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Last Updated: Monday, 27 September, 2004, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Charles Kennedy speech: Your views
Charles Kennedy
Charles Kennedy has given the final speech of the Liberal Democrat convention in Bournemouth.

At 26% compared to 13%, Mr Kennedy's party now stands at twice the level in the opinion polls than it did before the last general election.

Mr Kennedy believes that his crusade to turn the Liberal Democrats into the "real" party of opposition has been a major success.

However his detractors accuse him of producing an economic package that does not add up and of attempting to be all things to all voters.

What did you think of Charles Kennedy's speech? Do you think he has achieved his aim of making the Liberal Democrats the "real" party of opposition?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

People perceive them as a high tax party.
Scott, B'ham, UK
Lib Dems always show popularity prior to any general election but can never appear to make the breakthrough. I think it is because people perceive them as a high tax party and when it comes to the crunch people would rather stay with the devil they know. The next election will be no different.
Scott, B'ham, UK

This is a party that can, and do, promise absolutely anything knowing that they will never come to power. They will pick up the discontented Labour and Conservative voters in the next election. It's about time we had a 'None of the above' box on the ballot form to show just how much we all feel for any of the parties.
Tony, Horbury, UK

If the Liberal Democrats are so 'close to power' why is it that they did so badly in the last round of Euro elections? Could it be that because their views on Europe and the Euro are unacceptable to the majority of people? Don't forget the Lib Dems would have joined the Euro years ago no matter what. All their recent boastful remarks really do remind me of David Steel's hysterically funny 'go back to your constituencies and prepare for Government' speech just before the 1983 election - when they won a pathetic 23 seats. That was really "breaking the mould of British politics" that result. Wake up Kennedy - you've got no chance of becoming PM. The Liberal Democrats could never be judged as a true opposition' to Labour simply because they are (like Labour) another high taxing left wing party and agree with so much that Labour offer (they usually vote with Labour in the end). Like it or not the only real alternative to Labour are the Tories.
Graham, London

Interesting times, the Lib Dems are clearly becoming electable and I say that as a traditional labour voter, I think the old 2 party system has smothered real choice with Labour and the Tories offering two shades of bland, maybe it is time to think the unthinkable....
mike f, Chelmsford UK

They really are a protest party at the moment. Most people vote for them because of their moral stance against the Iraq war. This probably does make them the real party of opposition, but it doesn't make them fit for government.
David, Birmingham, UK

The Lib Dems have finally got their message across
Pete Smith, Bristol, UK
Charles Kennedy's optimism is justified. The Lib Dems have finally got their message across and can be expected to make the all important breakthrough within the next decade at least. Their biggest obstacle is the electoral system that disadvantages them- but they definitely have the support.
Pete Smith, Bristol, UK

The Liberal Democrats are a small party with a worthwhile role as the naive conscience of British politics. But that's not the same thing as being electable, or being trusted with the UK economy. Which is why they will always be a sideshow when it comes to general elections.
David, Leicester, UK

I have always been a Lib Dem voter and believe that they do stand a good chance of coming to power at the next election - not only for their policies but mainly because the Conservatives are out-dated and Labour have failed us with the Iraq war.
Karen, Edinburgh

The Lib Dems are good for the Conservatives, because they help to take tactical votes away from Blair. But a credible government ... no chance.
Ed Johnson, Zurich, Switzerland (ex-UK)

The Lib Dems will make life an expensive tax-based hell for anyone earning above the minimum wage
Mo C, UK
I was very nearly a Lib Dem voter. Until they decided that single people like myself who work full time in order to have a half-decent life would have to pay more council tax to make sure that people who have multiple children without any thought as to how they would finance them can have a better life. The Lib Dems will make life an expensive tax-based hell for anyone earning above the minimum wage - they certainly won't be getting MY vote.
Mo C, UK

Part of what he says makes sense but until he stops his "Europe is good" trip he won't be getting my vote.
Phil, UK

