Being a veteran of the Federal Policy Committee ("FPC") and party conferences, and having read the party's constitution - yes, really! it's dull, but not that dull - which is downloadable from the party website, I'd like to put Nick Clegg's speech on public services last Saturday into context. First, the pupil premium, which I warmly supported at FPC, is Lib Dem policy already - it was adopted by the Federal Conference in September 2007 as part of a package on redressing poverty and inequality, backed by a paper which explains the concept at some length. Second, the party is distinctively democratic in its policymaking: policy, under the guidance and supervision of the FPC, is debated and adopted or rejected, and to a large extent proposed, by Voting Representatives at the party's conferences. Third, the Federal Policy Committee resolved some months ago to set up a policy working group on schools. The working group is being assembled now and will be working on its proposals over the coming months.
Therefore, it is premature to spend hours over-analysing Nick's speech. Members who have ideas to contribute on schools are welcome to get involved in the policy process. We believe in democracy in this party.