restored my faith a bit. Conference is not always a morale-boosting experience; the crystal clarity of this particular policy wonk is muddied by exposure to so many local interests, so much single-issue passion, and the sheer raucous chaos of party activism.
But Nick Clegg’s informal Q&A with the conference restored my confidence. I cannot on this iTouch do anything resembling a verbatim account, but can honestly say that his sense of being at ease with both himself and his Liberal positions was a marked contrast with Cameron in particular. The steady improvement and growing coherence of Nick and the Libdem policy position, which is dawning on the media, was clear to this (admittedly sympathetic) audience.
In more detail:
- he explained the complex series of tradeoffs and so on in their tax policy in a way that seemed realistic and attractive;
- his response to a populist ‘bring the troops home NOW’ call was sympathetic yet also conveyed how much of a betrayal this would seem to the sacrifice so far;
- the attacks on BNP were strong: “not only hateful but useless – hate doesn’t build you a house”
- a passionate attack on the insulting quality of the Tories from Notting Hill decrying Britain as broken – music to my ears
- a robustly liberal view on Europe and crime that was convincing, and also dispelled some of my fears about a lack of courage re. Great liberal Causes
ALSO: Chris Huhne had a couple of amazing poll findings: more voters would prefer a hung parliament to either a Conservative or Labour outright majority; and the libdem poll rating rises from 20 to 37 % when the question is changed to “if you thought they had a chance of winning in your area” – suggesting a possible tipping point at some stage.