Give the man a chance...Lib Dems are the only party that listens to the public.
Lee Sutcliffe, Bradford, UK

I am living in Australia at the moment. It is blissful. These people actually like their country and are proud of their history. The liberal elite of which the lib dems are the head, seem to hate their country and its history and would try to destroy everything of value in Britain in the name of equality. Britain is becoming a horrible place to live and I'm really thinking about emigrating. If the lib dems get in, thankfully unlikely, I'd certainly leave.
Rodric Jenkin, England

I think that the Liberal Democrat increase in support has been due to the fact the Conservatives are seen by many as offering the same as Labour. However, I fear that question marks over the ability of Charles Kennedy to be PM and how some of the policies are going to work in practice. Until the Party learns to change the way these two things are portrayed in the media I cannot see them coming to power.
Matt Webb, UK

Instead of telling everyone he wants to be leader of the opposition... he had better be telling the Electorate he could actually become PM
Lionel, Leeds, UK

Charles Kennedy should be telling the public he is ready to be PM and Lib Dems are ready for power. Why does he think the Lib Dems are incapable of wining the election? Instead of telling everyone he wants to be leader of the opposition... he had better be telling the Electorate he could actually become PM.
Lionel, Leeds, UK

Ready or not, the Liberal Democrats are lacking the consistent high profile media coverage of their two seniors. Until they start to hammer home the core concepts of Liberalism, such as imposing constraints on power and making it accountable, the importance liberty of thought and within reason, action, people will just not realise how relevant their policies are to today's political climate.
Dean Close, London, England

The problem with the Liberal Democrats is that they remain anonymous - who can name more than three members of their shadow cabinet? Even at the end of their conference, their image is still that of a "me too!" party, without any realistic policies on the important aspects of foreign affairs (not Europe), defence and health. They need a major marketing image upgrade, starting with the selection with a charismatic leader who has Prime Ministerial appeal. However, they do have the right idea on a number of things, particularly environment and Europe. The best of a bad lot?
Lenny P, Guildford

The Lib Dems are a party of tax, tax and more tax. They intend to destroy rural life with PC policies and leave us to Euro ruin.
Nick Strange, Crawley, UK

I too as a floating voter watched the LD Conference and they came over generally as a party moving in the right direction all be it not as liberal as many of us would like them to be. The drawback for me over the Lib Dems is their leader; for in Kennedy they have a person who just does not have the credibility or media skills to command respect and support. Yes to the party, no to Kennedy.
Neil, Stockport

Go back to your constituencies, and prepare dinner.
Peter Moore, Edinburgh

Frankly the Lib Dems are irrelevant
Phil, Market Drayton

We live in a country which has the fourth strongest economy in the world, where unemployment and inflation are at record low levels compared with any time in the last 20 years, where redistribution from the rich to the poor has been taking place apparently without anyone noticing, where there is clear light at the end of the tunnel for the NHS, where there are more teachers, doctors, nurses, than seven years ago, where even the railways are beginning to glimmer, where power has been devolved, where there is now a minimum wage. I could go on. Frankly the Lib Dems are irrelevant.
Phil, Market Drayton

Kennedy's speech indicates that it is the only party which understands the real problems that British society faces. Not only Iraq but also the problems related to urban poverty, youth, council taxes, police and the streets of Britain and the health services. I do not understand why anyone should think that after the election it will be "real" party of opposition. It will almost certainly be the party to govern as the Tories have lost credibility and Labour has not only regressed in every department of services but spent billions of the nation's hard earned money joining USA invasion of Iraq.
Abulkjhair Sarhandi, Bristol UK

The real boost for the Lib Dems is their stance on the Iraq war. But it is easy for them to take such a stance, as they are minor opposition party. But were they to ever come to power, could they ever take such a stance then? Could they afford to distance themselves from our Atlantic counterparts, potentially endangering trade relations?
Julian, London

