Nick Clegg’s Blog


Conference 2009: Day 2
20 September, 2009, 8:40 am
Filed under: Conference 2009, News

Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrats Conference 2009

Day 2: Nick’s Agenda Highlights

Sunday 20th September 2009, Bournemouth

– Conference 2009:

14.00: Nick Clegg Leader’s Q & A

– Conference 2009:

18.30: Nick Clegg Fringe Event – Imagining New Britain, Forging a New National Identity with Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Full coverage will appear here as events unfold.The Liberal Democrats 2009 Conference runs from 19th – 23rd September 2009.

For a full agenda of the Liberal Democrats 2009 Autumn Conference visit the Liberal Democrats Conference site: Here

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Liberal Democrats Conference 2009: Day 1
19 September, 2009, 12:42 pm
Filed under: Conference 2009, News | Tags:

Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrats Conference 2009

Day 1: Nick’s Agenda Highlights

Saturday 19th September 2009, Bournemouth

– Conference 2009:

12.00: Nick Clegg arrives at Conference

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and his wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez arrived in Bournemouth today for the 2009 Conference. After speaking to the media they had a coffee on the sea-front.

– Conference 2009:

18.30: Nick Clegg’s opening speech at Conference Rally

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats has delivered his opening speech to Conference, speaking to activists at the 2009 Conference rally.

The Speech in full:

There’s one simple idea at the heart of this year’s conference. At the heart of everything we do from now until the General Election. It’s this: the Liberal Democrats are the only party offering change for real, change for good.

That’s not always going to be easy. In the current climate it’s going to mean some difficult decisions not least on public spending, where you all know the debate between the parties is raging.

Yes I have said there will need to be cuts, cuts that are savage and bold. But we will make those cuts so that we can be equally fierce – equally savage – about protecting the services that matter most, just as we put the nation’s finances back in order. So if ending tax credits for high earners is the price we pay for cutting class sizes and investing in disadvantaged pupils, so be it. If we need to tell the highest paid public sector staff they won’t get an increase in their pensions, so that we can afford to keep teachers, nurses, policemen and women in their jobs, so be it.

I won’t duck those choices. And in all of them I’ll be guided by our principles, our priorities.

That includes on tuition fees. I believe tuition fees are wrong. I believe they need to be abolished. I want to do it as soon as possible.

But we need to treat people like grown ups, and we need to be realistic. Ending tuition fees would cost billions of pounds every year. We need to be certain we can afford it before we make any promises. But I can make this pledge: at the next election we will have the best, most progressive package for students of any mainstream party: that is my guarantee to you.

Labour’s let the country down and their time is up. The question now is what comes next, what kind of change do we want? The Conservatives simply believe it’s their turn. That they don’t have to work for it, they don’t have to prove themselves. If you want things to be different, really different, then choose different. That’s our message.

George Osborne’s clearly heard that message. Did you hear his recent speech about the Conservatives being the most progressive party in Britain? The Conservatives. George, I think the clue is in the name.

There’s nothing the Conservatives could say now that would surprise me. They’ll promise to be whatever they think people want. Liberal conservatives. Progressive conservatives. Compassionate conservatives. Modern conservatives.

They will say anything to get elected. David Cameron is the conman of British politics. He’s put the con back into the Conservatives. Just telling people what they want to hear. He says he wants to fix the broken society. Yet he’s promised tax breaks to the rich. He talks the talk on the environment. Yet he seeks out climate change deniers as new allies in Europe. He claims he wants a new politics. Yet he won’t even own up to whether or not his big donors pay full British taxes.

He says he’ll balance the nation’s books. Yet his most eye-catching proposal is raising the cost of salads in the House of Commons canteen. It’s an issue of trust. How can anyone trust a word he says? David Cameron offers fake change, not real change. Phoney politics, not new politics. And Britain deserves better.

There is one principle David Cameron, George Osborne and their friends do hold very strongly: they believe people like them are entitled to run this country. I believe power should be earned, not inherited.

People want politicians who mean what they say. I hear it time after time, place after place, especially at the town hall meetings I hold. Believe me, people come along and say what they mean. I ran a kind of town hall meeting at Glastonbury festival this summer under a great big pink tee-pee. Before my opening spiel a man called Merrick offered to warm up the audience. I said ok, stepped to the side, still in full view, a mug of ginger tea in hand. Turned out Merrick isn’t our biggest fan. But he had taken the time to compose a 6-minute poem about us. Which he used to tell me, and the 200-strong crowd, exactly where I could shove each of our policies.

There is something to be said for a bit of stage management. Only a bit though. You have to keep it spontaneous. Cameron doesn’t think so. Did you know you can’t get into a Cameron Direct public meeting unless you hand over personal information and supply photo id. Here’s a man who says he opposes the surveillance state. Yet asking him a question in a village hall is harder than getting in to North Korea.

