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Analysis of Conference #2

Reaction to Nick Clegg’s speech

20th SEPTEMBER 2010

Responding to Nick Clegg’s keynote address at conference, the editor of The Liberal magazine called the speech “an eloquent deception” that veiled the nature of the government’s attack on the liberal infrastructure of the welfare state. Benjamin Ramm said that it was not “cynical” to point out that the “agents of ‘change’” referred to by Clegg are not those supported by Liberal Democrat members and voters, but the vehicle for a philosophy that masquerades as liberalism, employing the language of ‘choice’ and ‘mobility’, but which is, in fact, neo-liberalism, the political economy of the New Right.

Ramm also challenged Clegg’s justification of the coalition, arguing that the party ought to have forced a Conservative minority administration, thereby giving the LibDems executive power about which cuts should – and should not – be enacted. This would constitute real power, and allow the party to demonstrate a measured approach to deficit reduction.

In response to Danny Alexander’s declaration that “These are our decisions, our reforms, our new ideas, and – yes – our cuts too”, Ramm remarked: It is becoming clear that this arrangement is not a coalition, but an alliance” – between neo-liberals in both parties.

For further comment, or to speak with the editor, call (020) 8444 1944 or 07812 650 399.

The Liberal is an independent publication dedicated to the revival of liberalism. It has no affiliation with the Liberal Democrats, although previous contributors include Nick Clegg, Vince Cable, Chris Huhne, Simon Hughes, Menzies Campbell, Shirley Williams and Paddy Ashdown.


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