Watching you get skewered in your interview with Andrew Neil was painful. So take some lessons from Paddy Ashdown about how to deal with his personal style.
Be more avuncular. Be more affable. And don't squabble with him while letting him dictate the agenda: turn the interview on it's head and use your knowledge of his attitudes and life to build some bridges.
You've got the arguments on your side, so all you need to do is coax them out.
Is disagreement at the top of a hierarchy damaging? However Andrew Neil may wish to portray things, we can also ask since when was he ever a demure lapdog of his bosses willing to do their bidding with out even so much as a by-your-leave?
LibDem conferences are not designed as carefully stage-managed presentations to manipulate the perception of the party as a highly disciplined electoral machines. LibDem conference is real politics where members and leaders reach democratic decisions in alliance with each other about the direction of the party.
Having open and inclusive conversations where truth is told to power is the only way to tease out the reasons why what might initially be considered desirable must be tempered.
Having open and inclusive conversations where examples of experience brings a diverse range of sometimes conflicting evidence to the table is the only way to tease out imaginative solutions able to satisfy the concerns of more participants.
So when Andrew Neil challenges you, reverse the knife and let him offer his experience - don't allow him to impose on you.
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