Well I just watched the whole of the manifesto launch online. I have not had time to go through all the detail yet but its headlines are to focus on the 4 key themes which I think is the right way to go.
There were brief contributions from Sarah Teather, Danny Alexander and Vince Cable (who did well as always) but Nick Clegg's speech about the manifesto and then the way he handled questions from the media afterwards was very good. He was solid on the details, able to go in depth into ways in which savings could be made and nothing phased him. He even came across as quite statesman like at some points suggesting that irrespective of whoever wins the election, all parties will need to come together to be honest about the scale of the deficit and what needs to be done about it.
Even some non-Lib Dems on Twitter seemed to be impressed with Clegg, many of them the sort of people who would normally not hesitate to criticise which I think shows it is not just my party bias coming through here.
I live-tweeted the whole thing. Here are a few of my thoughts as I tweeted them:
Cable raises the issue of the structural deficit which is at about £70 billion and how #LibDems will tackle it.Cable states there is no need for tax rises apart from £2 billion levy on banks. #LibDemsCable: Society needs solidarity to get through difficult times + this is achieved by fairness in tax system. #LibDemsNick Clegg: We should take power away from those vested interests who hoard it. #LibDems#LibDems manifesto would hard-wire fairness into British society: CleggWe will change the voting system so that every vote matters #LibDems - Oh yeah! Tickle my political erogenous zones Cleggy!Clegg: Two other parties are conspiring to airbrush the recession out of the election campaign #LibDemsClegg sounding really passionate now as he talks about fairness and potential for people #'LibDemsGood to hear Clegg describing no overall majority as a "balanced parliament". Hope that catches on more. #LibDemsClegg is very on top of the detail of this manifesto. Bodes well for the leaders debate tomorrow #LibDemsWell I know I'm biased but overall a very impressive performance from Nick Clegg at the manifesto launch. #LibDems
Finally, just one thought to end on for now. Crispian Jago on Twitter drew my attention to one specific part of the manifesto: "Here's a novel idea from the lib dem manifesto: "Always base drugs policy on independent scientific advice" #scivote". Great stuff!