Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nick Clegg is new Liberal Democrat Leader

Yesterday the results of the Lib Dem leadership election were announced. Nick Clegg won by the surprisingly narrow margin of 500 votes. After much heartsearching I had voted for Chris Huhne, but both were excellent candidates. Below is an extract from Nick Clegg's acceptance speech:

"Above all, our politics is broken. Out of touch with people. Out of touch with the modern world. And that is why I have one simple ambition: to change Britain to make it the liberal country I believe the British people want it to be.

I want a new politics, a people's politics. I want to live in a country where rights, freedoms and privacy are not the playthings of politicians, but safeguarded for everyone.

Where political life is not a Westminster village freak show, but open, accessible, and helpful in people's everyday lives.
Where parents, pupils and patients are can take charge of our schools and hospitals. Where fine words on the environment are finally turned into real action.
Where social mobility becomes a reality once again, where no one is condemned by the circumstances of their birth.

Why have we stopped imagining a better society? Look at what we've got. Labour and the Conservatives have governed in the same way: top-down and centralising. I simply refuse to believe that the only alternative to a clapped-out Labour government is a Conservative Party that has no answers to the big issues - environmentalism without substance, social justice without money, internationalism without Europe.

The challenge for my party is clear and simple: to define a liberal alternative to the discredited politics of Big Government.

I want to open up my party, open up Westminster, and open up politics for good. To lead well, a leader needs to listen.
That's why I will hold regular, public Town Hall meetings.
That's why I want to open up the Liberal Democrats to give people who support us, but aren't party members, a say on the big issues.
That's why I will spend at least one day every week listening and campaigning outside Westminster.
That's why I will set up a network of families, who have nothing to do with party politics, in every region of this country so they can tell me what my priorities should be.

If you once voted for us but you think we've spent too much time focusing on ourselves, if you once voted for the Conservative Party but have no idea what they stand for any more, if you once voted for the Labour Party but feel let down by 10 years of disappointment. If you've given up voting altogether, but still care about the world we live in then a newly united, energetic and optimistic Liberal Democrat party is the party for you."


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