Journalistic consensus is that Vince said “exotic spresm” instead of “erotic spasm”

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“Check against delivery” is printed at the top of every pre-released speech. Vince’s speech today was advanced emailed with the phrase “erotic spasm” included – referring to the dreams of extreme Brexiters.

Vince didn’t say that, in the event. I heard him say “exotic sprism” instead. The journalistic consensus seems to be that he said “exotic spresm” – as the screenshot from Channel 4 news above shows. See also tweets below.

My own view is that “erotic spasm” is not Vince’s type of language. He couldn’t bring himself to say it, so fluffed the line – whether consciously or unconsciously. In fact, the trailed phrase had already generated huge publicity, so maybe he didn’t actually have to say the phrase.

Otherwise, Vince gave an excellent speech which is being widely covered in the media, particularly for his challenge to Jeremy Corbyn and his direct invitation, to people at home, to join us.

And the final word goes to Gary Lineker:

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • “He couldn’t bring himself to say it, so fluffed the line – whether consciously or unconsciously.”
    Indeed, it reminded me of Kryten in Red Dwarf trying to say ‘smeg head’. The fact he got both words wrong is utterly hilarious.

    (Or was it masterful last minute speech editing? Avoid the controversy of actually saying the phrase and generate even more light-hearted publicity.)

  • 30 seconds of the main news bulletins for the Lib Dems, Spersm. Sad.

  • Hate to say it but Vince looked like a tired old man. His oratory was just boring, same old, same old. No fire in the belly, up and at ém. Shame really, he has become symbolic of the LibDems. I wish it were not so, because both Tory and Labour hold out no positive view of Britain’s future.

  • Innocent Bystander 18th Sep '18 - 10:22pm

    I think Sir Vince’s speech was a clear case of covfefe.

  • Regrettable he didn’t mention Kirsty Williams who’s the Education Minister/Secetary in Wales today.

  • Gwyn Williams 19th Sep '18 - 7:53am

    “Exotic spresm” is a spoonerism. It’s nearly as good a spoonerism as the original toast to the “Queer dean”.

  • Sue Sutherland 19th Sep '18 - 11:57am

    I think Vince should run with the joke against him. Next major speech announce he’s not going to talk about an erotic spasm or even an exotic spresm but …….

  • It is not this stumble on its own but the way the unfortunate analogy (itself apologetically delivered) sums up his leadership! After 32 years in the party it was one of many last straws for me. After that performance I hope all the friends I leave behind in the party will secure for themselves a Swinson or Moran leadership ASAP.

  • Ruth – Thank you for designing the ideal ballot paper. You deserve a vote in it. Many of our best people have contemplated leaving at some point including various traumas from Liberal/SDP seat negations to coalition with occasional local skulduggery. Perhaps some of us just do not do last straws. Or is it that we look at the history (or non-history) of those who have gone off to promote Liberalism through some other vehicle. The Labour Party (for example) seems to do a very efficient job in neutering most of them.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Sep '18 - 1:44pm

    Ruth , David, Paul

    Can you see that it is not moderate or radical at war, the problem. It is that different members as individuals can get along but are unable to for reasons avoidable.

    I cannot support the abortion policy. I do not favour decriminalisation of very important issues, if that is not one, don’t understand why any are. Worse, the policy calls for the uk to offer free abortions to visitors who then come here for it, wrong in practice, worse still in principle. I favour the law as it is, reduced to twenty weeks as viable life changes through medical progress. What on earth makes you think it moderate to change the law, we have the highest number of weeks and of abortions, with Canada and America, Ireland backed, twelve weeks, as with France.

    If Ruth leaves the party and David dislikes the supposed moderation, where is someone who is a moderate in the centre such as me to go in politics?

    Bright Blue and the Tory Reform Group, Major and Heseltine, are not fully in charge of the Tories, and Momentum and the SWP and Alliance for Workers Liberty apall me?!

  • Ruth Bright 19th Sep '18 - 3:56pm

    Thanks David, Geoff, Lorenzo for your thoughts. Had a very interesting correspondence with a long lost relative and could not really justify my party membership to her. Just tired of the post coalition group-think and the lethargy of the party’s internal bureaucracy (15 years to get even something uncontroversial like baby leave for candidates through). Just going to have to embrace political homelessness!

  • Ruth Bright 19th Sep '18 - 4:16pm

    Paul you make some very reasonable points there. So many things in all parties are done by busy volunteers doing their best. The trouble is that there are complaints from former years which are left to fester and those responsible can remain in prominent roles as if nothing happened with minnows in the organisation (as was the case in Hollywood) unable to speak out.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Sep '18 - 5:39pm


    Your description as ever is heartfelt and reason for going from the party,both personal and practical . I am toying with it for reasons personal and political. You have experienced real and actually abysmal, slowness and silliness on the part of some. I have not had that as my reason. Policy and direction mean you should stay, the wind is blowing in a way not my cuppa tea! Sir Vince says moderate, I say, yes! The reaction, No! I am in the centre , a moderate on most things accept think it is me the real and true radical, as my style of both the personal and political is out of place at the moment, I do not do extremes, cannot hear a discussion about immigration referred to as pandering to racism, or one in which a woman or trans campaigner each calls the other a purveyor of hate, or where Jewish Brits are feeling like foreigners, or victims of crime, terrible crimes see their abuser , maiming them out in a few years, and I am made to feel right wing, on the left, because I cannot stand it and miss early Blair, and some!