OK so the Lib Dems have 26% support. Wow! Looking at the alternatives it's hardly surprising. However we may think we are in a mess with the current Westminster Government but just imagine five years of Kennedy and co at the helm. Reading Liberal history makes me realise that there is zero "liberalism" in their policies merely just knee jerk socialism, with a bit of cloud cuckoo ideas on law and order thrown in for good measure.
Ed Hollinshead, UK

It does look as if the Lib Dems are nearly there
Keith L, Rayleigh, England
I did watch the conference and I will watch the other parties as well. It does look as if the Lib Dems are nearly there. As a floating voter I believe the huge Labour majority has been damaging for the country and produced a virtual dictatorship and the Commons has ceased to be democratic and I think the people will benefit if there is a better balance. The gap between the parties has narrowed and so now I believe it will be about who has a credible team, with good principles, that could run the country well. Kennedy gets more confident every year and yes I can now visualise him doing the job and a credible back up team emerging to support him.
Keith L, Rayleigh, England

Liberal by name illiberal by nature. The Lib Dems are fatuous fantasists whose policies are at best sixth form and contradictory. Amusingly they talk of liberty at the same time wanting to expand the state massively. They are and will be a disaster. Luckily they still aren't a realistic force.
Dave, Croydon, Surrey

Frankly I don't think that any of the current generation of politicians represent me, and I refuse to choose the least bad of the rest even if its the Lib Dems.
Richard Read, London, UK

Charles Kennedy and the Lib Dems have jumped upon every passing band wagon over the last twenty years. I cannot believe that anyone believes that they are a credible political party let alone opposition. Anyone considering voting Lib Dem should speak to people who live in areas where they control the Local Authority. Would be voters, would quickly change their minds.
John A Turner, Barry UK

All Kennedy needs to remember is "go back to your constituencies and prepare for government". This phrase still haunts the party and I don't see what they've done to shake it off. Get real Charlie, you've got no chance of power, you might win a few more seats but that's all. You might offer a different way, but we've already had the Third Way and what did that amount to in the end?
Nick Rowe, Manchester UK

The Lib Dems cannot be much worse than the other two parties for governing this country and they also have the added bonus of having been consistently opposed to Bush's hasty invasion of Iraq and may thus prove to offer the best hope of being able to sort out the mess in Iraq in cooperation with the rest of the World rather than with those now in charge there.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

The Lib Dem top team has a newly developed gravitas which certainly gives it the credibility to be the official opposition. Having said that, this has been helped by the proliferation of lightweights on the Tory front bench.
Moray Barclay, Windsor, Berkshire

Good Luck to the Lib least they have mapped out their policies with honesty, although I am not a big fan of the policies themselves. One thing I am bemused about though, every interview with Kennedy and his team the opportunity is never lost to attack the Tories...not Labour...but the Tories. It is a cynical way of targeting the current opposition rather than the current government.
Richard B, Horsham, UK

A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for Labour by another name. Big taxes and a bizarrely liberal and pro-EU agenda will utterly destroy the UK. They will not get my vote.
John Atkins, Bridgwater, England

In my view, Labour can't be trusted! Howard "has something of the night about him". Kennedy, well why not, at least he hasn't actually lied to me yet. But hold on, why not vote for a true representative and get some independents in. That would shock these politicians and perhaps we as a nation would actually make progress.
Steve, Fleet UK

The Lib Dems are no longer a joke party or a wasted vote
Danny Blakeley, Bournemouth, England
I feel the Lib Dems have there best chance in years to become the number 2 party in the UK. Labour will win the next election, but will lose seats to the Lib Dems as will the Tories. The Lib Dems are no longer a joke party or a wasted vote and hold real promise for the next election.
Danny Blakeley, Bournemouth, England

I implore the British public, just because something is different does not make it better! I have closely watched the coverage of their conference and behind all the 'free-market', 'less regulation' spin they are the same bunch of tax the middle classes till the pips squeak lot of old.
James Marriott, London, UK

