Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Liberal Democrat Conference 2011

With the end of the Liberal Democrat conference fast approaching and before we all pack our bags and head to Liverpool we should reflect on what we have learned about the Coalition junior partners this week. 

This conference has by in large been a disciplined and convivial affair, with no significant upsets on the floor of the conference hall. 
Nick Clegg told delegates to hold their heads high, be proud of what they have achieved in government and don’t look back. Looking back would only remind the Lib Dems that their share of the vote has halved and not so long ago students were burning effigies of their dear leader. The clear message was: hold your nerve things will get better.

Compared with last year, when the conference language was all about unity and stable government in the national interest, this year there has been a war of words against their Tory partners which has dominated speeches all week. With Chris Huhne branding Tory right wingers as Britain’s "Tea Party tendency". Party President Tim Farron said the Coalition must end in “divorce”. And of course Vince Cable had to get involved, by claiming Tories were "descendants of those who sent children up chimneys".

On the policy announcement front, there have been announcements on the clamping down of executive pay, a new tax inspector team to target the rich and firm commitment to the 50p tax remaining in absence of another tax on the wealthy.

In keeping with the theme of the conference there will be no great surprises in Clegg’s closing speech, he will reiterate the Coalition’s commitment to reducing the deficit whilst claiming the Government is doing everything in its power to kick-start sluggish growth.

Overall, a rather dull conference with no particular highlights. The Tories couldn’t have scripted it better themselves.

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