Wednesday debates open thread: Nick Clegg’s speech

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Traditionally not many people turn up first thing on the last day – most are sleeping off Glee Club – but it would be a shame to miss the second emergency motion. After that the day builds up to the Leader’s speech,  with, unusually, no break for lunch and no lunchtime fringes. (I wonder how many of us will be finding ways of wasting our time in Glasgow because we had assumed it wouldn’t be over until 3.30pm at the earliest?)

So for the last time this year, do add your comments about any debates and speeches in the auditorium.

Today’s timetable

09.00–09.45 Party Business
F36 Report: Diversity Engagement Group
F37 Report: Campaign for Gender Balance
F38 Report: Federal Executive
F39 Report: Federal Finance and Administration Committee
F40 Membership Subscription and Federal Levy

F41 Emergency motions and/or topical issue discussion

F42 Policy motion: Rebanking the UK

F43 Q&A session: Environment

F44 Policy motion: Protecting Private Tenants

F45 Party Awards

F46 Speech: Rt Hon Nick Clegg MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and the Deputy Prime Minister

How to follow what is going on

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You can watch the debates live on BBC Parliament – today’s schedules.

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • Anthony Vaughan 8th Oct '14 - 9:05am

    As a professional working with parents who have mental health problems, i am looking forward to going into the detail of Nick Cleggs speech later. Lets hope it’s not an empty promise speeche

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 8th Oct '14 - 9:22am

    From what I have observed of the Conference the Lib Dem strategy of triangulation is doomed to fail. Characterising the Tories as having moved to the right and Labour as having moved to the left and laying claim to the centre ground will only work if the public haven’t moved further to the right and left. I suspect that for most voters the middle ground is synonymous with the tired and discredited consensus that continues to create the political atrophy and economic inequalities that are forcing people to the right and the left.

  • I too am going to be listening intently on what Nick Clegg say’s with regards to policy announcements on Mental Health.

    It is an issue I have vested interest in and an issue that I care very deeply about.

    This could be a vote changer for me and swing me back to the Liberal democrats if I hear the right things

  • Maria Pretzler 8th Oct '14 - 9:35am

    The ‘Protecting Private Tenants’ motion is one of my main reasons for being sad that I can’t be in Glasgow this year. I would have liked to be involved in that debate. It’s an important topic which hardly ever gets attention in house-ownership-obsessed Britain. Nice to see it scheduled just before the leader’s speech. I hope that will get it some attention.

  • Excellent contribution to debate just now by the great John Smithson speaking against illiberal, elitist undemocratic arrangements which are being suggested as if they Wre “devolution”.

    John is right to point out the undemocratic, unaccountable nature of a few people meeting in secret.
    Well done John Smithson.

  • Mack (Not a Lib Dem) 8th Oct ’14 – 9:22am
    You may find yourself agreeing with Iain Martin in The Daily Telegraph —

    He says — “The idea seems to be that attacking their colleagues will suggest to voters that the nice, centrist Lib Dems hold back the beastly Tories. Simultaneously, the Lib Dems are rushing leftwards, demanding higher taxes, all the while briefing, so it is reported, that a deal with Labour is very unlikely because, well, they’re no good either. And with a final flourish it is whispered that the Lib Dems will probably prop up the Tories again after all if it comes to it, the startling presumption being that the Tories will want another partnership with people who brand them liars and loons.

    For the Lib Dems, a party with a major trust problem after the tuition fees imbroglio, this is not a good approach. ….   ….   …

    The best approach, surely, should have been relentless calmness ….    …. acknowledging – clearly, in the main speeches, not just in background briefings – that there are many people of good will in the other parties that they can work with if that’s the way the voters deal the cards.”

  • John Roffey 8th Oct '14 - 10:20am

    @ John Tilley

    Yes – the Westminster bubble is bad enough but the coalition negotiating group has placed all new legislation in the hands of a tiny group creating a dictatorship not challenged since the Civil War.

  • John Roffey
    You are right.
    Decisions in secret and by sleight of hand seem to be beco,ing the norm in 2014.

    For example — Ed Davey’s speech yesterday’s made no mention of new nuclear.   A speech delivered the day before the EU Commissioners are due announce an EU–u-turn on Hinkley.

    From The New Statesman

    This Wednesday EU Commissioners are due to vote on whether to give the green light to the financial deal that would see Hinkley C nuclear power plant being built in Somerset, and subsequently open the door for further nuclear expansion across Europe. The deal would see EDF, the company planning to build Hinkley C, offered a strike price for its electricity of £92.50 per MWh – roughly twice the current wholesale price of power – as well as a state credit guarantee of £10bn.

    In December 2013, the Commission raised doubts on almost all aspects of the project, stating that the “aid would in principle be incompatible under EU state aid rules.” At that stage it raised a number of serious concerns about the level of government money that was being provided and the nature of the contract. Given this clear legal ruling, Commissioners will need to ask themselves what has changed since then.

    The Commission itself valued the state aid for EDF from the UK government at £17.6bn: at what point is state aid no longer state aid? ….   …

    In the corridors of Brussels it is whispered that the German federal government has been involved in a back-room deal. ….    ….

  • Paul in Wokingham 8th Oct '14 - 10:47am

    The Guardian live blog is reporting Andy Burnham’s comment in response to the mental health care pledge. It’s not the substantive comment but the prologue that is worth repeating: “You cannot trust a word Nick Clegg says. He’s broken his promises and been too weak to stand up to the Tories.”

    I am pretty sure that this – or some slight variation on it – will be the opening gambit in all Labour responses to anything said by Mr. Clegg between now and next May.