I started voting for them about eight years ago when the priority was to get rid of the local Tory MP and councillors. Our Lib Dem MP and council are now seen to be doing a good job and genuinely cares about the local community. I think its too soon for the Lib Dems to win the next election but they certainly have a fair shout of burying the Tories into third place.
Chris Turner, Surbiton, UK

It seems to me that there is nothing to lose by voting Lib-Dem. Even with the billions earned by selling off national assets, the Tories made a complete shambles of the country. Labour earns billions by sensible economic policies, and then blows the lot on bombing Iraqis! A plague on both their houses, it's the Lib-Dems for me!
Tom, UK

I find it fascinating how people in this country are fixated with talking about politics as a two dimensional space, as if a third dimension isn't worth having. We live in three dimensional world and I don't see why three dimensional politics is such a difficult concept to grasp. Could Charles Kennedy make the Lib Dems a party of opposition? Of course he could, but it depends upon the small minded people of this country being prepared for once to think differently
Ernie Proctor, Rochdale, UK

Whilst, on the face of it, no-one could do a worse job than Labour, and the Tories just do not appeal, the Lib-Dems still have one problem to my mind. They have positioned themselves to the left of Labour (not difficult), but are trying to woo the Conservative vote.
John, Selby, UK

The day that these opportunists become the official opposition or, heaven forbid, the government of the day will be a sad day for Britain. The shifting sands of Liberal Democrat principles make it very difficult for the public to see this party for what they really are. Left of Labour, high tax, pro mass immigration and Europhile to the core!
Ian Jerram, Chesterfield, England

Mr Kennedy is deluding himself, just as his predecessors have done in the past. They do make a valuable contribution to politics in this country, but they are not going to come to power. It should also be noted that their past record shows that they will prop up a Labour minority government if they get the chance. A vote for the Liberals is a proxy vote for Labour.
Paul, Bracknell, UK

Opinion polls and by-elections are one thing, general elections quite another
Chris Parker, Buckingham, UK
Opinion polls and by-elections are one thing, general elections quite another. The Liberal Democrats are very good at generating publicity around certain events, e.g. by-elections, conference time, however I suspect they will not make it when it comes to the general election. A much more worrying factor is the general poor quality of politicians from all parties. We have, in my view, a Government which is arrogant and incompetent beyond belief and there is no one capable of stopping it. The danger is that people will turn to extremist parties or just not bother. Both do not bode well for the future of democracy.
Chris Parker, Buckingham, UK

Time for a change, I think! The Lib-Dems will certainly bring new eyes, new blood, and fresh enthusiasm compared with Labour or the Conservatives.
John, Milton Keynes

If the Lib Dem council here in York is anything to go by we are in trouble! They have totally emasculated the roads and hiked taxes beyond all common sense. I see Charles Kennedy as a threat whose promises to be all things to all people will end in trouble.
Jake Harlow, York, England

Let's face it many of us feel let down by the Labour for a whole host of reasons - the war in Iraq, poor organisation of asylum, Europe of which the problems are many and varied - I'm sure this list could go on. Now look at the opposition party. Instead of giving voters clear ideas on how they intend to tackle the issues we care about, they attempt to score points off Mr Blair, highlighting where he has failed. We know where he failed. What we need now is a way to begin solving our problems. From my point of view the Lib Dems increased popularity is not from any success of theirs but more because Labour and the Tories are failing.
Jaki, Swindon, UK

The Lib Dems have said nothing about what they're going to do to reduce taxation or regulation (either on businesses or on the individual). To me they're still a party wedded to principles of high taxation which means they'll never get my vote.
Roger Price, Nr. Reading, UK

In my view, the first Lib Dem MP in my area has made a total hash of things and if that was to be replicated on a grand scale I really fear for this country! The Lib Dems policies are all over the place, and I really don't fancy the 40 new taxes on everything from dogs to plastic bags that they have lined up.
Mary Smith, England

