Video also available on YouTube here.
Nick Clegg has released his New Year message to Lib Dem members, a simple and positive riff on the party’s four key manifesto commitments from the 2010 General Election.
In fact, for a New Year’s message, it’s very much about continuity; there are no fireworks or surprises, as I found when I played a little game earlier with a couple of colleagues – “Guess what’s in Nick’s New Year message?”
And we guessed correctly, almost to the word: a reiteration of the party’s “big four” commitments, with examples of where we’ve delivered (more examples here); a quick mention of coalition politics, without dwelling overly on “incredibly difficult decisions”; a look towards three themes for 2011: political reform, social mobility and economic recovery – each with a helpful, yet sparing definition in plain language. (AV, after all, is best presented as a fairer system which makes MPs work harder for your vote, rather than a mathematical conundrum.)
Nick rounds off with a rallying cry, to prove the naysayers wrong, and “continue to build the Liberal fairer, greener Britain that we all believe in.”
Here’s Nick’s message in full:
Well what a year! A white-knuckle election; a new coalition government; Liberals in power for the first time in 70 years.
Just eight months ago we were campaigning on our four big manifesto priorities – fairer taxes; extra money for disadvantaged children in schools; a green, rebalanced economy; a new, open politics.
And now we are delivering on every single one, and more.
From taking over 800,000 people on low pay out of paying income tax altogether, to restoring the earnings link for pensioners, from delivering the pupil premium in full by the end of this parliament to scrapping ID cards, from stopping the new runway at Heathrow to clamping down on industrial scale tax avoidance, and ending child detention, Liberal Democrats are making the difference for the people of Britain.
I don’t want to pretend it has all been easy. These are testing times for the country and for our Party too. Action to tackle the deficit, and the need to reform higher education, have forced us to take some incredibly difficult decisions.
But that is Government. And when we promised people that we were ready to govern, that is the commitment we made.
I genuinely believe that the choices we are making will stand the test of time.
By dealing with the deficit, we’ll make sure future generations are not saddled with the burden of our debt.
By changing the way universities are funded we are keeping them world class while at the same time giving disadvantaged young people more opportunity to go into university, not less.
And by showing people that coalition can work, we can prove that plural, liberal politics is best for Britain.
In the New Year I’ll be concentrating on three big changes: radical reform of our political system and restoring our hard-won civil liberties; boosting social mobility so that no child is held back by the circumstances of his or her birth; and making sure the economic recovery is green and balanced, with opportunities spread across the whole country.
And I, like you, will be out campaigning for a fairer voting system to make MPs work harder for your vote.
All of us are going to hear some people predict the worst for our Party. The same people who have been underestimating the Liberal Democrats for as long as we have existed.
But we prove them wrong at every single turn. The next twelve months will be no different, because we will continue to build the Liberal, fairer, greener Britain that we all believe in.
Happy New Year!