back to top

Nick Clegg Is Officially Happy To Stick It To The Tories

And nine other things we learned from the deputy prime minister's speech to the Lib Dem party conference.

Posted on
Apparently it's our tax cut in private, but it's their tax cut in public. In 2012 – I'll never forget this – Danny [Alexander] and I said: Let's go further and faster to cut people's income tax. It's possible now, so why wait?George Osborne turned to me and said: 'I don't want to deliver a Liberal Democrat Budget.' He insisted instead on the Tory bit of the Budget: a cut to the top rate of tax.I can't think of a better, simpler illustration of what sets the two coalition parties apart: Tories insisting on tax cuts for the few; Lib Dems insisting on tax cuts for the many.
Ed Miliband – you might have forgotten what you did to our economy, but we have not. And the British people don't want a Labour government running their country, racking up debts for our children and grandchildren to pay.David Cameron – you can copy our ideas, but you will never imitate our values. And the British people don't want a Conservative government running their country which only looks after its own kind.
Britain will not be intimidated. We will not be divided. We will not allow this brutal organisation to pervert Islam. ...We and our allies – including in the Middle East – are going to find you, [ISIS,] we are going to destroy your bases, we will cut off your supplies, isolate you from your support – and for the sake of peace, democracy and the freedom of all those you terrorise, we are not going to stop until it's done.
The only party refusing to trade in fear because we believe what the British people want desperately from their politics is hope.The only party who are as economically competent as we are socially fair – a party of the head and the heart, of compassion and resolve. The only party who says no matter who you are, no matter where you are from, we will do everything in our power to help you shine.
It is left to our party, to us, to work our hearts out each and every day to give the people of Britain a stronger economy and a fairer society. We will do everything we can to ensure you and your family have the opportunities to get on. In that Britain we can defeat the politics of blame and grievance and fear.And we have seven short months to tell people, to show people: there is still a party that speaks to the decent, British values they hold. So let our opponents say what they will; after all the knocks, setbacks, and bruises, we will go to the country with our heads held high.
As someone who has grown more, not less, impatient with the establishment during my time in office, I have realised that what the vested interests would relish most is to eject us from office before our time is up.What disrupts those same vested interests most is seeing this government through. So, however tempting it might be, we should never play our opponents' game.
And yet something very un-British is taking root in our politics. A growing movement of people who want to pull us apart. Salmond, Farage, the bitter tribalism of left and right – in their different ways they're all doing the same thing. A growing pick-a-side politics, in a world of us-versus-them.Worried about your job? Your business? Your children's future? Your way of life? No matter, just blame Europe/Brussels/foreigners/immigrants/the English/the South/professional politicians/Westminster/big business/anybody claiming benefits/ even onshore wind farms...
Say what you will about the Liberal Democrats... We may no longer be untainted, as we were by the freedom of opposition... I may no longer be the fresh-faced outsider... But we still stand for a different kind of politics. ....It is, in my view, quite remarkable that a party experiencing it's first stint in government, which only has 9% of MPs in Westminster, should have succeeded in driving through the biggest and fairest transformation of our income tax system in a generation.
When I apologised for the disappointment and anger caused by our inability to scrap tuition fees, I knew we could never, ever make that mistake again.

10. And finally, he's not afraid to indulge in some old-fashioned Lib Dem chanting.

Siraj Datoo / BuzzFeed News

Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Siraj Datoo at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.