Yesterday was Nick Clegg’s big moment with his set piece speech (he’s my boss as our Shadow Home Secretary).
Targeting Labour’s favourite tendency – legislation – Nick went for the 3,000 new criminal offences created by Labour (1,300 under Blunkett alone) with the message ‘do less, but do it better’. I guess that’s something Labour just don’t understand. Less is more! Wave after wave of new laws that have broken the Home Office down into a gibbering form of incompetence as they fail to cope. John Reid blaming the civil service for what has been an intolerable torrent of ineffective law.
Far too often Labour goes for bringing in another law that does the same thing as an existing law which hasn’t actually been properly used – which is so often the case.
Nick also reeled off the list of illiberal laws that Labour has brought in taking away our freedoms and indeed, our British values. The right to protest, control orders, curfews, etc etc etc – the list is long, long, long. There is even a law against selling or buying grey squirrels.
So Nick’s big idea is the Great Repeal Act – an Act that will take away unnecessary laws and roll back all the illiberal infringements of our civil liberties. And he wants the public to send in the laws they believe should form part of this – so you can contact www.greatrepealact.com with your ideas.
The basic message is that ‘tough’ and ‘soft’ – the language of Labour and Tories on crime is yesterdays world. For LibDems it’s what is effective that matters.
In the afternoon it was Ming being interviewed by the Guardian’s Michael White (who was quite fabulous I thought). It was Ming in his best setting. He is comfortable and at home in this milieu and came over as relaxed and confident. He did make a mix up with Arctic Monkeys but suffice to say that even Olympic sprinters can occasional encounter a hurdle! But the over-riding impression I got – and indeed always get – is that Ming is a truly decent human being. And in this day and age of political volatility and shallowness – is a welcome change.
And today as I write (Tuesday) is a biggie. Usually they say only two things are certain in life – death and taxes. At the LibDem conference it’s Charlie and taxes!