  • John Roffey 8th Oct '14 - 10:54am

    @ John Tilley

    “In the corridors of Brussels it is whispered that the German federal government has been involved in a back-room deal.”

    Quite why it is not fully recognised that, since Blair, government by the two main parties – with the help of the Lib/Dems when required – is primarily a process of finding new and inventive ways of handing as much of the nations wealth over to the largest global corporations – wait until TTIP is agreed in a couple of years – that will create the laws that make this compulsory.

  • John Roffey 8th Oct '14 - 10:59am

    After that the day builds up to the Leader’s speech, with, unusually, no break for lunch and no lunchtime fringes. (I wonder how many of us will be finding ways of wasting our time in Glasgow because we had assumed it wouldn’t be over until 3.30pm at the earliest?)

    Will a fast car, with its engine running, be waiting outside the Conference centre for NC when finishes his speech?

  • Paul in Wokingham
    Trust is the key issue. Not just Labour but also the Greens, the SNP and UKIP will use this.
    The voters’ complete lack of trust in Clegg will take votes away from decent Liberal Democrat MPs and candidates all over the country.
    We need as a party to use what little resources we have to maximise the number of MPs elected in May to ensure the survival of the party.
    Mind you— we need to be very selective as to which seats those minimal resources are directed.
    There is no point re-electing an MP who is part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
    I love Taunton, lots of famous connections, but I could not recommend anyone give help in that constituency next May.

  • In the conference hall it is Environment Question Time — meanwhile in the  real world 
    one of those nuclear accidents that Ed Davey tells us never happen  in the UK.  
    Just off the coast of Scotland.
    Oil rig evacuated after ship carrying radioactive waste drifts

    The Parida was transporting a cargo of concreted radioactive waste when a fire broke out in one of its two funnels. ……

    Dounray Site Restoration Limited has confirmed the waste was from Dounreay, an experimental nuclear power plant near Thurso which is being decommissioned.

    The material, which was sent to Dounreay from Belgium for reprocessing in the 1990s, was being shipped back to Belgium.

    The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) said the Parida was carrying two containers called flasks each holding three 500-litre drums of intermediate level waste.

    The NDA said the ship and its cargo had been categorised at the lowest level of safety concern.

    It described Tuesday night’s event as a “marine incident and not a nuclear incident”.

  • To be fair to Ed Davey he has finally mentioned the “N” word.

    Just now in answer to a question. He listed five new nuclear power stations for the UK which are in his plan.

    But he did,not mention todays’s EU Commissioners decision on Hinkley C or the ship with nuclear waste currently drifting off the coast of Scotland.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Oct '14 - 1:10pm

    Mack (Not a Lib Dem)

    From what I have observed of the Conference the Lib Dem strategy of triangulation is doomed to fail. Characterising the Tories as having moved to the right and Labour as having moved to the left and laying claim to the centre ground will only work if the public haven’t moved further to the right and left.

    But the Conservatives HAVE moved to the right. Long-standing Conservative figures who were mainstream at the time of the last Conservative government now look like a left-wing fringe with little support from the party membership.

    Labour has not moved to the left, however. It’s hard to say what Labour has done. Mostly they seem to think they don’t need policies or ideas or anything, all they have to do is sit back and wait for the ex-LibDem votes to come to them. Actually proposing serious left-wing policies might lose them votes – see what happened with their very timid suggestions on a “mansion tax”. Shouted down from inside the party, never mind outside.

    Are you saying, Mack, that the general public have moved to the right? Is there big public pressure to scrap the NHS, or at least reduce it to a safety net, while most people pay for private health care? Are there big public calls for scrapping of employment protection, and other such things? No, I don’t think so. Those calling for such things are a tiny elite bunch of City fat cats and their hangers-on.

    The problem is that while hardly anyone really wants that sort of thing, no-one has the honesty and guts to tell the what a serious alternative would look like. So the people are flocking desperately to those who hold out a false prospect of a magic answer that will somehow give them the good things of the left (high quality public services) but not the bad things (high taxes). In Scotland that’s the SNP’s pulling out of the UK, in England it’s UKIP’s pulling put of the EU. Well, it’s easy for them to throw abuse at everyone else so long as they don’t actually have to put their big policies into practice, and hence demonstrate that they don’t work to solve the problems that people are experiencing in life.

    Under those circumstances, what do you think the LibDems should do? Propose the serious left-wing alternative that Labour is afraid to? That’s what I think, though I am a pragmatist, so I would not want to take it further than people are willing to go. I am calling for honesty and reality from politicians so that we can have the serious debate that is needed about how far people are really willing to go on this. That’s why I’m unhappy with the “super duper, it’s all wonderful” ad-man’s sales talk that is coming out from the top of our party. I don’t think it gets across the real serious dilemma that any government faces on so many issues. The alternative to what I want is the Jeremy Browne “authentic liberal” assumption that there’s a big batch of voters out there just waiting for a radical extreme right-wing in economics terms party to come forward. As I said, I don’t believe there is.

    If we aren’t willing to have higher taxes, things we have supposed the government will do will stop getting done. There’s no way round that. It was subsidy of universities first. It will HAVE to be the principle of health care free of direct charges sooner or later. It may be the principle that no-one starves to death sooner or later. Or the principle that children at least get a roof over their heads.

  • paul barker 8th Oct '14 - 2:45pm

    My daughter & me both thought it was a sober, thoughtful & inspiring speech. We come out of our Conference stronger & more united than the MSM think we are while our rivals are weakened by extremism & confusion.

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