Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ming's speech - Live blog

11.52 Tim Clement-Jones is "shaking the tin", bless him.

11.59 Dead Liberals are in the spotlight. Chris Rennard announces that John Stuart Mill has been voted the greatest Liberal in history. When you think about it, a bit of a no brainer. (But then again a no brainer surely needs no thinking about....I hate this waiting) Well done to the Millster.

12.06 Chris Rennard looks forward to his 50th LibDem/Liberal conference/assembly in his home city of Liverpool next March.

12.07 The Party Conference broadcast video is being played while the mass ranks move onto the stage to be the backdrop.

12.09 Warm applause for Ming's goal in the video.

12.10 Ming walks into the hall. Elspeth is wearing a plain white suit/coat. Very subdued for her.

12.12 Ming starts with some questions. Climate change response of Labour - green taxes fall. Richest pay lower tax rate than their office cleaners. Criminal investigation into arms sales stopped. Tories trying to exempt MPs from FOI. What kind of country? Government sneaks out "son of Star Wars" announcement on last day of parliament. Illegal disastrous war - stopping protests. What kind of country? Very passionate. It's not a liberal country. That's why LibDems have never been more necessary.

Brilliant start.

12.14 LibDems leading fight against climate change. Examples: Wales, Scotland. Recent green organisations audit where we came top. Policies: green taxes - vision for zero carbon Britain.

12.15 Media critics. Obsessed with Young Turks. (Married one!) I answer to you and not the media. Big applause.

12.16 Thank goodness we can confront difficult issues. Say controversial things. That's real leadership. That's my leadership. We're on the cutting edge of critical issues. "I won't have it any other way".

12.17 Hard choices. Labour. Gordon gets into power and the first thing he does is praises Maggie Thatcher. Maggie, Gordon, Tony, Dave, Ian, Michael....confused? You must be. But I don't want to be like any of them. Big cheer/applause.

12.18 Conservatives. Right turn. No convictions. Cameron buffeted. Grammar schools etc. Wrong turn on human rights.

12.20 He turns if you want him to. The lad is all for turning. Nice one. We're not for turning. Fit for purpose - radical, responsible, Liberal.

12.21 We'll be ready for election. Fight for every vote. To rattle cages.

12.22 Ealing Southall/Sedgefield - hard work -principal challengers to government. Tories pushed into third place. Applause. Mayor of London - three great candidates on shortlist. Sustained applause.

12.23 Boris Johnson. the blondest suicide note in history.

12.24 Age. I will make it an issue. Experience. Judgment. War decisions.

12.25 Tragic folly of Iran war. Ability to trust LibDems if Iran military action proposals from the US come.

12.26 Brown doesn't get off hook - he could have prevented Iraq war, ID cards, lack of green taxes - chancellor for 10 years

12.28 Brown's legacy - we see now. Personal debt. We will ensure he takes responsibility. New Labour remains Blue Labour. Wrong wrong wrong.

12.29 Don't just need change of tone - need change of policy and Brown hasn't delivered. Farmers. Must get farmers back in business asap. Collapse of trust in leading banks. Queues. Underlying of excessive debt/reckless lending has not been addressed - responsibility with Brown.

12.30 Conservatives not fit for purpose. No environment commitments. Agreed with war. Bucketful of policy proposals. Advice from the Vulcan - straight from the bridge of SS Free Enterprise - policies Dave, but not as we know them.

12.32 Tories still don't know what their policies would be. Suffering from identity crisis. Don't know whether to hug or hang hoodies.

12.33 Environment, taxes, Iraq etc - cosy consensus Labour Tory - we alone can break

12.34 That doesn't rule out co-operation. Steel, Ashdown and Kennedy were all proved right when they stood up to Labour/Tories.

12.35 When they try to shout me down - I would not be silenced. The LibDems will never be silenced (rendition, Guantanemo etc). That includes Europe. We must make case. Cameron wants to restrict us to narrow referendum - let's have an honest debate with a real choice. Applause (3 on clapometer). Tricky moment.

12.42 Freedom is indivisible. Racial/sexual/sexual orientation - I stand with those prejudiced against and so too do LibDems - strong applause - tricky moment over.

12.43 You can't be a part time liberal. Faith. Guarantee all religions accept tyranny of none.
Good phrase.

12.44 Listing people he has met. Homeless. Injured soldier. Powerful piece about price of war that should never have been.

12.44 too many forgotten people. Social exclusion. I'm angry. I'm deeply angry. Things have got to change if we want to be one truly united Britain. Big applause. Government must stand for interests of all but vested interests of none.

12.45 Change governance once and for all - throw open the doors of government and let the people in. No more secret arms deals full stop. Fair votes. End of lottery of FPSTP system. Real Freedom of information. Wholly elected house of Lords. Bill of rights. Put the protection of the environment at the heart of constitution - guarantee rights to clean water, air etc

12.46 Our challenge is to extend freedom to everyone. London. Deprivation. Gap between rich and poor is wider than when Labour came to office. Who'd have thought it? Big applause. Social mobility in decline - UK at bottom of UNICEF league table for child well being.

12.48 That's the record of Brown/Labour. Social housing queue. Pensioners struggling. People whose background change their prospects. Education. Proposal for extra money for children who are struggling. Where opportunity is denied, freedom is denied also.

12.50 William Beveridge. Challenges still there. Five giants. We should lead fight for five freedoms.

12.51 Confidence in the law and crime prevention at all time low. Brown increased taxes for less well off. We will close tax loopholes. Cut rate of income tax to lowest for century. Shift tax from income to pollution. Cuts for average families.

12.52 Clean environment. We will fight for the five freedoms. I will lead party into GE with energy, passion...liberalism has never been needed than it is today.

12.55 We alone can break cosy consensus. We only can make people free from fear, climate change. Only we will fight for free, fair and green society. We're not the real alternative - we're the ONLY alternative. Sustained applause.

12.56 Not two against one. But one against two. I joined to change country - that is what we can achieve together.

Lots of applause.