Conference aims to portray leader as 'president' Kennedy
CHARLES Kennedy will today attempt to ditch his laid-back and informal image with a slick American-style conference speech his aides hope will make him appear "presidential".
The Liberal Democrats have taken tips from the Democratic Party in the United States and are planning a "lit-for-television" finale to the party’s conference in Bournemouth.
Mr Kennedy will arrive on stage to a fanfare after walking through rows of seated delegates. After his speech, 2,000 yellow balloons will drop from the ceiling of the conference hall.
Mr Kennedy will strike a remarkably upbeat note in his speech and say the Lib Dems are moving "from a party of protest to a party of power". He will insist a vote for them is no longer just a chance to punish Labour, but a vote for a genuine alternative government.
In a move to strike at the Tories before next Thursday’s Hartlepool by-election, Mr Kennedy will claim not only that the Conservatives will not win the next general election, but that it is impossible for them to do so. Turning around the jibe so often levelled at his own party, he will say: "In most of the country a vote for the Conservatives is now a wasted vote."
He will point to the party’s by-election triumphs in Brent East and Leicester and to the summer’s council elections when it pushed Labour into third place and insist that it is on the cusp of an electoral breakthrough.
The latest opinion poll put the Lib Dems on 26 per cent, double the level of support at the start of the last general election campaign.
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Friday 24 May 2013
Temperature: 3 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: North east
Temperature: 7 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: West