The recession means that, whoever governs we are now in the grip of austerity politics and will be for some years to come. Because we faced that challenge our economy is now recovering. But this makes that other challenge, the task of lifting children out of poverty, much harder and much more difficult.
During my years in Bosnia, both during the war and afterwards I heard and saw evidence of horrific stories of mass rape and sexual violence committed during the war. Thousands of women and children suffered terrible abuse and the physical and mental scars could stay with survivors for the rest of their lives. Years later, sexual violence still remains entrenched in conflict zones around the world and children are often the most vulnerable. Children suffering in conflicts are growing up in a world where they face the daily threat of rape and abuse and sexual violence is considered the 'norm'.
Ashdown appears unbridled by, or wilfully ignorant of, the fundamental issues which make a mockery of his analysis. While he is right to point out that some of the issues which concern people about the growing use of drone warfare are reflected in extant military practices, his conclusions are baffling and misplaced.
Our most recent occupation of Afghanistan has been marked, much like the others, by a directionless war that turns Afghans into enemies while getting bogged down in mud and blood. The growing occurrence of so called 'green on blue' attacks on allied forces are not simply a failure of security checks but a deeper sign that more Afghan's than ever are unconvinced that the 11 year occupation has been for their benefit. We should bring home the 9,000 British service men and women still stationed in Afghanistan, taking them out of harm's way.
Now admittedly, this was my first party conference but as the train wheezed into Brighton station and I peered through my rain-spattered window at the black clouds being tossed about the seaside sky, I remember thinking what an apposite congregation of vapours it was to herald a Lib Dem conference at this particular moment in time.