Why have the Liberal Democrats gained so much credit for opposing the Iraq war? When it comes to opposing wars they are the usual suspects. Their opposition to the war was genuine enough but the way they have exploited the situation has been quite cynical.
Alan Brown, Manchester, England

If the Lib Dems become the opposition I am emigrating, as this country will have lost all common sense. Has anyone actually read the Lib Dem manifesto plans? It's a terrifying mix of big tax hikes, light sentencing for prisoners and prostrating ourselves before Europe. Not much different from Labour really! I will be voting for Michael Howard, as his tough stance on criminals seems to stand out from the other two parties.
Leslie Davis, Cheadle, United Kingdom

One major advantage of a Lib Dem government is a change to the voting system to finally make the UK democratic
Ian, UK
I hope they do win. The Tories are a mess, Labour cannot be trusted. One major advantage of a Lib Dem government is a change to the voting system to finally make the UK democratic. As it stands today, a government can be formed with a huge majority even if over 60% of the public do not want them in power. Let's hope the UK electorate will see sense and vote for a change
Ian, UK

Heavens I hope not! I live under a Lib Dem-controlled council in London and its awful! Shambolic incompetence, lip-service paid to local democracy and tax-and-spend out of control.
James, London, UK

The Lib Dems would be the most pointless opposition ever. They are pro-European, just like Labour and agree with the Government on most other key issues. I will never view the Lib Dems as a credible opposition. After the next election, I would like to see a Conservative Government with a Labour opposition.
Steve, UK

The Lib Dem conference has showed just how barmy these people are. Go-karting for joy riders? Taxing people with large families who need 4x4s? The Tories newest policies seem far more sensible to me and I will vote for them.
Jon Harrison, Hartington, West Derbyshire, England

They will do a much better job than Blair and co. I look forward to the day when the Liberals are in power. At least we won't get lied to and that can only be good for us.
Alex, Scotland

The self congratulatory communal back patting going on in the Liberal Democratic party is embarrassing and reminiscent of the Kinnock election gaffe a few year back. The Liberals like the other parties have got to understand, this is not about winning power, it is about offering a credible alternative policies. All politicians seem to get wrapped up in their own little world and sometimes forget this.
Ian, Bradford UK

I see no reason why they could not run the country as well, if not better, as the two main parties. They have had plenty of experience, and success, in local government, with notable success in some major towns and cities. The Conservative and Labour parties have had their chances - both have led us into pointless wars and failed to invest in the country's infrastructure leading to a run down of transport, education and health services in the pursuit of a low tax economy, which we now know doesn't work. The Lib Dems are upfront in telling people that they will have to pay for good quality services, and because of their honesty, I think they should be given a chance to lead the country
Pauline Fothergill, Halifax, West Yorkshire

Never in this world is this party ready for "power". They do not represent anything like the majority of the people's views concerning Europe and they are generally weak on matters of Law and Order.
Chris Green, Hagley, Worcs, England

The Lib Dems have shown themselves to be a genuine alternative to the other parties
Philippa, UK
Charles Kennedy's detractors accuse him of nothing that Labour and Conservative are not guilty of themselves. In recent years, the Lib Dems have shown themselves to be a genuine alternative to the other parties rather than a lap-dog to whichever they could latch on to. I no longer see them as a wasted vote, in fact, I feel that I would be wasting my vote more if I gave it to the Conservatives who are no better than they were in the 80s and Labour who seem to have lost all social conscience. Good luck to them. I hope others feel the same.
Philippa, UK

The Lib Dems have become the real opposition because of the behaviour of Labour and the Tories. Their policies are virtually the same so if you want anything different the only option is the Lib Dems. I don't agree with everything the Lib Dems say but faced with the options of right-wing Labour or shambling Tories then the Lib Dems will probably get my vote.
Peter, London