For my meetings, everyone’s welcome. I tell people – come along, ask me anything, anything at all.

What most people tell me is that they are fed up with the business as usual cop out they get from the establishment parties. Sick and tired of the pendulum that only swings to make Britain stand still. Ready for something different, something we are ready to give them.

Ready because of our values. Ready because of our team. Ready because of you. Values first.

Liberty – the dispersal of power away from the central state downwards to local communities and upwards to international organisations.

Fairness – beginning with the opportunities open to all of our children because that’s the measure by which a society must be judged.

Being green – taking a stand on behalf of the generations that will follow us not just when it’s popular, but, more importantly, when it’s not.

Those principles are enduring. They are the values Britain needs today.

Why else would we keep calling it right on all the big issues?

Iraq.

Climate change.

Northern Rock.

Bankers’ bonuses.

The Speaker.

Trident.

The Gurkhas.

Only the Liberal Democrats stand against populist propaganda on immigration. Against the mass incarceration of our children. Against the colossal surveillance state.

Only the Liberal Democrats were willing to break the silence on the scandalous under-equipment of our troops in Afghanistan.

And only the Liberal Democrats have consistently called for radical reform to scrape out the rot in our democracy. What began with disgust at MPs’ expenses has evolved into a much bigger appetite for change. Liberal Democrats we always knew the time would come when the mere mention of multi-member transferable preferential voting would get pulses racing.

Our party has stayed true to its liberal values, with their long history. And now, in the most centralised country in Europe; ruled by a government that snatches freedom away without a second thought; that flouts international law in our name; that pays lip service to the environment but does so little to protect it; that after twelve years still presides over a society in which if you are poor, female, disabled, gay or from an ethnic minority your life is still harder than other people’s.

In that Britain – this Britain – we are more relevant than ever.

We’re ready because of our team. I am privileged to lead the most dynamic team in Parliament. With our outstanding Shadow Chancellor: Dr Vince Cable.

Danny Alexander, Chris Huhne, Sarah Teather, Ed Davey, David Laws, Norman Lamb, Julia Goldsworthy, Steve Webb. If I go through the whole superstar roll call we’ll be here all night. And day in, day out, I benefit from the support and advice of people without whom the party would not be what it is today: Shirley, Paddy, Charles, Ming.

Our team is ready. All of our MPs: confident, capable. And ruthless. Trust me, I’m regularly reminded of how ruthless – savage even – they are. I went to Leeds and my rugby team was thrashed by Greg Mulholland’s. In Sutton Paul Burstow pulled a better pint than me. I was beaten in a skipping competition by Jeremy Browne. On a trip to the arctic, Jenny Willott’s obliviousness to the cold put my whimpering to shame. And in Cornwall I entered a pasty crimping competition only to be told Julia Goldsworthy’s crimping was better than mine. A decision I still contest.

Finally it’s because of the work you do that we are now ready to embrace the opportunities ahead. The streets you pound, the hours you toil, the phone calls you make, the sheer tenacity with which you confront every challenge. Because of that, this time, this election, it will be different.

I know why you do it. I know why you campaign tirelessly, on a shoe string, come rain or shine. I know why you replace remote after remote every time another one gets hurled at the TV screen.

Because we are people who look at the world and seek to change it. Restive. Optimistic. Ambitious.

Because we’re not going through the motions, we’re going for broke.

We’re not in this to do our best, we’re in it to make history.

And because we know that the Liberal Democrats hold the values that will make this country great. Because we know that our moment is coming. Because we know that this time it is going to be different.

Thank you.

Full coverage will appear here as events unfold.The Liberal Democrats 2009 Conference runs from 19th – 23rd September 2009.

For a full agenda of the Liberal Democrats 2009 Autumn Conference visit the Liberal Democrats Conference site: Here

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Liberal Democrat 2009 Autumn Conference in Bournemouth
18 September, 2009, 8:38 am
Filed under: News, Nick Meets..., Outside Westminster | Tags:

Conference 2009

Bournemouth 2009 will be one of our most important Conferences ever.

This is the last autumn Conference before a general election. With Labour finished and much of the country still unconvinced that Cameron’s Conservatives offer anything better, this is an extremely exciting time for our party.

The ideas we agree in Bournemouth will shape the choices we offer voters at the next General Election. I’m proud that we are the only mainstream political party that has its policies decided by its members.

We’re here to debate the things people really need – like tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes paid for by closing loopholes for the wealthy; like creating green jobs to help the economy recover and make our environment more sustainable; and like making sure every child gets the best chance in life.

