Peter Hoskin

The Lib Dems get their lines right

The Lib Dems get their lines right
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So far, so effective from Nick Clegg and his coalition colleagues. They seem to have three key messages for the party faithful in Liverpool – i) c'mon, let's enjoy being in government, ii) we are achieving something in government, and iii) the cuts are necessary – and they're broadcasting them in bulk. Clegg himself is interviewed in the Observer this morning, stressing how the coalition has "helped release the inner Liberal in a fair number of Conservatives". There's a good serving of Danny Alexander, primed, as he is, to take on the trade union militants. And even Vince Cable is striding the parapets for the LibCon cause, with a piece in the Independent on Sunday defending the coalition's cuts and attacking Labour's "devotees of the Tree Theory of Money" (i.e. that money grows on...). The Lib Dems have enjoyed this kind of platform before – but, this time, people are actually listening to them.

There are, it must be said, some discordancies in the Wall of Sound. Speaking to the Mail on Sunday, Lord Greaves frowns that Clegg "ought not to be signing up to so much Tory rubbish". And Sir Menzies Campbell has warned his successor "not to forget old-time [Lib Dem] religion." But I don't think these interventions should be overplayed. For the time being, they are being drowned out by the jamboree going on around them, and they have the air of natural party disgruntlement. If this conference is going to deliver a major split story, then it will need someone like Vince Cable to depart wildly from the script – or else a much louder provocation than we've seen up till now.