Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Conference Season; the Lib Dems

After a summer break politics is back on the agenda for daily TV with the return of the politics show on BBC1 for conference coverage.

The Lib Dem conference last week was entertaining, big speeches from Ming Campbell, with some jokes about the age of their leader. Its fine for them to talk up the experience of Ming, but they must know that the next general election may be called in 2010, he will then be 69, at the end of that parliament he may be 74. All respect to him for wanting to go on but at some point he will have to retire, no one can go on forever. My main observation however is how cosy they seem with Gordon Brown, several speeches attacking Cameron, contrasting him with the age and experience with the other two parties. Possibly they are hoping for an alliance to keep the Tories out at the next election. They are for the most part keeping their people in line, these conferences are mostly about showing ther leaders infront of cheering crouds with sound bites for the media. No sign of discussing issues, that may look like they arent united.

There was nothing on Proportional Representation, which would give them more power than the current system. There was a lot on how strong the LD are against the Iraq war and at tackling climate change, shame to let facts get in the way of rhetoric but that’s not how I see it. The LD Leader in 2003 Charles Kennedy was allowed to speak at an anti war rally as an individual, his party wasn’t behind him then. The LD South East MEP Baroness Nicholson was pro war, and very vocal about it. On climate change they keep talking up green taxes, but that isn’t good enough, thanks to their pal Brown people are convinced they are stealth taxes in disguise. They would have to be seen to go towards green things, but there’s little mention of sustainable transport or building in the immediate future. They prefer, as do the other parties, to talk of carbon reduction by 2050, in the meantime buisness as usual and lets not upset the voters who like to fly and drive. Greens are calling for reductions of 9% a year, an end to airport expansion and motorway building.

The biggest shame is the waste of all that invaluable media coverage, but chasing the middle ground seems to be the name of the game for big party politics these days.

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