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Conference Speech

September 21, 2010

Yesterday afternoon Nick Clegg delivered his eagerly awaited conference speech. There had been many specultions about how the new Deputy PM would pitch his first speech to Lib Dem grassroot members. Would it be triumphant or defensive?  Would he shout from the roof tops about Lib Dem achievements  or would there be a nervous and disgruntled membership that needed to be calmed down?

To the likely disappointment of the assembled media crowd Nick Clegg’s speech was  sober,  but confident. It reflected perfectly the mood of the conference during the previous three days.

We Lib Dems are in this coalition for the long term. We are in new territory and we are prepared to give it a chance. We are prepared to be part of unpopular decisions, but the financial crisis is not of our choice nor our  making. The willingness to go into coalition shows that we are prepared to share responsibilties and be part of a positive solution, rather than shouting from the side lines and shying away from tough decisions.

And we can already demonstrate that Liberal Democrats are making a difference. Because solutions have to be discussed and agreed between two parties, who quite often come from different ideological ends, the outcomes are often far more balanced and considered as if one single party had their way.

Labour’s  total and utter denial of the reality and extent of the mess they left behind only seems to demonstrate that they would have been completely unable and unwilling  to put this country right again. The vast majority of Liberal Democrats have come to realise this over the last few months.  This realisation is far more disappointing than finding ourselves in coaltion with the Conservatives.

Being in coaltion doesn’t mean that we have become a different party with different values or aims and it doesn’t mean we are locked into it forever. As Nick said in his speech, it is the right thing for right now and we are on for it.

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