Conference: Day 2

The agenda

Reports from the Campaign for Gender Balance and the Diversity and Equality Group this morning, then a Scotland/Wales double-act in the form of the policy mortion on the  Future of Devolution (short version: more of it please!). There’s a presenttation from Kingston’s Lib Dem group (go Mary!), speeches from Norman Lamb and Ed Davey and a policy motion on the paper “Thriving in a Globalised World – A Strategy for Britain”.

And that’s just before lunch. Afterwards Tavish Scott returns to the podium for his speech, His Leaderness does his Q&A, this year in the same style as his town hall meetings, there’s a motion on Standing Up for Civil Liberties which I’m rather pleased to see because I think we’re at risk of falling out of announcement mode on this issue, and an interesting-looking discussion about the Privacy Commission. Lastly, a rather terrifying looking motion: “Tidal Solution – The Way Forward.” But fear not, this is not a disaster movie, but Steve “The Professor” Webb and a new approach to renewables in the Bristol Channel/Severn Estuary.

Twittery stuff

And all the talk in the conference bars yesterday was… of blue, beards and bluebeard.

The visuals in the main conference hall caused quite a bit of comment…


Attribution: I think this was from Martin Tod’s Twidroid account, but I’ve muddled up my tabs and am not sure. If not, and you would like to sue us for using it, get in touch and we can all have a good laugh

…but it seems no-one can agree what colour that actually is.

@BevaniteEllie #ldconf is flooded in blue. Have they formed a coalition with the conmen and not told us?

@miss_s_b Very passionate speaking from @joswinson at #ldconf shame about the horrible turquoise of the stage set

@MShapland is not sure about the new cyan backdrop on the #ldconf podium, watching the real women debate

Is this something we need to have an emergency debate on?

Others were airing more traditional concerns:

@kmflett #ldconf Beard Liberaton Front poses key issue for LibDem conferendce: where have all the beards gone?

But Duncan Hames has a different observation. Could this be the new liberalism?

@duncanhames It does seems that beards are back this year – certainly among the young men in suits. #ldconf

Controversial stuff. Coincidentally, another Duncan was getting into the spirit of International Talk Like a Pirate Day from the conference  hall:

@DuncanStott Ya scurvy-ridden interveners, jumpin ship over the 1 minute rule. Walk the plank! #ldconf

And when it was all over bar the shouting, the company repaired to the conference bar, from whence Sam Coates of the Times reported:

@theredbox Earwigging a shouty argument about healtchare. The lib dems have more heated debates after drinking than any other party.

The media

I have it on good twittery authority that Nick Clegg has just been on the Andrew Marr Show, which doubtless will be i-playable soon. Later on today, Colin Eldridge of Liverpool Wavetree fame will be on the Politics Show, and we will try to keep you up to date with other meedja appearances dahling, from the Voice team as well as people who actually matter politicians.

So today, we are spurning an olive branch from DC:

Responding to the article, Clegg’s chief of staff, Danny Alexander, said: “David Cameron’s claims would be funny if they weren’t such a shameful attempt to mislead the British people.

“They want tax breaks for millionaires: we want the rich to pay more so we can cut taxes for Britain’s least well off.

“On the environment, we are resolutely opposed to nuclear energy, which is dirty, expensive and will not help against climate change. The Tories back nuclear, and for good measure are siding with climate change deniers in the European parliament.”

However, in his Observer article the Tory leader argues that both parties support a form of “pupil premium” giving more money to disadvantaged pupils; are opposed to ID cards and a third runway at Heathrow; and fought in parliament against 42-day detention without trial for terrorist suspects.

And Clegg is addressing the cost of HoC canteen salads politics:

His plans include closing 10 government departments and 90 quangos, axing spin doctors and no longer paying Opposition leader’s wages out of the public purse.

Speaking on the second day of his party’s conference, Mr Clegg said: “Central government in Whitehall is too big, too powerful and too expensive.”

The £2bn savings would be enough to renovate 200 schools a year, he said.

And the Indy leader, like a pilot telling an aeroplane full of blazé frequent flyers about the safety procedures, nobly urges the public “please do listen to  the Lib Dems, ladies and gentlemen, because they are there for your benefit”:

Above all, The Independent on Sunday believes that the Liberal Democrats are the most environmentally friendly of the three main parties. Indeed, this weekend the party is making a bold pitch that it is the real Green party. Mr Clegg launches a direct appeal on page 37 to anyone who is thinking about voting for the Greens to “lend your vote to the Liberal Democrats in 2010, to stop climate change”. It is a powerful argument: that the time has come for those that care about environmental sustainability to do more than use their vote to “send a message”; that, at this election, the Liberal Democrats are the greenest party with a realistic prospect of gaining a share of power.

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