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Coffee House

Clegg speech live blog

20 September 2010

3:46 PM

20 September 2010

3:46 PM

1653, PH: And that, aside from Clegg’s stroll around the crowd, is that. There’ll be further analysis on Coffee House shortly. The applause continues…

1652, PH: Clegg ends with a flourish: "Stick with us, and we will change Britain for good." The crowd is on its feet.

1651, PH: Is Clegg moulding his party as the party of coalition? He says that the next few years may make the case of "liberal, pluralist politics".

1650, PH: Clegg says that if AV triumphs in the referendum next year, then "the clapped-out system of first-past-the-post will be gone for good."

1648, PH: A return to the theme of the beginning of the speech. "Imagine," Clegg implores, "how it will feel [to have implemented policy x, y or z]"

1647, PH: Clegg’s trying to defuse the worries about the coalition’s schools reform. He explains: "This isn’t Labour’s academies programme." And adds: "the whole
concept of our reforms falls apart if there is selection." The force with which he says "No to more selection," will disconcert a few Tories.

1644, PH: More emphasis on debt interest from Clegg. "Everyday, we could spend £120 million on servicing our debt – but that’s £120 million less for our
children." Interesting how he’s turning the "cuts vs investment" argument on its head.

1643, PH:
Clegg says that Labour had the best opportunity for "real fairness in my lifetime" – but they "sqaundered a golden age."

1642, PH:
And now he sums up the recent spate of New Labour memoirs: "Never in the field of political memoirs has so much been written, by so few, about so little."

1641, PH: Clegg’s getting really angry about Labour. He burns through a list of their failures (including the Iraw War, natch), and ends: "The country could not have borne
five more years of Labour."

1639, PH: Clegg’s announcement of new borrowing powers for local goverment goes down well with the crowd.

1638, PH:
A noteworthy point. Clegg says that he isn’t in favour of small government – but in favour of government that liberalises people. The question, I suppose, is where the overlap
lies.

1637, PH: Clegg quotes that Liam Byrne letter, when explaining why the coalition needs to cut: "There isn’t any money left."


1635, PH: Applause for some banker bashing: "We’ve done more in five months than Labour ever did to control the greed of the banks."  And then: "We will be
tough on welfare cheats … but we will be tough on tax cheats too."

1633, PH: He’s rounding out his arguments: "We are taking the difficult decisions today, to keep public services affordable in future."

1632, PH: More Lib Dem friendly overtones: "We are determined to wean the economy off of Labour’s obsession with the financial services."

1631, PH: Clegg says that "our debt problems will be sorted" by the next Parliament. National debts pushing £1.5 trillion say different.

1629, PH: Clegg’s making a persuasive, and Lib Dem friendly case, for deficit reduction now. He says that debt interest should be paid off – so the money can be spent on public
services.

1629, PH: Clegg’s coming around to the John Redwood "what cuts?" argument. He stresses that "even after the cuts," the state will still be spending "41
percent of GDP".

1628, PH: Important line from Clegg, and a dividing philosophy with Labour: "The poorest suffer most when we allow debts to mount up."

1626, PH: Clegg seems to slightly divert from the "didn’t fix the roof" analysis of the public finances. Asking the question, "How did the debt crisis happen?"
he responds: "During the financial crisis, 6 percent of the economy disappeared."

1625, PH:
Clegg says that "balancing the Budget" is the government’s "first job".

1624, PH: Weighty words from Clegg: "Two parties working together can be braver, bolder and more effective than one party working alone."

1623, PH: Warm words for Cameron, who showed he could "think beyond his party."

1623, PH: A heavily trailed passage now, as Clegg explains why the Lib Dems had to go into coalition: "If we had turned away, how could voters ever take us seriously."

1622, FN: “We haven’t changed our liberal values” – note how he loves the word “liberal”. Fuels my suspicion that he’s trying to ditch SDP and
return to old Liberal party.

1621, PH: The pupil premium seems to be getting a good deal of emphasis – perhaps to ease the party faithful’s worries about coalition education policy.

1620, PH:
Clegg’s still trawling the same theme. He continues, "We promised … we will deliver."

1619, PH: Ooh, fiesty stuff from Clegg – he says that he "still believes that the war in Iraq was illegal."

1618, PH: Clegg: "We’ve always been the party of change, now we are agents of change."

1617, PH: Clegg’s main message is clear from the off. He stresses how far the Lib Dems have come to achieve power – and now he’s rattling through the policies that they have
brought into government. The abolition of ID cards gets hearty applause.

1615, PH: Here’s Clegg now. He gets a warm, if abrupt, standing ovation. Strangely enough, Paddy Ashdown looks on like a proud parent.

1613, PH:
The subliminal message of this video is clear as it dwells on clips of Clegg in PMQs: "We’re in power, dontcha know?"

1612, PH: Woah, the lights go out – and Clegg’s got his very own introductory video. Seems to be lots of shots of him from the election campaign.

1609, JGF:
It is as if the Lib Dem conference is ending after Clegg’s speech, we have had the party awards and are now being subjected to the treasurer’s pitch for donations.

1606, PH:
You can watch it live here, by the way.

1603, PH:
We’re still stuck with the preamble before Clegg’s speech. He’s expected to speak around 1615. Looks as though everyone, including the Lib Dem frontbench, has taken their seats
already, though.

Stay tuned for live coverage from 1600.


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