It’s Saturday, 10.30am and this is beyond the call of duty, but here we go:
- Ming up first, bashes Cameron tries to reposition himself on the left. Looks old. Business like.
- Hughes up next, says policy is not the leaders remit, membership makes policy, tickling the clitoris of the activists. Leaders job is to deliver the message. Thatcherite New Labour, fairness inequality, excluded, liberal values etc. Freedom & fairness, “spend more wisely and tax more fairly” – terrible soundbite which middle of the road voters will hear as “spend more… tax more”. Pitch to the activists.
- Huhne kicks off with “global” as his key word, says he is open and rational. Reads and looks at his script, dull, but sensible. Dark green pitch with eco-taxes as the answer. Asks why minimum waged are taxed, tax is over-centralised, 94% of tax goes through Whitehall. More women LibDem MPs please. Freedoom and fairness, pragmatism. Sounds like a Cameron Conservative to Guido.
- Oaten goes scriptless and off the podium, new ideas and fresh thoughts, tribute to Kennedy, anti-war, proud of the party, pledges to defeat the ID card. LibDems must be optimistic. Cracks a couple of jokes, “principles into power in the 21st Century”. Fine, but not barnstorming.