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Nick Clegg launches 'A Fresh Start for Britain'

July 30, 2009 3:25 PM
fresh start logo

Fresh Start logo

We must create a sustainable economy, build a fairer society and clean up politics for good.

Dear friend,

Ever since I became leader of the Liberal Democrats I have been travelling the country, holding public meetings, listening and talking to the people I meet. The economy is in a mess, people are losing jobs and everywhere I go, people are angry at the way politicians have let them down.

The two old parties don't really want to change a political system that keeps them in power or challenge the bankers who got the economy into such a terrible mess. The next election will be your chance to tell them they're wrong - your chance to vote for something different.

Many people believed they would get change for the better in 1997. Instead, under Labour, the gap between rich and poor has got bigger, our politics has got even dirtier, our civil liberties have been eroded, the environment around us is in danger and our international reputation is at a new low. Labour let us all down.

The Conservatives say they want change but all they really want is to keep things the way they are. They say they want fairness but demand tax cuts for millionaires. They say they want to protect the environment, but have linked up in Europe with people who deny climate change is a problem at all. They will promise everything and change nothing.

Britain is in the teeth of three crises: a huge banking crisis and recession, a rotten Westminster system abused by too many MPs for personal gain, and the threat of climate change. We need big changes to fix our economy, our discredited politics and our environment, yet both Labour and the Conservatives are letting the City, the House of Commons and polluters off the hook. No action against bankers' bonuses. No action to give people the right to sack MPs guilty of breaking the rules. No action to slash emissions. They say just enough to get in the headlines, but when the spotlight moves on it's back to business as usual.

I believe there's a better way. This country can be fairer, it can be safer, greener, and stronger in the world. Only the Liberal Democrats have the ideas, the energy, and the ambition to provide the new hope the country needs. If that's what you want too, after twelve years of Labour disappointment, turn to us. We carry the torch of progress now.

Despite all the gloomy news, there's still real hope for the future - but only if we make a fresh start. We need strong leadership and a different kind of politics to make it happen. The way things have always been done has got us into this mess, and it will never get us out.

Above all, we must do everything to protect the next generation from the mistakes made today. For me, how we treat young children is the most important measure of what kind of society we want, what kind of values we hold dear.

Even in these difficult times, giving all children from all backgrounds the life chances they deserve will always be my personal priority.

So if you want things to be different, choose a party that is different. Choose the Liberal Democrats.

Best wishes,

Nick Clegg, Leader of the Liberal Democrats