Get Real Mr Kennedy!
Catherine, 21, Cheshunt, Herts

The figure 26% is over a quarter of the electorate. However, if the Lib Dems achieve this share of the vote, they will have much less than a quarter of the MPs due to the crazy "first past the post" system in the UK. The electoral system is long overdue for reform and replacement with a more equitable form of proportional representation. However, I wish the Liberal Democrats every success. Even if I don't agree with all of their policies, I will vote for them as I think they can be trusted and they will do what they genuinely believe is right: a stark contrast to the self-serving, hypocritical, power-crazed politicians in both New Labour and the Conservative party. For the record, I earn over 100k so would be one of the people caught by their proposed 50% tax rate for high-earners. I will certainly wince at the extra tax but admire the Lib Dems for their honesty, another stark contrast to New Labour who promised not to raise income tax but treated the electorate as stupid by introducing so many stealth taxes.
Simon Robinson, London

Through Iraq, some daft polices and reactionary laws and actions the Labour party has shown itself in my view not fit for government. What is the point in listening to what they have to offer for the next few years, they change their mind all the time? The Conservatives are still out of date, and run by a man who only a few years ago, was one of the most disliked men in politics and for good reasons. The Tories still need some work before they should come back. The Lib Dems however, opposed Iraq and have some fresh policies and ideas. It is a time to give them a chance and believe in them. Instead of moaning about Labour and Conservatives and then staying at home on election day, go and vote for change!
Andrew, Aylesbury, UK

Tactical voting will probably help them, as before, but until we have Proportional Representation they are unlikely to break through the two-party system. And of course it's now two right-wing parties, so the Lib Dems must position themselves further left.
Geoff Kerr, Todmorden, UK

I have to say, I agree with many of the things Charles Kennedy says; however, so long as any blighter that nicks my car is rewarded with go-karting lessons, he won't get my vote!
Ged Shaw, Rotherham, UK

Well, to start with, of you don't believe in yourself, nobody will, and 26% with still more than 6 months to go, is a pretty good stand. Considering the mess Blair has created in Iraq and the volcano called Basra the British soldiers are sitting in, in Iraq, it won't take long from Blair and the New Labour to be "History".
Rakesh, London, UK

The Lib Dems are ready and are effectively the opposition already, with the conservative and labour sharing the same policies. The only thing they lack is funding, and this may cause them big problems come the election.
Nathan Hobbs, Luton, UK

Everything they do or say is a knee-jerk reaction
Peter Cane, Reading, UK
No way. The sad fact of life is that the Lib Dems wouldn't know a policy if it walked out in front of them. Everything they do or say is a knee-jerk reaction to something else that has happened. As a habitual Tory voter, I did genuinely believe that the old SDP under David Owen in the 80's would break the mould of British politics as they promised, and give us a true party of the centre. Unfortunately, he was pushed out of the way, and the SDP swallowed up by the left of centre monolithic liberal party, where it remains to this day. A politically correct left of centre party in government under Charles Kennedy? Sounds no different to Blair's New Labour. Yes, I want to see the back of Blair's cronyism, and Brown's stealth taxes, but the Lib Dems? Never!
Peter Cane, Reading, UK

The real thanks for the rise of the 'Lib Dems' should go to those out of touch Tories who still believe that Mrs Thatcher was a good PM and elected Mr Howard as the current leader. Sorry Mr Kennedy to me you are still the least worse choice.
Barry P, Havant England

No, I think Charles Kennedy is preying on a perception that most of the general public are frustrated with the alternatives. I think a significant number of people may be disenchanted with the Tory and Labour parties and feel that their offerings provide somewhat of a dilemma. Neither the Tory or Labour party is a particularly attractive choice (perhaps this explains voter apathy during election time), and I believe that the public at large are weary of the political process in general. We see images on our TV screens from the House of Commons, where important political issues are dogged by opportunistic schoolyard bickering. I believe that people want a party and leader who will make a real difference, and provide a clear choice for most of us. I don't believe the Liberal Democrats have achieved this. I for one, am not convinced.
Andy, Cheshire, UK

