Mr Clegg is quoted as saying: "The coalition is not the first government to seek regeneration outside of the capital. Labour had a lot of good intentions here, they spent a lot of money, for example, on fixing up some of our big city centres". Oh really? At this point, the seasoned regeneration practitioner's eyes roll to the ceiling.
Yes, the Blair/Brown administration certainly spent a lot of money (no doubt about that, Lord Copper), yes they certainly meant well (there was never any doubt as to how much Mr Prescott, in particular, cared) but "fixing up our big city centres"? Hell no! That certainly never happened. Not in any sort of systemic way.
Had the previous administration achieved that we wouldn't be in half of the mess we find ourselves.
Now, we know that nice Mr Clegg represents Sheffield (and indeed he quoted John Mothersole, that fine chief executive of Sheffield city council extensively in his speech), and we know that Sheffield did rather well during the nineties and noughties, working the system to get significant public realm improvements and other benefits for the city, which has stood it in excellent stead (I was there on Friday last and it's in great shape really).
But Sheffield really is the exception that proves the rule. If even half of the money that was spent on the massive over-weaning sclerotic bureaucracy of the last administration (the RDAs, the UDCs, the URCs, the NDCs, the HMRs, the any-other-TLA-you-can-think-of) had been spent directly by city partnerships, under a truly localist policy, then you might well have seen some more of our big city centres "fixed up".
As it is, most of the UK cities - in my view, at least 80% of the 66 - of our poor beleaguered nation need some serious and radical TLC (and there I go again with the TLAs!) despite all the vast spend on urban policy over the past 20 years. This is the central major scandal of regeneration policy: it was jobs for the boys and girls.
And chiming with this, in a slight shimmy of a mixed message, Mr Clegg went on to say "but we understand that this isn't just about money... even if we did have lots of money, the previous approach was fundamentally flawed. Revenues from the financial services sector were recycled round the rest of the country through the long arm of the state, creating the illusion of strong, national growth."
Now this point has to be bang-on: the over-reliance of the UK economy on the public sector is palpable. And we need a stronger, more resilient economy, built on the backs of industrious and independent cities. Which is why UKR is leading the shift of regeneration firmly into the private sector.
So the terms of the City Deal are out there. The interesting thing is why anyone feels the need to be badged as such. If I was one of the 20 (or the 14?) I'm not sure I'd bother "applying". Why should you? The benefits are slender and the hassle is palpable. UKR has, for some time now, been urging people to stop asking permission, but just go right ahead and do things. It follows that cities could just assume the methodology of City Deals, whether they are named in the "second wave" or not.
Our own UKR/EG Regeneration Commission has, for over a year been championing the idea of "local investors clubs", and we certainly weren't the first to have this idea: decentralisation over money will be achieved when decent returns can be realised through local investment. All that is needed is a willing team of people with an interest in one locality to come together and make things happen.
In his denouement, Mr Clegg paid tribute to Greg Clark for his excellent stewardship of the City Deal process (and I would add the Decentralisation and Localism Bill). And we in regeneration sure do miss Greg now he's been promoted, and we're grateful for him keeping his hand in on the Cities portfolio.
Perhaps not surprisingly, at no point in Mr Clegg's tub-thumping address did we hear anything of the recent planning reforms and the overwhelmingly centralist effect they will have on everything. We gloss over that.
He did say, though, in a rather thrilling finale, that he wanted to "unleash the grassroots genius that will take our economy from strength to strength... (in) an opportunity that must not be missed."
Well so say all of us. For the phrase "grassroots genius" he can be forgiven almost anything. As I've been saying, ad nauseam, in recent posts: give localism a chance.