut for people on low and modest

:58:22.:58:27.

incomes. In terms of future tax policy, we are having a debate to

:58:27.:58:31.

mind. Do come and join us was dug you had ended just in time before

:58:31.:58:38.

we go off air. -- and join us. The answer to the quiz was that Nick

:58:38.:58:43.

Clegg would not play beach volleyball. Who can blame him for

:58:43.:58:53.

that. That is it for today. Thanks to John Kampfner and all my guests.

:58:53.:58:55.

that. That is it for today. Thanks James Landale presents highlights

:58:55.:58:58.

from Glasgow in Today at Conference tonight on BBC2 at 11:20pm, and

:58:58.:59:01.

we'll be back for more live coverage

:59:01.:59:01.

Andrew Neil presents coverage of the Liberal Democrat conference in Glasgow and talks to Home Office minister Jeremy Browne and climate change secretary Ed Davey. Includes the speech by business secretary Vince Cable.


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