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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Lib Dem conference diary
By Nick Assinder
BBC News Online political correspondent in Bournemouth

Some of the highlights and low moments of the day at the Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth.

Tuesday 21 September

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Actually, this should probably be txt msg of the day.

Pensions spokesman Steve Webb told a fringe meeting how he asked young party members to text his mobile phone with their questions.

Mr Kennedy has always resisted getting drawn too much into his social habits
The idea was slow to get off the ground, he said, but he did display how in touch he is with the youth of the nation by actually understanding them.

He also appears to have solved one of the toughest problems facing the international community when he answered a text which asked: "hw wd u slv the wr in Irq."

He claims he managed to answer this poser which has defeated George Bush, Tony Blair and Kofi Annan in precisely 160 characters.

PS: I have been told by my younger colleagues that nobody ever uses this sort of text spelling any more, it is all predictive text. No cmnt.

IDEA OF THE DAY

Lib Dem Councillor Tim Farron came up with a wheeze to raise more cash for education.

He suggested that ministers who took advantage of free education then "pulled up the drawbridge behind them" and introduced fees might like to do their bit for society by paying up now.

"If they think that leaving the average student with debts of 20,000 is such a good idea, then they should contribute to the cost of their own higher education after the fact," he challenged.

That is one Liberal Democrat idea whose time is guaranteed never to come.

MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE DAY

The advertisement for the party's health policies which read: "Putting patients first - free doctors and nurses."

What's this? Are the other parties planning to abolish free health care?

Yes, I know, always read to the end. It was: "free doctors and nurses ....... from Whitehall meddling".

BUM NOTE OF THE DAY

When he's not warning us about the danger of asteroids vaporising planet Earth, Lembit Opik likes nothing more than "entertaining" people with his harmonica.

On at least two occasions during the first night of the conference he whipped out his harp to gallop through renditions of old favourites like: "Are you lonesome tonight" (Only when I play my mouth organ)

Plus, he claims, "Tie a yellow ribbon round the Downing Street door".

HOSTAGE TO FORTUNE OF THE DAY
Election supremo Lord Tim Razzall, claiming he was not about to make David Steel's mistake by telling his conference delegates to go back to their constituencies and prepare for government.

Then going on to say that, when Labour eventually falls, the next government will be Liberal Democrat and Charles Kennedy will be prime minister.

So, no need for delegates to prepare for that then.




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