Sunday, March 09, 2008

Notes from the LibDem Spring Conference

* Nick Clegg tried to do a Cameron and speak without notes during his wind-up speech at the LibDem Spring Conference today, yet people present spotted autocues ... just in case.

* Conference goers were none too impressed by BBC Political Correspondent, John Pienaar, who didn't fancy joining the LibDems on the conference shuttle bus (who can blame him) which took the bearded ones from the main hotel to the conference centre. Instead, Pienaar opted for a taxi. Good man.

* Liverpool City Council Cabinet member Colin Eldridge, who owns a laundry business in the City, was allegedly spotted urging delegates staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the official conference hotel, to make full use of their hotel towels. His company coincidentally does the hotel's laundry. Nice to see the LibDems full of the entrepreneurial spirit! However, he lists himself as a member of Friends of the Earth in his online biog. Obviously he doesn't go along with all these pesky signs in hotel bedrooms urging people to 'think of the environment' before using more towels!

* Photographers at the Crowne Plaza Hotel tried in vain to get a picture of Nick Clegg standing by a rather hideous statue in the entrance lobby of the Crowne Plaza. The name of the statue? Fallen Angel...

Thanks to my undercover reporter in Liverpool for these snippets.

UPDATE: I was going to attempt to Fisk Nick Clegg's speech, but since Cranmer has done it already, I won't bother. It really was a bizarre experience, full of contradictions and odd assertions.


Anonymous said...

I believe David Cameron had a few handwritten notes too! I do public speaking and prefer the 'off the cuff' walking about style rather standing behind a lecturn reading from an autocue or a written speech but its suicide not to have a few notes with you to jog the memory should it go blank.

I did listen to Clegg though and he did not seem at ease - bit of a stunt that feel flat I feel.

David Anthony said...

It really was a bizarre experience, full of contradictions and odd assertions.

Err... we are talking about the Lib Dems aren't we? You found that odd?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Lib Dems in a free fall that's even worse than West Ham Iain!

stuart said...

Odd that you celebrate John Pienaar wasting licence fee-payers money.

P.S. Everyone should stop this 'walking about' speech style. Bring back the lecturn!!!

Tim Hedges said...

Surely Pienaar will have paid for his own taxi? No one would imagine a BBC journalist wasting taxpayers' money..?

Twig said...

The BBC would never pay for a taxi if there was a free shuttle-bus service available. They're very careful with licence fee payer's money.

Bill Quango MP said...

John Pienaar

read my lips


permanentexpat said...

. "Instead, Pienaar opted for a taxi. Good man."
The bus? With the beardies & wierdies with whom he has to work? Well...the poor man. Lawdie, close contact with the serfs? Heaven forbid!
Now the question is: Should I pay for my taxi out of my own pocket as transport was, indeed, provided?
Or should I charge it to expenses ( good buddy the taxpayer who already pays for my lucrative job with his compulsory TV licence)?
Yep, good man, Iain.

stuart said...

Well, all credit to Iain for revealing this. If you're listening BBC - don't give John P. that fare back!

Alex said...

Iain you are wrong to insinuate that Clegg was claiming to speak a la Cameron - without notes or autocue. Yes, he was walking about, and he had no notes, but the autocue use was obvious and admitted. Anyone in the hall could have turned around and seen the screens behind them.

Anonymous said...

Alex said...
"Iain you are wrong to insinuate that Clegg was claiming to speak a la Cameron"

Clegg wasn't claiming to speak without autocue.

Unsworth said...

Why did Pienar take a taxi?

Was he worried that his hair might get messed up?

Unsworth said...

@ Anonymous 11:05

So speaking without Autocue is some sort of virility test then - almost like fornicating without a condom.

Like, Wow!

What was that about 'dogs walking on their hind legs'? It's content not presentation that matters in this case. Let's face it Clegg has virtually no personality, precious little charisma and zero gravitas, so he really needs to do something about intellect to make up for the deficiencies.

simon said...

I think Pienaar is eminently sensible. I sure as s*it would not get onto a coach full of LibbeDems! I imagine the gruesome twosome of Hughes and Oaten were passengers. I think we can forgive Pienaar this once for wasting license payers money on this instead of his usual 'expenses' (ie)pies)!

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

Yesterday the flip-flopping face of the Liberal Democrats was exposed once again by Nick Clegg’s speech to their spring conference in Liverpool where he followed in the footsteps of Paddy Ashdown by saying that he would do no deals with either the Conservatives or Labour in the event of a hung parliament with a “shake up of the whole political system.”

Is this the same Nick Clegg who, alongside Bristol West MP Stephen Williams, attended a special two-day Parliamentary Away Day on 20th and 21st July 2007 at Henley Management Centre where internal documents passed on to the Sunday Telegraph show that it WAS decided that the Liberal Democrats would work in coalition with Labour or the Conservatives in the event of a hung parliament.

Funny how it was held at Henley Business School given that the principal, Chris Bones, happens to be the very person hand picked by Nick Clegg to head a new Party Reform Commission to look at all aspects of party organisation from structure to campaign capability.

Chris Bones is also Chair of the Oxford East Liberal Democrats and resident in the Cowley and Littlemore division and is married to fellow Oxfordshire County Councillor for Headington & Marston Gail Bones.

Has there been a change in policy recently or is this the Liberal Democrats showing once again how low they can fall when it comes to keeping their election promises as was proved by the recent debacle at Westminster over the Lisbon Treaty?

Personally, I think that young Clegg might have just dropped another clanger because the last time a Liberal Democrats Leader talked so openly about power sharing and the political system in 1992 the Conservatives won the subsequent General Election outright!

neil craig said...

2 items about things that didn't happen - somebody not taking the bus & Clegg not being fooled into standing beside a statue - & one highly improbable one about somebody "allegedly" trying to get people to use towels. Pretty boring conference if Iain cant find things actually happening to talk about.

David Lindsay said...

Nick Clegg is just facing reality. Neither Labour nor the Tories would touch the Lib Dems as a coalition partner.

Whereas, in the (quite likely) event of a hung Parliament, those two socially, culturally and politically indentical and interdependent rump organisations would go into coalition with each other without a second thought.

And, just as in the extremely improbable event of an outright Tory victory, nobody would be able to tell the slightest difference.

So the Lib Dems, as a party, might as well disband now. Their existence depends on the fantasy that they would matter in a hung Parliament. They would not.

Martin said...

One wonders why John Pienaar felt he had to take a shuttle bus at all. I was at the conference with Liberal Youth, and every single one of us walked. It only took four minutes, and was often faster than waiting for the shuttle bus to get through traffic.

Geoffrey G Brooking said...

So much for the Lib Dems caring for the environment.