  • OnceALibDem 19th Sep '18 - 7:12pm

    “Adopting the new disciplinary process was a major one and Sal Brinton should be strongly applauded for that, as it stands as a great achievement of her presidency. She came in as President, saw that there was a gaping hole where our complaints/disciplinary process ought to be, and fixed it.”

    Yeah right. She was elected FOUR years ago on a pledge to sort this out. One of which was “I will check that the Morissey Report and other legal constitutional changes approved by FE and Federal Conference have been fully implemented.” That was to happen by July 2015. She had the position to sort this. The failures to act more rapidly lie at her door.

    The failings over disciplinary process are only part of the reason I’m not a member, supporter or voter of the LIb Dems. Like Ruth I’m effectively politically homeless and it isn’t a great place to be. But I see nothing in the LIb Dems to enthuse me and the party has certainly changed since 2015 (see eg the immigration motion passed with the opposition of many former friends and colleagues.)

    Vince is undoubtedly a decent man. But so was Ming. Being a decent man doesn’t make a good leader

  • Ruth Bright 19th Sep '18 - 8:21pm

    I suppose being in a political party is a bit like being in a relationship. You need a “spark” or you need to feel comfortable. If you have both you are very lucky indeed. If you have neither it is time to go!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 19th Sep '18 - 11:57pm

    David Raw

    You show exactly why the policy was in my opinion, the wrong thing. We often disagree on a few basic mundane aspects of Liberal policy, but when it comes to the essence, you could be my father! The nuance on moderate would be expanded better if you can, as then I can relate to the way you mean it. I believe Liberal Democrat is radical moderate, in extremes , we all are moderates in our dislike of the farther fringe or grotesque ideas.

    On abortion, we are probably on the same moral and political side. I am a supporter of an update of Steel, from a perspective of Alton. When Alton left the party, Steel, was very saddened, he thought the party wrong to have a policy, he made it clear he and fellow David had been colleagues on either side of that subject, voting with different views , with their conscience. Same as now, the policy is a mistake, those who want it are in my view welcome to lobby Jo S or Layla M or W Hobbhouse , or any , to bring in a bill, then mps of my view can vote against it.

    However, you sin a very compassionate piece, touch on where you and me agree. I favour legal abortion, under the 67 act, and for N Ireland, though as with the Republic, less weeks . Average in EU twelve, here, twenty four. I want a cut to eighteen and no public funds for abortion for visitors, only those here. It’s this bit I really cannot fathom, we could be encouraging health tourism of the worst sort who exploit our system. I note as a result of online debate where some women in the party on facebook not only agreed but disagreed, one even as an opponent of my view, thanked me for my respectful tone and understood the concerns. This is why I am a radical moderate, to me liberal and even Liberal, means, flexible or , in your parlance, nout!

  • Lorenzo Cherin 20th Sep '18 - 12:00am


    Dd not mean to say, “you sin,” but “you say!”

    Freudian slip!!!

  • @Ruth – “I suppose being in a political party is a bit like being in a relationship.”

    Very much so. I kind of look back at past party membership as a happy time which I really know I can’t go back to, with a tinge of sadness. But really know we have both changed and it wouldn’t work any more.

  • Denis Mollison 20th Sep '18 - 8:06am

    For me, the problem is describing our party as centrist, which boxes us in as some kind of unworkable compromise – a mythical beast like the griffon or centaur, halfway between Labour and Conservative.

    We used to be much clearer that we are different: we take an independent line based on simple universal principles of freedom, fairness and justice.

    We lost our way when Charles Kennedy was forced out, and we need to get it back.

  • We get age wrong. Ming Campbell was one of the sharpest, brightest people around when he was Foreign spokesman under Charles Kennedy, despite his age. But by the time we let him lead the party, his time had passed. Vince Cable was brilliant when he became our Acting Leader, when (if I recall correctly) he was 66 and everybody said that that was too old for a permanent leadership position. Well, we finally let him lead at age 74, and once again, we’ve got a leader whose best years are now behind him.

  • Ruth Bright 20th Sep '18 - 5:04pm

    Thanks David Raw – hope you write a book entitled: “A Liberal perspective on Social Services”. I would certainly buy it x

  • Galen Milne 21st Sep '18 - 8:48pm

    Vince, at the moment, is the best person for the job. In a period of absolute uncertainty to our countries future he is well placed to argue the case for Remain. Old man or not, people acriss the UK do take him seriously, even as a politician.

  • “OnceaLibDem
    So who do you suggest should have been leader and President instead?”

    Fair question. Teh problem with democracy is you that you can support someone who turns out not to be what you thought.

    I didn’t vote for Ming (well he got my 2nd preference) but I thought he had many fine qualities – deeply commited Liberal, well respected across the political firmament. But he was very poor as a leader and let several issues pass by. I remember in one party funding row issue complete silence from the leader and one prominent elected figure taking to a private LD forum exclaimine ‘where the hell is Ming?’ And I also remember all being deployed to the Ealing by-election to prevent a third place finish which would have possibly finished his leadership.

    Sal’s commitments made me more comfortable about rejoing to help in 2015. Either she didn’t want or was stopped from following through on those. Either way she has been a let down.

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