Tag Archives: tim farron

A warning from the Labour party: The difference between leadership and management

Politicians think government is 90% policy and 10% management, in reality it’s the other way round.’ Civil service aphorism

As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens  another.’ Proverbs 27:17

A lot is being written about the Labour leadership election and rightly so. That a candidate unable to get the support of more than 20 MPs from the fringe left may be about to become leader of the opposition is astounding. Good reasons have been given for this state of affairs but I fear one more than any other has been glossed over.

Jeremy Corbyn is a far better candidate than Yvette, Andy and Liz.

Objectively he makes the best speeches, is the best communicator, has the clearest message and has the most coherent and (at least within the party) popular ideas for changing the labour party. Now whether the rest of the country will warm to him is another thing but one question that has to be asked is how a parliamentary party with 231 MPs to choose from has picked such mediocre mainstream candidates? Compare it with the recent Liberal Democrat leadership election and Norman Lamb and Tim Farron’s impressive campaigns.

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Farron backs right to term-time holidays

I would normally apologise for linking to the Daily Mail, but on this occasion, as the piece in question has a video showing some of Tim Farron’s first speech as leader, I’m not going to.

The paper quotes Tim Farron expressing support for a motion that’s coming to Conference later this month which would give parents the right to take their children out of school for ten school days for holidays.

He told them:

Many employees have no choice when to take their holidays.

‘People in areas, such as my Westmorland constituency, have to work all through the summer at the height of the tourism season.

So, it’s vitally important to offer more flexibility to schools and headteachers to help families who need to take a break together.

Thornbury and Yate member Karen Wilkinson has written several times for this site about the law change, describing it as “illiberal.” writing in 2013:

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Farron: Enough is enough. It’s time to help refugees in need in response to Independent’s heartbreaking photo of a little dead Syrian boy

As David Cameron goes on the news and tells us all that we can’t take any refugees, but we are doing all we can to make life ok in the countries they come from, Tim Farron has been telling the Independent that we need to take in more refugees.

Cameron knows perfectly well that Syria is far from ok. How can it be when you have a brutally murderous dictator fighting a brutally murderous death cult for control?

Had we still been in Government, Cameron’s comments would have chilled me to the bone. The truth is we haven’t done enough to offer sanctuary to people in need throughout the whole crisis, not just this Summer. Nick Clegg certainly managed to ensure that we did take some people from Syria who needed specialised support but nowhere near enough.

The Independent has published a heartbreaking photograph of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach. They know it’s going to upset people. This is their explanation for so doing:

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Roger Roberts calls for Parliamentary debate on refugee crisis

So, the Westminster Parliament resumes on Monday after its Summer recess. The Commons debates the EU Referendum Bill, the Lords the Energy Bill. With a growing humanitarian crisis on our doorstep, though, can it really be business as usual?

Liberal Democrat peer and passionate advocate for the fair treatment of those who seek sanctuary Roger Roberts thinks not. He wants the current agenda to be postponed in favour of debates in both Houses on the crisis. He said on Facebook:

Next Monday Parliament reconvenes. I plan to have discussions today to treat Monday as if it was for the recall of Parliament to have an emergency debate on the Refugee crisis. With many thousands of people involved in what appears to be one of the major humanitarian crises of our time.I would welcome as much support (facebook – messages to M.P.s and Peers etc) as possible.

I think it would be good to have Parliaments in Scotland and Wales debate the issue too, especially if they are able to say that they are happy to take refugees in their areas.

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Tim Farron is right: Osama Bin Laden’s death was not a tragedy

Tim Farron was widely quoted on Monday, for perhaps the first time since his election as leader. The good news is that he was correct in his point. He was responding to a resurfaced quote from Labour leadership favourite, Jeremy Corbyn, who has said to Iranian TV that Bin Laden’s death was “a tragedy”, as it was unlawful and he should have been put on trial instead.

That the killing of Bin Laden was illegal has been a favourite proposition of the Galloway-ite hard left, so it isn’t a surprise to see them jump up and defend Corbyn. But I was surprised to see a few serious liberals, including Paddy Ashdown in the past, also voice this and criticise Tim for his intervention.

Their premise is that Bin Laden was a common criminal, and thus “due process” should have been followed, with him legally arrested and brought to trial. But this view is based on a foundation that is both legally dubious, and naive in practicability.

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Tim Farron MP writes…Liberal Democrats will work with anyone to reform the House of Lords

Yesterday, the news was released about the latest tranche of appointments to the House of Lords.  The Liberal Democrat peers will be, as they always have been, constructive and conscientious. Where we agree with the government we shall support them and where we don’t we shall work to amend and if needs be oppose.But the principle matters, Liberal Democrat peers were appointed on the pledge ‘to abolish themselves’.

The Lords has two functions. To revise and to hold the Executive to account. The first it does quite well, the second it does not at all – how can it when, by definition, it is a creature of the Executive?

The Lords is wholly undemocratic and will never have the legitimacy it needs for a healthy democracy until this is changed.

