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14:59 – Just waiting for BBC Parliament to begin coverage of Nick Clegg’s speech. Stream is here.
15:05 – Chop chop, BBC – enough of the Scottish Parliament for now!
15:08 – OK, here we go! Scottish Parliament coverage has ended.
15:10 – Nick’s starting off by ackowledging the difficulties the Lib Dems have faced – the loss of support. He’s going to explain why all the hardships will have been worth it. He specifically mentioned the referendum as something that ‘we’ (the lib dems, obviously) lost.
15:11 – ‘The left and the right – they didn’t like us in opposition, and they like us a whole lot less now we’re in government.’
15:12 – Now he’s pledging to regain all the lost seats from the last election, and get hold of some more too.
15:14 – It seems as if the difficulty that the Lib Dems have faced in government is going to be the key theme of Clegg’s speech. Again, he talks about doing the right thing, not the easy thing – to paraphrase, the national interest is his litmus test.
15:18 – Oh dear, Nick nearly slipped directly in to cliche mode, only narrowly avoiding the phrase ‘strong and stable government.’ He says that the decision to go into government was not the easy choice- it would have been easier to stay in opposition.
15:22 – Now he attacks Labour and defends the cuts.A very aggressive attack, in fact – ‘Labour got us into this mess, and they are clueless aut how to get us out…never, ever trust Labour again with the economy!’ Harsh words, and maybe Nick will come to regret them come election time. Of course, each party stands alone, but isn’t it faintly ridiculous to attack the other parties so strongy, when much more could be gained by less aggression and more discussion?
15:25 – Nick says that the liberals did everything they could about student fees, but that they failed in explaining the ‘fairness’ of the changes in fees to others. He’s saying that lessons have been learned, but so far, there’s nothing too unexpected – there are some obvious problems that Nick knows he needs to mention to remain credible, but he’s hardly likely to rubbish the work of his party.
15:29 – Nick wants to build a new economy for the whole nation. Sadly, he was pretty light on detail, but again, that’s no surprise. States that the Liberals can make the right decisions in the national interest because they ‘are not in anybody’s pocket.’
15:34 – Now we’re on to the recent Murdoch scandals – Nick talks about how the Liberals have been warning the country about them for years. Another direct attack on the ‘vested interests’ of the other main parties, and specifically on Labour, making a point of the fact that ‘nobody was surprised’ that Tony Blair was godson to one of Rupert Murdoch’s children.
15:35 – Now Nick makes the point of painting the Liberals as defenders of human rights, to lengthy applause.
15:36 – ‘We must now move beyond the reflexes of opposition to the responsibilities of government.’
15:39 – Now we’re on to climate change – Nick understands that people are generally less worried, but thay have not done the politically convenient thing, but have instead acted immediately ‘Green achievements from a green party of government.’
15:44 – Nick’s electric now – he seems quite genuinely passionate about promoting equality, saying that he wants ‘every child to believe in themselves.’
15:44 – Nick says that the only worthwhile struggle for the Lib Dems is an uphill struggle.
15:46 – We’re on to the riots now. Mention of people without ‘stakes in society’, of course, but he’s also makig a big point of discussing the people who ‘rose to the challenge’ and ‘stood together’ during the riots – the clean up crews, the communities who supported each other, etc. He wants the ‘offenders to become ex-offenders’ – ‘effective justice, restorative justice, Liberal [my emphasis] justice.’
15:47 – I’m getting soundbite fatigue.
15:48 – Nick doesn’t want a society where people are ‘enslaved by poverty’. Nick, I’m starting to get the message, you don’t have to say ‘not easy, but right’ any more.
15:50 – Ok, I tried to avoid the cliche, but he really is talking like a coach to a losing team with 3 minutes left on the clock. ‘Hold your heads up’….yeah.
15:54 – Nick ends the speech by imploring the Liberal Democrats to be proud of what they have achieved, and leaves with a hopeful message about the future. I tried to catch it, really, but soundbite fatigue took its toll.
OK, time for a coffee break, then I’ll write a summary of the speech.