David Blackburn

<div>The Lib Dems celebrate their achievements</div>

<div>The Lib Dems celebrate their achievements</div>
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Sandals are being rattled in Birmingham this morning. The Liberal Democrat conference opens to a chorus celebrating the party’s achievements in government. Nick Clegg tells the Independent that “Liberal Democrat fingerprints” are all over flagship coalition policies on schools, welfare, pensions, banking reform and the NHS reforms. He says of the latter that the Liberal Democrats have tempered the Conservatives. Clegg will reiterate this point at a rally later this afternoon.

Despite news that the Liberals seek an electoral accommodation with the Conservatives, senior party figures are at pains to accentuate their differences with the Tories. Danny Alexander informs the Financial Times that he views the new backbench Tory Eurosceptic grouping as a “fringe” interest and insists that the proposed repatriation of power from Brussels will damage Britain’s place in the single market.  And Vince Cable added to the chorus of economic concern by calling for further stimulus: a combination of funded tax cuts, infrastructure investment and Quantitative Easing. And, naturally, everyone has a view on the 50p rate and the income tax threshold. The aim is to make as much noise as possible: despite being in government, this remains the biggest week in the calendar for the party. And it needs some publicity and the chance to make its own case: a poll in today's Sun found that 56 per cent of respondents didn't know what the Lib Dems stand for and 63 per cent of said they "couldn't see the point" of the party.