The full transcript can be found here.
Tim is one of those people who when he talks, when I see him on TV/hear him on the radio, I stop and listen. He just has that enthusiasm that is so infectious, you can really tell that he is fighting for what he believes and if you were wavering draws you back in to fight along side him.
He starts his speech in just the right way, firstly bringing up the concerns many people had about the security clearance that was necessary. This may sounds little to non-members of the party but it has been a really big issue for the party so it was good to see the Party President recognising it. He follows this quite rightly with the disaster of May. My local party was one of the few to buck the trend so I haven't felt it as much as others, but the disaster of the elections earlier this year was real and is still raw, it needed to be highlighted.
It was really great to hear the story about how he was first was politicised and he is spot on:
"Because if homelessness, poverty and inequality are wrong, then not doing something to stop them is equally wrong."
The really key piece of the speech has been highlighted by the excellent Mark Pack over on the Lib Dem Voice:
"But there are 18 Liberal Democrats who don’t have the luxuries that I do.
They can’t just sound off if they don’t like government policy or trot through the no lobby on occasions – rare occasions – to demonstrate their disagreement.
They are our ministers.
And while I’m parading my conscience around the TV studios saying the right things, they are busy in their departments doing the right things.
On those very, very rare occasions when Michael Gove says or does something stupid or wrong, Sarah Teather doesn’t come out and slag him off. Instead she fixes it.
Free schools for example!
When the Tories showed hesitancy about committing to true and fair banking reforms, Vince Cable laid on the pressure and forced that commitment.
And when George Osborne flew the kite of cutting income tax for the wealthy, Danny Alexander cut the string, and stopped him."
Loving the Michael Gove reference, but he is just right. As I've said before we saw 13 years of infighting by a Labour government, I think we are doing a pretty good job of showing the public that it doesn't have to be like that - too good really. That is why people like Tim are needed, he needs to continue to sound off, I think he is doing an excellent job of this and hopefully he'll continue to do so.
"Going into coalition was absolutely the right thing for the country, but costly for the party."
I have said this for quite a long time now, the fact is we are in Government for the right reasons, not for the good of the party but the good of the country so even if we get a kicking in the polls, in the ballot box we can still hold our head high.
His comments regarding the divorce from the marriage have been widely reported as breaking up the coalition, however they are just being realistic. The fact is we will be fighting the next election as separate parties, in order to facilitate this there will need to be a period beforehand where the parties separate, this is not him calling for us to end the coalition as soon as possible, just when is practical!
Many media outlets have been reporting this as a push to be the next leader. I don't think for one second that this is what is concerning Tim, which is why he would make an excellent candidate when Nick does finally step aside.