The Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in Glasgow came to an end today after Nick Clegg’s rather confident and engaging speech. These last five days have been a great few days for Clegg and his party and today, his speech rounded the conference up remarkably well.
There was a theme to his speech. It was focused more on them trying to stay in government and how Lib Dems should be represented in government rather than on anything else, although he touched on many relative issues such as Syria and the EU.
He spoke with pride as he mentioned the legality of gay marriage and about the growing economy. He said “The country is growing stronger by the day. Stable, successful coalition. The recovery wouldn’t be happening without us.” However, he spoke about joining forces with either parties again and said “Labour would wreck the recovery. The Conservatives would give us the wrong kind of recovery. Only the Liberal Democrats can finish the job and finish it in a way that is fair.”
One thing what he said that stood out to most people was that he identified his party as a party that is different to Labour and the Conservatives. “The Liberal Democrats are not some subset of the Labour or Tory parties. We have our own values, our own liberal beliefs”
He did not announce any new policies after yesterday’s big announcement on free lunches for all children in their first three years at school in England, to which perhaps he thought would be a great way to bring in more Lib Dem voters, as in more families.
He spoke about his own family. His personal beliefs. His education. His wife. How he likes to keep Westminister and his personal life private. How he sees Ed Miliband and David Cameron personally, not just politically.
This speech clearly showed that Clegg wants voters to see that they are not going anywhere. People thought that the Coalition would be a disaster but he said the Lib Dems have proved them wrong. They can in fact, handle a government and people need to have a bit more faith in them. The speech was about him as a leader, a prime minister to-be and not just a deputy.
He tried to show that the Lib Dems are not weak and that things are working the way that it should be and the Lib Dems are now at where they should have been before.
But was this enough? Has he won over voters or has he just made people interpret his bid to stay in government in a different way – such as if you do not vote for me this time round, then I will resign.