Nick Clegg won a fifteen minute standing ovation today when he thrilled conference with a surprise solution to climate change.
With rain lashing down on the Brighton Centre and vast areas of the country deep beneath floodwater, Clegg's keynote speech reignited the party faithful, with its vision of a prosperous United Kingdom, self-sufficient in rice by 2025.
Announcing Lord Ashdown as his new 'Grain & Rain Czar', Clegg restored support from his left-leaning traditionalists with an inspired plan for England's green and pleasant land. Instead of overflowing rivers, destroyed homes and ruined flood plains, countless square miles of Northumberland, Yorkshire and the West Country will be given over to well maintained paddy fields.
"This ground-breaking project will be Paddy Ashdown's final and truest vocation," revealed Clegg. "It's the mission that will both define and crown his entire political career. And it's the adventure that will soon plough new avenues of success for our great party." With delegates cheering and stamping their feet, he then invited the triumphant ex-leader to join him on the platform.
"Britain has now entered our own Monsoon Age," Clegg roared. "Where once we laid solid foundations, Paddy shall build new houses on stilts. Where once we kept sheep and cattle, Paddy shall introduce oxen and water buffalo. Where once we mined for tin and coal, Paddy will construct terraces and furrows in which to grow the very food that shall keep us both wealthy and alive. Together we Liberal Democrats will harness these treacherous floods," he thundered. "And turn them to our economic advantage."
Outside the conference hall support for Clegg was unanimous amongst the drenched delegates. “At long last we Lib Dems know exactly where we stand,” said one. "Up to our bloody necks in it."