Ming’s speech: what did you think?

Ming Campbell has just finished his second speech to the Liberal Democrat conference as party leader.

My impressions… Ming seemed far more assured than last year. He opened strongly – no attempt to start with a scripted joke – and gave a defiant definition of his liberalism, and how the Lib Dems will translate that into action under his leadership. This year, too, he seemed confident enough to tear his eyes away from the autocue.

What pleasantly surprised me in particular was his emphasis on liberal values: “the price of freedom is the risk of offence”; “A truly liberal society guarantees the freedom of all religions, but it accepts the tyranny of none”; “Government must stand for the interests of all, but the vested interests of none.”

All in all, it felt to me like a relaxed (surprisingly so, given the media barrage of criticism he’s faced) and confident performance. The conference speech clearly isn’t a task Ming relishes, but he certainly didn’t shrink from it, either. It’s a thumbs-up from me.

You can read the full text of Ming’s speech on the party website here (part 1), here (part 2) and here (part 3).

UPDATE: Reviews of his speech are already up on several blogs, including Linda Jack, Liberal LegendLiberal Revolution, David Nikel, Jonathan Wallace and Paul Walter.

UPDATE 2: The party’s new film is a compilation of reactions to the speech from conference representatives.

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • you’re spot on Stephen. He was relaxed, gave a policy heavy speech with some humour (but didnt attempt to be someone he wasnt).

    Clear indication that Lib Dems are ready for an election. Can’t see “Dave” doing that.

  • I was watching it online from my desk at work rather than in the hall (working in public affairs has its advantages).

    An excellent speech, with superbly written passages. Like you say, Stephen, good solid no-excuses defence of liberalism.

    Wraps up a decent week for the party, methinks.

  • Cheltenham Robin 20th Sep '07 - 7:08pm

    It was definately a great speech, and I have been a recent critic.

    I thought the soap-opera tale was brilliant.

  • Yes, Cheltenham Robin, there were some lovely little sections like the soap opera thing.

    My colleague, a staunch Labour party member, even acknowledged that he liked that and he’s usually as “on message” as some of the Labourites commenting on here.

    I don’t know who the speech-writer was, but (s)he deserves a slap on the back.

  • It was fantastic

  • You can catch Ming’s speech in the “highlights” of Lib Dem Conference on the BBC Parliament channel (freeview digital) for the next day or so.

  • Geoffrey Payne 21st Sep '07 - 9:30am

    For me the content of the speech is the most important consideration, and I was delighted with what he said. He had a good critique of both Labour and the Tories, plus a bold vision of what we stand for in contrast. Prior to his speech we were informed that his speech would contain some surprises, and I was worried he was going to suggest privatising something. Instead he suggested putting the environment in a Bill of Rights, which prima facie sounded like an excellent idea.
    Add to that the fact that his delivery was exceptionally good compared to previous speeches, then I can report that I feel much happier after conference than I was before.
    Incidently I was delighted about his reference to Hackney where I am currently based, we must get in touch with the Hackney Gazette…

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