There are lots of ways for Party members to communicate with our leader. We can send him an e-mail. We can ask him questions at Conference or at his meetings with members around the country. Our Mark Pack, though, chose a novel approach. The points he made in an interview just before 7 this morning were put to Nick Clegg at 8:10.
Now, I am moderately rubbish in that I wasn't up early enough to listen to Mark and I was trying to tweet something else when Nick was being asked about what Mark said, so I'm really only giving you half a story. I vaguely heard something about his comments on a poll which showed only a quarter of Lib Dem voters in 2010 had stuck with the party, something he tackles in his latest e-mail to party members (sign up to get this direct here) combined with his repeated calls for the party to see its members and supporters as active participants in the political process. In response, Nick acknowledged that we needed to do more to explain what we were achieving in Government, highlighting things like taxing bankers' bonuses and dealing with high executive pay.
I thought it was quite ironic that Mark's name was brought up in conversation not long after Nick had mentioned chocolate. He talked about not being a starry eyed supporter of the EU who thought it could do no wrong. He cited the example of it taking 15 years to define chocolate as one of the things which meant reform of the EU was vital.
All in all, I thought Nick did very well this morning. He got his points across well when challenged, even though the interviewer went out of her way to interrupt him and not give him space to answer the question. He was asked about the IFS figures which showed the Government's reforms affecting the poorest most and he tackled this on two fronts. First of all, he pointed out that the IFS analysis didn't include the effect of things like the Pupil Premium (which is, actually quite hard to put a cash value on because the effects won't come through for a very long time), and the extension of free childcare for the poorest families. Then he talked about how people who play by the rules feel really angry to see big companies getting away with avoiding their taxes and how he wants an anti avoidance rule written into the tax system. He also made it clear that he wants to shift away from taxing effort and enterprise and more on to taxing wealth.
Anyway, I have, as has become my custom, accumulated my tweets via the magic of Storify for you. My tweets clearly upset some, but I don't really care. I suspect they weren't supporters anyway, somehow.