The Liberal Democrats are currently choosing their new President and you couldn’t move at the conference in Liverpool without being asked to support Susan Kramer, Tim Farron or Jennie Rigg. My initial thoughts were that Susan was a serious if perhaps too London-centric politician, that Tim might not be able to commit the time required of the role and that Jennie lacked the profile within the party.
As the conference wore on I got a chance to hear Tim Farron on a number of occasions and see what an incredible communicator he is. Being an MP for a constituency in the North of England he also seemed to get devolution and campaigning outside of the Westminster bubble.
When I returned from conference I was still undecided and made this clear in a Facebook post. Now this is where I became very impressed with Tim and his team. Within 30minutes of posting on Facebook I had received a message from Tim putting forward his case. We exchanged a couple of messages and by the end of it I decided that he would be getting my vote for the following reasons:
- He is a brilliant communicator.
- He is not London-centric and understands politics outside of the Westminster bubble.
- Tim is an outstanding campaigner and fundraiser, winning his own seat from the Tories in 2005 with a slim majority of 267 he then went on to increase his majority to over 12,000
- His focus will be on campaigning in the country and
in the media – making it clear what we stand for, and talking to people in a human and accessible way.
If you are a Lib Dem member and still haven’t decided then check out the message (below) including a little 90second video.
MESSAGE FROM TIM FARRON
The Liberal Democrats are getting a huge amount out of being in government: protection for the lowest paid, the most ambitious political reforms since universal suffrage, restoration of civil liberties… in fact the only thing we’re not getting is the credit we deserve!
That’s why I’ve decided to run to be President of the Liberal Democrats.
It’s not easy being in Government. As part of the Coalition, our distinctive message has often got buried, what we stand for has got blurred and our ability to campaign is blunted.
I’m not having that.
I joined the Liberals at 16. A Focus leaflet deliverer in Lancashire, then a student activist in Newcastle, a councillor in Lancashire, a couple of stints as a parliamentary candidate in unwinnable seats, then candidate for Westmorland – my home – and eventually success. We won Westmorland and Lonsdale from the Conservatives for the first time in 99 years in 2005 by a majority of just 267. This May we held the seat by 12,264.
Ros Scott has been a truly outstanding President. She’s accessible, she’s an activist, she’s not part of the establishment. Despite being an MP – which is a pretty ‘establishment’ thing to be – I’m not part of the establishment either. I find Westminster a peculiar place – I’m much more at home standing in a market square in Westmorland, fielding questions, talking to people and taking their ideas on board. The only way to learn anything new is to listen to others. If you only ever talk to other politicians, you will be an immensely dull and stale person. Sadly, Westminster is full of people who hardly ever talk to a normal human being – that’s why they don’t sound like normal human beings!
My focus will be to inspire Liberal Democrat members to be proud of our party, to work their socks off for the coming electoral contests and the AV referendum, and to inspire a new generation of members and activists to believe that they can make a difference by joining us. My focus will be on campaigning in the country and in the media – making it clear what we stand for, and talking to people in a human and accessible way.
My job as President will be to be an unwavering supporter of Nick in his role, to be a critical friend of the coalition and to get out there and make clear what the Liberal Democrats are for – why we are distinct from the coalition, why you should vote for us, why you should join us, why the Liberal Democrats should not just be a junior partner in government, but a party that can aspire to power in our own right.
If that’s the kind of President you want, I’m all yours.
If you want to help the campaign please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My Facebook campaign page is here or I’m on Twitter as @Farron4Pres.