Conference blog: Can Nick make himself heard?
Just days ago we happily predicted that if the gods of the news agenda were to smile on the Lib Dems, their conference this week in Bournemouth would be an excellent opportunity for them and their leader Nick Clegg to show the voters what they are made of.
Oh dear. A week really is a long time in politics.
As if the ongoing saga of junior ministers vs the PM wasn’t enough to keep the minds of news editors firmly in London, the collapse of Lehman Bros and the spasms of turbulence gripping the financial markets worldwide have ensured that Lib Dems aren’t making headlines.
As he brings the conference to a close, Mr Clegg must impress the world outside with this afternoon’s speech.
We know it will contain more tough talk on cutting taxes and government waste.
The Lib Dems have spotted a gap in the political landscape.
As the two main parties squat and posture on the same patch of the middle ground, the push to be seen as the party of low tax could be a vote winner.
It would need to be. For all their protestations otherwise, the Tories are the ones that keep Lib Dems up at night.
MPs such as Chris Huhne and David Heath, who face Conservative challengers with deep pockets and only a few hundred votes to gain in order to win, must surely be pleased that their party has decided to run on such a traditional tax message.
Let us hope in his first speech as leader, Nick Clegg manages to get his message out into the country.