It’s our duty both to set our vision for a better, different future and to explain to the British people the tough choices a Liberal Democrat government would take. Labour won’t be honest about their plans. The Conservatives simply refuse to spell out what they will do. But the Liberal Democrats will. Over the last few years we’ve been ahead of the curve on every major event in British politics – not least of all on the collapse of the banks, with Vince taking the lead in exposing government failure.

From overhauling MPs’ expenses, to giving all Gurkha soldiers the right to stay in the UK, to calling for ID cards to be scrapped, we’ve led the way on the issues that matter. Now is our chance to capitalise on that momentum and outline our vision for a fairer, greener and stronger Britain.

At the heart of that vision is the simple idea that it’s time for something different. Ours is a voice for a different politics, where votes are fair, decisions are transparent, influence can’t be bought and governments are held to account. And it’s a voice for a different way of managing the economy, based on honesty about what the country can afford, new regulation to stop the banks from ever gambling us into recession again, and green investment to create jobs.

Now that the established orders in both politics and economics are crashing down, we have a golden opportunity to win support for the fundamental change that our country needs.

You won’t hear the other two parties making the same commitments. They can’t, they’re part of the status quo; not part of the solution but part of the problem.

It’s because of our principles – fairness, freedom, trust in people, protecting the environment – that we can offer people the hope for a different future, even in the very tough economic times that are to come.

With Labour finished and the Conservatives still more spin than substance, the Liberal Democrats will continue to speak out for what’s right, because no other party can.

See you all in Bournemouth!

Nick Clegg MP
Leader of the Liberal Democrats

You can follow Conference: Here

My website NickClegg.com is also covering my Conference: Here

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Rosh Hashanah Greetings
18 September, 2009, 8:34 am
Filed under: Inside Westminster, News

I wish everyone in the Jewish community shanah tovah and a peaceful, successful and sweet new year. May the shofar mark the beginning of a festival of rest and reflection for Jews in Britain and around the world as they celebrate this festival with their friends and families.

May this year be one in which Jewish communities throughout the world live in tranquillity without fear of anti-Semitism and may it be a prosperous and productive year for us all. I hope that the coming year will see progress towards peace between Israel and its neighbours.

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The Liberal Moment
17 September, 2009, 10:09 am
Filed under: Inside Westminster, News, Statements

Today published I published my thoughts on the future of progressive politics in Britain.

About The Liberal Moment

This pamphlet is about the future of British politics. Specifically, it is about the future of progressive politics in Britain. It is obvious to most people that Labour’s time is up. This Government displays all the hallmarks of a government running out of road – tired, ideologically incoherent, and internally fractured.

The question for progressives is what comes next? Is it inevitable that the red-blue/blue-red pendulum of British politics must swing again away from the progressive hopes offered by New Labour in its early days, only swinging back in many years to come once the Conservatives have had another go? Or is there life still left in the ideals of fairness, social mobility, sustainability, civil rights and internationalism which are the lifeblood of progressive thought?

My argument is simple: if progressives are to avoid being marginalised by an ideologically barren Conservative party, bereft of any discernible convictions other than a sense of entitlement that it is now their turn to govern, then the progressive forces in British politics must regroup under a new banner. I believe that liberalism offers the rallying point for a resurgent progressive movement in Britain.

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Letter to Jessica Ennis, Heptathlon World Champion 2009
21 August, 2009, 2:37 pm
Filed under: News, Statements

Dear Ms Ennis

I wish to add my heartfelt congratulations to the many you have deservedly received following your win at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.

You have given pleasure to countless people who watched your joy in achieving gold in the Heptathlon. It was an inspirational culmination of all your efforts to overcome the setbacks you experienced in the build up to the Olympics last year.

I know your joy is shared by your family and those who have also helped and supported you and I wish you all well – and continuing success in the future.

Yours sincerely, Nick Clegg MP for Sheffield Hallam

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Ramadan Mubarak!
21 August, 2009, 8:22 am
Filed under: Inside Westminster, Statements

As Ramadan comes round once more, I’d like to wish all Muslims observing the month my very best wishes.

I have learned from working with Muslim communities across the UK – and indeed from the many Lib Dem councillors and candidates who are practising Muslims – that the fasting and Qur’an reading during Ramadan provide spiritual renewal and enlightenment. As friends and family are brought together every night, we also reflect on all the millions of people around the world who still go without food and clean water every day.

We in the Liberal Democrats have always championed religious tolerance, and we are proud of the diverse traditions in our country.

We recognise the importance of the principle of Zakat to Muslims, especially at this time, and I deeply regret that Islam can be unfairly portrayed in many parts of the media especially when Muslim communities in this country do so much excellent charitable work.

I congratulate Muslims for the volunteering and donations they make during the month of Ramadan and at other times, and, more broadly, to thank British Muslims for the enormous contribution they make to life in this country.

Ramadan Mubarak!

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