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Leader's speech day

Andrew Neil | 10:38 UK time, Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Today's Liberal Democrats are not natural tax-cutters so what Nick Clegg will tell them today in his first conference speech as leader is that what he's really offering is the biggest-ever redistributive tax plan in British history, with massive tax rises on the rich to finance tax cuts for lower and middle income.

The party activists will like that as they will his claim that Labour is "finished, over", though I seem to remember the Tories were supposed to be finished in 1997 and Labour in 1983.

Mr Clegg has had his way on rebranding the party, designed to repel a Tory onslaught in the South and win Labour seats in the North. It's a tough road: the tax plan will be unpicked by experts in the weeks ahead when the financial turmoil dies down and, despite its current terrible woes, Labour is unlikely to be finished.

Nick Clegg's biggest problem is news elsewhere, pushing him far down the news agenda.

As we prepare to go on air we learn from the City that British financial authorities have pushed Lloyds TSB into buying troubled HBOS, another huge high street bank and Britain's biggest mortgage lender. HBOS shares have been in freefall and the British government knows it cannot be allowed to go bust. Hence yet another state-sponsored rescue operation involving two iconic high street names -- and that's what the headlines will be about.

Still, Mr Clegg's first major outing makes Bournemouth interesting and we'll have live comment on the latest financial crisis from Vince Cable, the Lib Dem's experienced Treasury spokesman.

We'll have live and uninterrupted coverage of the Clegg Speech from 11am today. We'll visit a key maginal to guage how the new leader is doing. Also an exclusive Simon Hoggart sketch from conference...analysis from our Political Editor Nick Robinson and as if all that isn't enough - Nicholas Parsons takes 'Just a Minute'.. or two to review the Lib Dem year. . Join us live on BBC2 at 11 for the Daily Politics Conference Special.


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