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[personal profile] miss_s_b
The keynotes speeches at conference were a bit of a mixed bag this time. Floella seemed to be having bother with the autocue at the rally, and El Ex-Presidente's emotional handover of the gavel and On Liberty to Tim Farron was beautifully done but (given my I'm 4 Ros ness) was a bittersweet moment for me. Farron's speech was a barnstormer, as usual, and Cleggy did ok.

Cleggy's Q&A was interesting. Quite a lot of the questions he was asked were giving him a very respectful and mild-mannered kicking, and to his credit he only did a bit of ducking and eliding. He genuinely does seem to relish debate and interaction, and was visibly sad when the time was up. For me, the Q&A worked a lot better than his closing speech, which had some wonderful moments, almost all of which were then tempered with wrong. For example "We're not left. We're not right. We're liberal!" which garnered huge cheers, but was then modified to "we have the freehold to the centre ground in politics" - um.... No. We're not on the left right axis at all. We're not boring, middle-of-the-road, populist hoggers of the centre ground, and painting us as such does us no favourz.

And then he resurrected the spectre of Alarm Clock Britain. I don't know who keeps telling him that it's a good idea to remind people of the thing they hate, the thing that makes them get out of bed and go to work, the bastard alarm clock, in every sodding speech, but I don't know one single person who really resonates with the phrase. When he went into depth explaining what he meant by it, things became a bit clearer. This is his term for the squeezed middle, the entitlement queens who claim that nobody pays them any attention. Now sure, these people are important. But Clegg, in his speech, made them out to be the important people. Maybe in terms of courting their votes, but in terms of social justice? No. We should be fighting for the poor and disadvantaged and dispossessed, not those who are perfectly capable of fighting for themselves, and very often do so by trampling on the poor and disadvantaged and dispossessed.

Clegg did have a tough gig this time, though, so I can forgive him for hitting a couple of wrong notes. Yes, he's in front of a home crowd, but that home crowd is not necessarily a friendly one. For example, we had a lovely view of Sheffield Forgemasters from our hotel, and that spectre, however unjustified it may be, refuses to go away. And I think he slightly misjudged it. His keynote speech in Liverpool (co-written by the very sexy Richard Reeves) was absolutely dead on. This time he failed to reach those heights, which is a pity. But I'd still say he did OK.

Our new president, on the other hand, is still very much the darling of conference. By Cthulhu the man can do a good speech, and a passable song too (more on Glee Club later). His "I'm Northern, me" schtick went down very well in Sheffield, and he is excellent at judging the mood of a crowd and tailoring his speaking to match. In terms of the party presidency, I'm still not sure he's what we need at this time, but I love him as a speaker as much as I always have.

The other speaker I feel I should mention is Don Foster. We didn't have a CGB auction this time, but that didn't put Don off; he simply did his CGB auctioneer act for the whole of conference ayt the appeal before the leader's speech, and it was as witty and clever and hilarious as ever. It was a heartwarmer, and I was glad to see it happen.



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Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.






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