Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 11:20 UK

'Insurrection in the air' - Clegg

Nick Clegg
Nick Clegg: Chance for a genuine new direction

The British people "are ready for change" - and the Liberal Democrats are the only party that can make it happen, their leader Nick Clegg claims.

He says there is "insurrection in the air" following rows over the 10p tax rate, the local elections and the Crewe & Nantwich by-election.

And while David Cameron "charms the birds out of the trees", Gordon Brown's government is "circling the drain".

He says only the Lib Dems say how they would deliver "a more liberal Britain".

In an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Clegg says "no-one can doubt the mood of the country anymore".

The Cameroons have started to believe their own hype: insisting on their right to enter Number 10 without working out what they'd do once the door closed behind them
Nick Clegg

"There is insurrection in the air - the British people are ready for change and they don't believe Labour can deliver it," he said.

The Conservatives have "painted an image of a brave new world, where the sun shines and David Cameron charms the birds out of the trees", he said.

"The Cameroons have started to believe their own hype: insisting on their right to enter Number 10 without working out what they'd do once the door closed behind them.

"Their strategy is simple enough: why bother choosing policies when the government is shooting itself in the foot?"

He mocked Mr Cameron's "crocodile tears" for the families affected by the abolition of the 10p tax rate - while calling for a cut in inheritance tax "for the richest 6% of people".

"He tells us to 'go green', but won't commit to specific policies to help us," he said.

Tax cut commitment

"He has preached about personal privacy, but wants to abolish Data Protection laws. Like Labour, he promises to decentralise, but steers clear of explaining how or when.

"Currently this incoherence is the Tory party's greatest strength: they can't be pinned to anything people don't like. But it's no serious programme for government.

"It offers nothing to people concerned about knife crime, or worried about higher fuel bills.

"The public has been promised the moon on a stick by Mr Cameron. Soon they will start to ask how he'll get it for them - and a gleaming smile won't be enough."

Mr Clegg contrasted this attitude to the Lib Dems, who were "committed" to cutting taxes for low and middle income families, fairer pensions for women, extra funding for children with special needs, a patient guarantee and protecting the environment.

With the Brown government circling the drain, there is the chance for a genuine new direction for the country
Nick Clegg

"We'll make polluters pay, so we can cut taxes for ordinary families, charge a toll for lorry road journeys, so we can invest in a high-speed rail network, put fair charges on air travel and support local recycling and green energy."

He said people "deserve to know what a party will do if it wins - without detail the public has no sense of values of a politician, still less any evidence that they'll stand by them".

"With the Brown government circling the drain, there is the chance for a genuine new direction for the country," he said.

Mr Clegg's article comes as his party steps up its campaigning in Henley ahead of a by-election which is expected to be prompted by Tory MP Boris Johnson stepping down to concentrate on being London mayor.

The party, which came second in Henley at the last election, will be hoping to do better than they did in Crewe and Nantwich last week, where the Conservatives gained the seat from Labour, leaving the Lib Dems stuck in third place.

SEE ALSO
Clegg sets out tax-cutting plans
20 May 08 |  Politics
Clegg attacks 'ragbag' proposals
14 May 08 |  Politics
Cameron 'will seek to reduce tax'
19 May 08 |  Politics
Osborne dismisses tax cut calls
03 Oct 06 |  Politics
Cameron pledges 'dynamic' economy
28 Mar 08 |  Politics
Brown 'standing firm' on economy
15 Apr 08 |  Politics

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