Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Saturday, 7 August 2010

William Hague will not address #ldconf - but maybe he should

The Daily Mail today has a story that William Hague is to address the Lib Dem conference next month:

The Foreign Secretary, widely seen as one of the best orators in the Commons, is expected to lead a Conservative charm offensive at the gathering in Liverpool in the hope of winning over disaffected LibDem activists.

Tory sources suggest Mr Hague will give a 'witty' address, rather than focusing heavily on policy.

However according to a Cowley Street source that has got in touch it aint true:

William Hague is not part of the conference agenda and I can confirm that he has not been asked to speak at the Liberal Democrat conference. No Conservative ministers have ever been approached to speak at our conference.
Fringe events are still being finalised, and it is of course possible that an independent group may have invited Mr Hague to speak at their Fringe event. But this is no different to any other year and it is common for MPs of all parties to attend these events.

But maybe Hague should be invited to address the main conference. It would not be as high profile as getting David Cameron to address it which may be a good thing and if anyone can leaven the situation with genuine humour (rather than what often passes for politician's humour) whilst still making a good speech it would be Hague. He is by common consensus one of the best communicators of his political generation.

I guess after the rebuttal it is unlikely that any Conservative will address the main conference and that any blue presence will be confined to the fringes.


Susan Gaszczak said...

The agenda has been set and there will be no Tory speakers.

Conference is the one time that we can get our message televised - why would we dilute it with having a Tory speak? OK the written press will bend it this way and that but at least we can try to be us - the Liberal Democrats.

Mark Thompson said...

I don't see why it need be a problem. Whatever Hague (or any other Tory invited to speak) was to say to a Lib Dem audience is bound to be liberal in nature, therefore it could on the contrary send the message that we are helping to moderate Tory instincts.

Also, I would fully expect a quid pro quo at Tory conference which would equally cut into the news cycle in their conference week.

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

Whilst the Coalition endures, there will be no more pathetic spectacle than Lib Dems ardently protesting that no, they really are very much differentiated from the Conservatives and have not been affected let alone contaminated by Coalition arrangements, no really, not at all - quite distinct, no real connection - though enough to be a positive, moderating, wholly beneficial agent of change completely turning the Conservatives away from their previous tendencies to wickedness. No, really so!

In so doing, Lib Dems grant credibility to the New Labour charge - made out of necessity and pique - that the Lib Dems have sold their souls for a few to experience the joy delivered by the trappings of office - at a price of inflicting a Conservative return to power.

If this Coalition really is "new politics" at all then old partisan attitudes need to be modified in step and rather than some nakedly defensive pleading about different identity what is needed is a forthright expression of pride in pioneering a new, better era that recognises more can be achieved together than alone. Fright at Hague's possible attendance is not the way to achieve that: a rumbustious , rousing speech from him praising the Coalition and Lib Dem contribution whilst reminding the delegates and public that his party had made sacrifices and compromises too might well be. Timidity from Lib Dem conference organisers in this matter will not be inspiring.

Jennie Rigg said...

Hague appearing at Lib Dem conference would be too much of a risk for both. You can almost guarantee him getting booed off stage. How would that be good for the coalition or the party or anyone?