Unfortunately despite Mr Kennedy's best efforts to make the Liberal Democrats the 'real opposition', for me the party's policies are unbelievable and impractical. Mr Kennedy doesn't strike me as a man who can handle the pressure of being the main representative for the UK in Europe, the US and beyond.
Leanne, Dundee, UK

Let's face it they can't be worse than the 17 painful years of Tory rule or the 7 years of Tony Labour. I say give the Lib Dems their chance.
Richard Corless, Bridgend, S Wales, UK

The Lib Dems can now go back top their constituencies and prepare for government. A Labour government, with a Tory opposition.
RC Robjohn, UK

The Liberal Democrats will be ready for power when the British public refuse to vote for parties who are funded by foreign tycoons and big businesses. Parties should be supported by ordinary voters, not bribed by others!
Simon Richardson, London, UK

I would like to see them go from 3rd to 2nd position. I think they would make a very opposition. I think it would be a stretch to see them winning the next election, but I can certainly see them doing even better at the expense of the Tories for sure and Labour to a point. If I didn't vote Labour, I would vote the Lib Dem.
Michael Przeniczny, Manchester, UK

Ye Gods, I hope not. Tax-heavy Europhile zealots with no sound spending plan? Doesn't sound like a party of Britain to me.
Russ, London, UK

No one can deny that the Lib-Dems have come a long way in recent years
Chris Ivory, Bristol, England
No one can deny that the Lib-Dems have come a long way in recent years. However it has been a long a torturous route, to travel not so far. The problem is that the Party still has no gravitas and appears to have made progress, due to the appalling nature of the Conservative Party as an alternative, which appears to lurch from one extreme to another. If Mr Kennedy and his colleagues really wants to be the leader of the opposition, then they will have to shed their image, which still prevails, quite unfairly, of amateurism. The image portrayed, and their policy presentation is almost akin to anyone's dreams of what is would do with a large lottery win at the moment. They need to make opposition their own, rather than relying on the Conservative's deservedly bad showing.
Chris Ivory, Bristol, England

I hope so. I've always fancied karting but couldn't afford it. Now, if the Lib Dems have their way, all I've got to do is nick a car then join the Oaten school of motor racing. And we wonder why the UK is going down the pan!
Paul B, Oxford, UK

The day that the Lib Dems get into power will be the day I emigrate to Baghdad. Agreed Tony and his cronies are no good, but this lot .... ?
Paul, Wales

They can't be any less ready than the shabby bunch who are in power now!
Michael Scott, London

Until recently I had thought that the Lib Dems were the party with views closest to my own, but recent announcements about how they are against the use of 4x4 vehicles has left me with no party that I can support at all. There may be an argument against the use of these vehicles within major cities, but they are totally ignoring the fact that some people really do need such vehicles in order to earn a living, so the Lib Dems are effectively saying that their policy is tax such people out of work. Is there a precondition for entering politics that demands the removal of all common sense?
Matt, Birmingham, UK

It doesn't really matter who wins Tory Lib Dem or Labour they all spout the same tripe and are equally out of touch with reality.
Alan, UK

Labour have clearly annoyed a lot of voters including students and pensioners with their unfavourable policies. Subsequently, this is where many of their votes will come which could give them a good platform to come the official opposition to Labour.
Zak Kahn, Glasgow, Scotland

If Blair... is elected again I will leave the UK for good
Steve Porter, Reading, England
If Blair, who is arguably a war criminal, and who undoubtedly has refused to acknowledge his disgraceful role in the mess that has become Iraq, is elected again I will leave the UK for good. He has misled the public and parliament and trampled on democracy in order to carry out his functions as Bush's hired thug. Charles Kennedy is the only one with anything getting close to moral authority. Thousands dead and billions wasted financially. That is unforgivable.
Steve Porter, Reading, England

