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EDITIONS
Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 07:59 GMT 08:59 UK
Write Kennedy's speech
The party leader's speech at conference is a key moment in the political year.

So what would you suggest if you were one of Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy's speechwriters this week?

You'd need a good soundbite, a decent joke and a chunk of political meat.

Write your version of the speech - in around 100 words - and we'll publish a selection of the best responses.

And there will be a prize for the very best - which will be revealed at the end of conference season in October.

Click here to send your version


Here are some of the best so far:

"From this government, we've seen nothing but fixes, fudges and failure. And if you think that's easy to say, wee dram or no wee dram, I can promise you - it isn't! But I've never shied away from straight talking.

It's true, there is a price to be paid for decent public services. But without our prudent policies, without our common sense approach, without our plain honesty...the people of this country will pay, pay and pay again and see nothing in return...

The opportunity to achieve significant change has slipped through the butter-fingers of this administration. It falls to us to pick up the pieces and progress."
Anthony Richards, UK

"I'll say this. We want to be number two, not number three.

There are those who say that that we shall always be third, that it is an iron law of British politics. But I say no.

I say, "Let me be the Leader of the Opposition." It's time for change. It's time for student radicalism. It's time for wishful thinking. It's time for the Liberal Democrats."
John Tait, England

"Values are important to the liberal democrats.

We are a party of individuals who believe in fairness, in economic development and opportunity for all.

We are party that prides itself on the freedom of the individual,and the promotion of human rights.

We know that these values have been tried and tested and found to appeal to the British public.

In effect they determine our approach to action in addresssing the needs of the British people.

We do what is right because we know it is right and not because it meets some passing politcal fancy or manufactured poll result."
Mitchel Family, USA

"People want service not selfishness in the funding of public services; spine over spin from their elected officials; action rather than talk.

Events are bearing out our conviction to stand for what we believe is right, no matter how controversial it first seems: public services are a fine example.

We've made the case for investment through a tax increase and Britain is now crying out for an end to Tory meanness and the stinginess of their "Labour" imitators.

I stand before you more confident than ever in the belief that Britain is convinced by our case.

We are the party of the future: Medieval Toryism and shallow Blairism are marching, hand in hand, into the dustbin of history.

The future's bright. The future's Liberal. Return to your constituencies and prepare for a Liberal century."
Richard Huzzey, UK

"The Liberal Democrats are not a party of the left, right or centre. We are the party of radicalism.

For over twenty years our democracy has been the poisoned by government after government and starved by stale old politics.

Voters of today and tomorrow do not need Labour spin or Tory chillout rooms.

They want to be re-energised by radical ideas and solutions.

We must be the antidote to the low turnouts and disillusion, setting the agenda with our radical ideas and our radical solutions.

We, the Liberal Democrats, are the party for now and the future of Britain."
John Beacroft-Mitchell, UK

"In 1985 David Steel stood on this platform and made a fool of himself and the Liberal Democrats when he urged us to go back to our constituencies and prepare for Government.

We knew then and we know now that this is not a practical goal for our party.

We are a party of protest, a party of opposition, a party that says the things that the other parties won't say.

We are principled and we care about the issues that impact on the everyday lives of the people of this country.

Pavement politics is not a pejorative term, it is a political strategy designed to let people know that there is a political party on their side who will ensure that the Government of the day listen to them.

We are the party of by-election victories, the weathervane by which the two main parties judge the political landscape. We are the political conscious of UK plc.

This is not a demeaning role, I am not being defeatist, I am telling it like it is. It is a role that somebody must play and we are here to do that.

We will not win the next election or the election after that but by god the Tories and Labour will hear us snapping their heels and see what they have to do to make us go away again.

This is the historical role for the third party and we should renew our pledge to agitate and campaign on behalf of ordinary people and ensure their voices are heard.

It is a unglamorous job but a vital one, so lets go back to our constituencies and prepare to make sure that the other two parties listen to us and the people we represent."
Lee Whitehead, England

"We are a point in time where politics has become boring.

Labour and the Tories fight over the same outdated and irrelevant middle ground.

It is time for my party to stand up for something different. We want to build a society where 'localisation' rather than globalisation is the governing principle.

Where small really is beautiful: small shops, small organic farms, education on a human scale not in vast education factories.

Environmental sustainability at the heart of all our policies and a renewed vibrant, powerful local democracy - and a devolved assembly for Cornwall."
Barry Tregear, England

"The British public can rest assured of one thing: we Liberal Democrats are flim-flam-free.

No nitty-gritty, tittle-tattle, tea-and-scones, horse-and-hound, flog-and-hang with us.

We are certainly not afraid of Iain Duncan Stiff and his motley band of lumbering extras from Jurassic Park: the Theresa-saurus May, the Diplo-davis, even the ominously circling Portillo-dactyl.

Neither are we in awe of Tony Blair, drooling to go with Papa Dubya to the coconut shy at the foreign policy funfair to knock off a few sovereign states and win an oil-refinery or two.

Only the Liberal Democrats provide the burnishing progressive path through these two conservatisms, a path of individual freedom and mutual respect."
Jeremy Llewellyn, Switzerland

"You know how scared the other parties are of us when they have to recall Parliament in order to wreck one of our Conference days.

But you know it is only our party that has had something different to say about foreign affairs.

You won't find us standing shoulder to shoulder with anybody until we know exactly what it is they want to do.

You won't find us arguing for regime change.

What you will find Liberal Democrats doing is putting the United Nations first - working to ensure that all resolutions are implemented and not hungry for War - but working to avoid war.

And it is left to us to point out that whilst millions of people face starvation in Africa the international community stands aside - obsessed by Iraq.

If only the same urgency of approach could be applied to saving these wasted lives."


Derrick Chester, England

"Onto the issues of the moment - Iraq and the "fixing" of exam results.

Iraq needs to be debated not bombed without so much as a raised eyebrow from our cowboy president Bush. Who is he to ask if Iraq is genuine.

America's verdict is not neccesarily the right one and the one everyone must follow and believe.

The latest scandal involves the "fixing" of exam results a clear case of government spin and public appearance riding over what is the decent thing and what should be done and exam boards should be independantly scrutinised from now on to prevent another Labour government messing with people's futures like this."
Barry Slee, England

"The old ways party politics and dogmatism are over. Go with the LibDem half way.

We must pay more tax to pay for education - but not by costing people more. We must avoid war in Iraq by fighting if necessary.

We stand for a better NHS and by reducing how people can use it.

Socialism must be opposed in Labour areas and the right must be crushed wherever the Tories might win.

Ordinary people will be given a voice - as long as they agree with us. We promise great things - because we know we will never have to deliver. The future is ours (one day). "
Steven Green, UK

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