Tuesday, 19 September 2017

The leader's speech

Vince Cable's speech to Lib Dems federal conference 2017 was well up to standard, with some cutting one-liners about Jeremy Corbyn, Theresa May and the juvenile behaviour of the challengers to her leadership. Points that stood out for me were the reminder - complete with a ?Swahili quotation - of his financial qualifications in the Kenyan Treasury, his nailing of the responsibility for the banking crashes in the UK on Labour's emasculation of the regulators (egged on by the Conservatives, who wanted to go further) and the re-statement of the fact that the Liberal Democrats are not a one-issue party.

I was disappointed that he is thinking of replacing student loans with a graduate tax, which was roundly criticised when Ed Miliband put it forward as a possible Labour policy. However, it seems that this is a result of discussions with the NUS and that Vince is holding up his end of a bargain. Moreover, he did not present it as a policy, but has asked David Howarth (a grievous loss to the Commons) to look at it and will lay the findings before conference.

He touched on the electorate's loss of trust in us. He might have added that, a couple of glaring examples (which I was not alone in criticising at the time) apart, it was only partly justified. The Labour-supporting media were all too happy to blame us for all the Tory depredations, not acknowledging that our ministers had softened the blows as far as they could, while both they and their Conservative-supporting counterparts gave us no credit for the positive things we had achieved. That trust is going to take a while to build up again, and I believe Vince should have stressed that it will be a hard slog. It is going to mean our candidates at all levels being cautious about what they promise and the national parties acting swiftly in the case of councillors who have clearly acted improperly.

The full speech will be put up on Liberal Democrat Voice in due course and there should be a link in the comments to this posting.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

This is the link to a video and transcript of Vince's speech: http://www.libdemvoice.org/five-quick-observations-about-vinces-speech-55314.html. (See Caron's immediately preceding post for an explanation of the "Not the Leader's Speech")