They will never get in power. They are too naive, too high minded, too liberal, too soft, too much like a bunch of busy body interfering old grannies. And they want to tax virtually everything. They want dog tax, plastic bag tax, vat on homes, parking space tax, private pensions tax, 4x4 tax, graduate tax, multinationals tax, pesticide tax, water meters tax, the list just goes on and on and on. Some words for them. Get real and get lost!
Geraint Hughes, Birmingham

How can we trust any political party in the UK now? They ALL form policies on the basis of gaining votes, not based on their beliefs. With only 55 MPs currently Lib Dems, the turnaround would have to be staggering & record breaking at the next election. I am sorry Charles, even by pandering to the Muslim, Class War & Tax The Rich voters you still have no chance. Anyway, you are a Scot, be proud of that & go sit in Holyrood. Most Englishmen I know would never knowingly vote for a Scot now because of the disastrous Barnett Formula - an openly discriminatory piece of nasty racist legislation against the English - and as we know a policy that you not only support, but wish to expand upon.
roger, whitwick England

Thinking of emigrating? Not a chance! Your money comes in and goes out because there's not a chance of saving it. At least some people are coming round to realize how bad home-economics is in this country!
Johny, UK

I think that the Lib Dems would be a more credible second party than the Tories
name here
I don't believe that we're heading for a three-party system, but I think that the Lib Dems would be a more credible second party than the Tories. If the Tories continue down their current route of self-destruction then the Lib Dems are perfectly positioned to take their place. This would have the additional benefit of moving British politics back to the left.
Dave Cross, London, UK

The Lib Dems attract a protest vote from disillusioned Tories who don't want to vote Labour, and from disillusioned Labour supporters who don't want to vote Tory. Oh yes, and a few who want to see a Lib Dem government. If they ever do get in I'll be emigrating as I'm groaning under the weight of Blair's taxes already without Kennedy piling on even more. I don't want to struggle to pay my own mortgage while paying through the nose in tax so someone who has never worked in their life can live in a house the same as mine.
Jonny, England

The Lib-Dems can only gain seats by what they now consider the perfect way to run a general election campaign, by asking those that vote labour to vote lib-dem in a Tory seat thus keeping the Tories out and asking Tory voters to vote Lib-Dem in a Labour seat to get Labour out! What kind of win is that, you can't have a government in power on protest votes!!! they have to be able to govern and you can see how hard that is if they only have policies that change for whoever they are speaking to at the time, ask Labour they have been trying to be all things to all people for the last seven years!
pat, Sussex

As long as Labour and the Tories continue to blur into one party it's refreshing to see that there is a credible alternative
Gordon Jones, Fife, Scotland
As a committed LibDem voter, I despair of comments calling them irrelevant and never having a chance of getting into power. As long as Labour and the Tories continue to blur into one party it's refreshing to see that there is a credible alternative to prevent the UK going down the same route as the US 2-party political system.
Gordon Jones, Fife, Scotland

Kennedy has failed to capitalise on Blair's treason. He should take note of Alex Salmond's recent key note speech at the SNP conference - at last a politician who is prepared to say what needs to be said, that Blair is a war criminal who should be hounded from office and impeached for what he has done. I am not Scottish and live in England but would vote SNP for this reason alone given the chance.
Nick B, Reading UK

As far as I am concerned the Lib Dems are overwhelming proof that we have a two-party system, Labour and Conservative. The day that Lib Dems get into power I will be packing my bags and taking my education and experience to another country as it would be wasted here.
Richard Scott, Iver UK

I wish we could have the best politicians from all parties to join together to form a 'real' Government.
Ann, London

Sadly, the only "power" Mr Kennedy is capable of handling is that little switch on the wall that gives "power" to his light bulbs. Look, Charles .... MAGIC ..... Wheeeeeeeeee!!!!
Ian, Brit in USA

The Lib Dems need to find a leader with a better handling of the English language than Kennedy has. How would foreigners people from other nations understand the leader of a nation that claims to have English as its mother tongue if Kennedy was leader?
Graham Wright, Aberdeen, UK


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