Think big, choose a better future – Nick Clegg
Sun, 08 Mar 2009
Nick Clegg delivering keynote speech at Harrogate 2009
The Liberal Democrat leader tells his party conference that it will be a long, slow climb out of recession but his party offers hope for the future
Click here to read the full text of Nick Clegg’s speech
Nick Clegg laid the blame for Britain’s economic crisis and political malaise squarely at the door of both Labour and the Conservatives, in his keynote speech to the party spring conference in Harrogate:
“A never-ending cycle of red-blue, blue-red government has got us into this mess – it is never going to get us out.”
He said now was the time to try something new:
“Now is the time to think big.
“If you want better, choose different.
“Choose the Liberal Democrats.”
Nick made a stinging attack on the Labour Government for having let people down:
“Labour is like a spent match. There’s nothing left.
“You remember how hopeful people felt in 1997?
“Remember the promise of a better future?
“Don’t you feel the disappointment?
“An economy in tatters. A country more unequal than before. An illegal war, our government implicated in torture and rendition. Our environment poisoned. Our privacy invaded, our freedom curtailed.
“If you believe, like I do, in progress.
“If you feel let down by Labour, and see that the Conservatives will never be a party of change.
“Turn to the Liberal Democrats.
“We carry the torch of progress now.”
Much of the speech was devoted to the state of the economy and what the Liberal Democrats would do to turn things round:
“At least 3 million unemployed by the end of the year. That’s devastating.
“Let me be clear. We will do everything possible to help.
“Everything to protect jobs, keeping viable businesses going.
“Everything to make sure being made redundant does not mean you lose everything.
“And everything to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs, to get people back out to work as soon as possible.”
Nick told conference that the government has borrowed twelve and a half billion pounds to finance this year’s VAT giveaway:
“That money alone could have created nearly 100,000 new jobs.
“And laid the foundations, quite literally, for a new green economy.”
Nick said the party should be proud of their progressive policies and enduring liberal values:
“Let us say it loud and clear.
“We are the only party who will put money into people’s pockets with fair tax cuts.
“The only party to offer universal childcare and smaller classes in our primary schools.
“The only party who would use Gordon Brown’s wasted billions to create thousands of jobs today by investing in homes, hospitals, schools and public transport to build the green economy of tomorrow.
“The only party that will rebuild the jobs, homes and hopes this recession has destroyed.”