Clegg promises to help families

LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged he would lead a government “that listens, understands, and acts” if he becomes Prime Minister.In his close of conference speech, Mr Clegg said the Lib Dems were the only party that could deliver social justice, was the only choice for anyone who wanted a fairer Britain, was a party that would put money back in the pockets of ordinary families and build a stable, green economy for each and every one of us.

Graham Dines

LIBERAL Democrat leader Nick Clegg has pledged he would lead a government “that listens, understands, and acts” if he becomes Prime Minister.

In his close of conference speech, Mr Clegg said the Lib Dems were the only party that could deliver social justice, was the only choice for anyone who wanted a fairer Britain, was a party that would put money back in the pockets of ordinary families and build a stable, green economy for each and every one of us.

Addressing his party's conference for the first time since taking over from Sir Ming Campbell, Mr Clegg's upbeat optimism sent delegates home from Bournemouth with renewed hope in their hearts.


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Although the truth is that the Lib Dems are unlikely ever to be a party in sole power, there is a belief that the Tory lead in the opinion polls is fragile and that there'll be a hung parliament leading to a coalition in which the Lib Dems will play a crucial role.

Mr Clegg acknowledged that Britain faced difficult times. “Our economy weakens by the day.

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We survive on oil and coal we cannot afford, from nations we cannot trust. A firestorm is raging through our financial system, ignited by reckless bankers and fuelled by complacent politicians.

“I had a look back recently at Gordon Brown's final budget last year. Can you believe it? - he actually boasted: `Our growth will be the highest in the G7. Inflation has never gone above 3%,' he bragged.”

Mr Clegg said Labour could offer nothing. “They're so desperate to protect their own jobs, they can't be bothered to protect other people's. They're the living dead, no heart, no mind, no soul - stumbling around with no idea what to do.

“They are a Zombie government. A cross between Shaun of the Dead and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue.

“We can't predict the future. “We can't know exactly what challenges our country will face.

But we can be certain that Labour cannot help us.

“And we can be certain that the Conservatives won't bother. Cameron's only aim was to make the Conservatives inoffensive.

“Problem is, once you strip out the offensive parts of the Conservative Party, there isn't much left.

Cameron's hope is to become the Andrex puppy of British politics - a cuddly symbol, perhaps, but fundamentally irrelevant to the product he's promoting.”

Taunting the Tory leader, Mr Clegg said: “You can say you want fairer taxes - but propose to spend billions cutting inheritance tax for the very richest in the land. You can call for the European Union to be stronger against the Russians - while still plotting to break it in two. You can say you'll protect civil liberties - and then call for extra surveillance powers. You can cycle to work - and have your driver follow behind.

“They are a `say everything, do nothing' party.”

Mr Clegg said: “David Cameron and his cronies have tried to take over every comforting, soft-focus word in the dictionary. They are for work-life balance, fairness, motherhood, apple pie, saving the planet and custard.

“You have to admire, I suppose, the sheer gall of someone who worked for Margaret Thatcher claiming he cares about poverty. But that arrogance, that born-to-rule conceit, that sense he's already picking out curtain patterns for Number 10.

“That's not what Britain needs. Power must be earned, not inherited.

“What Britain needs now is absolute honesty about the situation we're in. And big, bold ideas to set us right. Quite simply we need a government that listens, understands, and acts.

“The Liberal Democrats can be - will be - that government. We are the party with the ideas that can get Britain out of this mess.”

Buoyed by his conference victory for a change of direction from tax-and-spend to tax giveaways, Mr Clegg set out what he described as the Lib Dems' Fairer Future recovery plan. It would involve action to stop unjust repossessions before tens of thousands of families find themselves on the streets, ending the amoral free-wheeling, bonus-driven, short termism of the City of London, and tax cuts for families who are struggling.

To help them make ends meet. And keep the wheels of the economy turning,” said the Lib Dem leader.

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