Page last updated at 11:38 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 12:38 UK

Lib Dem views: Clegg's language

By Gavin Stamp
Political reporter, BBC News, Lib Dem conference

Nick Clegg's comments about "savage" cuts in public spending has caused some alarm among Lib Dem MPs and led former leader Charles Kennedy to urge caution.

Do party members in Bournemouth think their leader's rhetoric on the subject has been too harsh or do they applaud him for his honesty?

BERNIE ROGERS, BRISTOL

Bernie Rogers

Savage was a little bit savage. I was a little bit surprised he used such a radical word but surprised that it was so quickly condemned because the other parties have been saying the same thing. If you make that judgement, there is always the worry that you can make savage cuts but I don't think you would do that. Charles Kennedy is absolutely right. You need a steady hand on the tiller.

ROBERTA CRAWLEY, CHELTENHAM

Roberta Crawley

I like his honesty in talking about how things are. We are the third party. We can't afford to be wishy-washy, that's pointless. We do not have to shock but we have to tell it like it is when the main parties won't do that.

DAVID SHUTT, CALDERDALE

David Shutt

The word cut is not a very Liberal word so I suspect there are many people here with whom it will not find favour. But there is general perception that life will not go on and on and on without a reduction in expenditure. Like all leaders, Nick Clegg is trying to get his position and does realise that this is something serious and he is using language people understand. Charles Kennedy, having had the experience of leadership and knowing the wrath of members, is just saying hang on.

MIKE BELL, WESTON-SUPER-MARE

Mike Bell

It is one of those things that language seems to be the centre of attention and it does not need to be. I think all of us are saying the same kind of things. We need to be frugal and to make savings to get us out of the recession. The language that Nick Clegg uses is perhaps more robust than has been the case in the past but I don't think that is a bad thing. Some people won't like it but it is absolutely the way to go. He is being honest and upfront and doing the straight-talking which people say they want from their politicians.

ROBERT WRIGHT, BIRMINGHAM

Robert Wright

I think Nick is trying to be as honest as possible about how difficult things are going to be and whatever you cut, it is going to hurt somebody. It is always sensitive and I guess tuition fees are an example of that. If we want to engage people about what we can do, we need to start now. Charles Kennedy is a bit freer to say things that he would not necessarily say if he was still leader. One of the key advantages of the Liberal Democrats is that we have always felt free to debate among ourselves. We do not see it as a sign of weakness where we disagree.



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