Every party in their manifestos hints at reform or abolition of the second chamber, but the Liberal Democrats are the only party committed to it. So today we recommit our party – and its new Peers – to working actively for the reform of the House of Lords and ideally its abolition in favour of an elected second chamber. We urge the other parties to join us in this effort.

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Tim Farron in Scotland: Scotland’s parties can embarrass Tories into action on migrant crisis

Tim Farron was up in Scotland today, on his first visit since becoming leader.. He hosted a roundtable session in Edinburgh with the Scottish Refugee Council, Amnesty and the Refugee Women’s Strategy Group. Issues discussed included devolution and refugees, making asylum work for women and what political parties could do in the UK and Scotland to campaign for fairer treatment of vulnerable refugees.

Here they are having their discussions:

Amnesty’s Scottish Director welcomed the meeting:

After the meeting, Tim said:

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Tim Farron’s TimTalks: Rebuilding our party

Here’s the third in our series of Tim Farron’s TimTalks.

In this one, he talks about how we rebuild the party. A festival of ideas, diversity, PAWAWI, being an accessible leader. “Under Tim Farron’s leadership, there will be no cabal and no bunker.”

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Tim Farron’s TimTalks: Foreign Affairs

This week we are re-running new leader Tim Farron’s series of TimTalks from the leadership campaign so that those of you who don’t know him well can see what makes him tick.

Today, it’s Foreign Affairs. Now we have a caption, a soundtrack (which is, to be honest, a bit annoying) and a proper introduction at the beginning:

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LibLink: Tim Farron – ‘There is only one opposition now – and it’s not Labour’

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Tim Farron raises prospect of a repeat of Labour’s disastrous 1981 split. He pitches for the LibDems to replace Labour as the only credible opposition to the Tories:

With just 20 days before Labour chooses its new leader, many who believe Britain needs a strong Opposition are holding their heads in their hands.

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Tim Farron’s TimTalks: Housing

During the leadership campaign, Tim Farron made a number of videos. They mostly involved him sitting down and just talking about the issues closest to his heart. We thought we would repeat them here so people outside the party could see what makes this man tick.

Housing is one of his key priorities. He famously got into politics after watching the heartbreaking Cathy Come Home. Here he is talking about the importance of building more houses and opposing the Tories’ plans to give Housing Association tenants the right to buy.

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Vlogging to victory

It may not have done Labour much good, but Ed Miliband’s biggest achievement of the whole election in my mind came when he managed to secure an endorsement from Russell Brand. Not that I’m saying having Russell Brand back you is that great, but it’s an achievement. Why? Because he is a figure that many young people look up to and pay attention to and – regardless of whether we think that’s a good idea or not – we have to respect that.

The BBC news website reported the other day that vloggers (Video Bloggers) had been given advertising guidelines. This increase is due to the fact that “YouTube celebrities” are now effectively plain old “celebrities”, with figures such as the writer and one half of the vlogging duo “Vlogbrothers” John Green celebrating the release of the film “Paper Towns”, one of his own novels. As the article states “Nearly a quarter of 11 to 19-year-old girls (24%) view well-known fashion and beauty vlogger Zoella as a role model”, hardly a small audience.

This is a realm of influence as yet mostly untapped by the other parties. I remember a few years ago the vlogger/comedian Humza Arshad made a video endorsing Ken Livingston for the Mayoral election, again I hear you say it may not have changed much but the influence is there. Humza now works with police to counter extremism in young people further demonstrating the influence these YouTube have with younger audiences. 

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Farron urges Theresa May to help Calais refugees

Tim Farron has written to Theresa May to ask her to help the refugees in Calais. He visited the port earlier this month and saw for himself the conditions people had to live in and also heard some of their stories. Here is his letter in full:

Dear Theresa,

I am writing to you about the humanitarian crisis in Calais ahead of your meeting with French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve later this week.

I welcome the measures the Government has already taken to improve the security situation at the Eurotunnel and reduce the disruption which has been caused for British businesses and holidaymakers, but am writing to ask that the UK do more to ensure that the humanitarian crisis in Calais is properly recognised and addressed.

Having visited the Jules Ferry migrant support centre in Calais and met with organisations working on the ground, it is clear that many of those living in “the jungle” are refugees fleeing war and persecution. The organisations who are currently working to support these very vulnerable people are under extreme pressure. The conditions in Calais fall far short of international standards on the treatment and welfare of refugees. Water and sanitation are all in short supply and medical support stretched beyond capacity. Many are being forced to subsist on the one meal a day that the centre is able to provide. More funding and better coordination are urgently needed, and the UK needs to do more. It is absolutely right that we work together with the French to fund improvements in security at the Eurotunnel and action on people trafficking, but the humanitarian support that is so desperately needed must also be adequately funded.

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LibLink: Tim Farron – After 100 days, the penny is well and truly dropping on how hard Lib Dems fought in government

On Huffington Post, Tim Farron writes:

We’re 100 days into a Tory government and, let’s be honest, they have been fairly clear on what they’re about. Unfortunately, for the majority of us across the UK – those of us who didn’t vote Tory – it doesn’t look pretty.

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On liberalism and NIMBYism

 

I was delighted to see Tim Farron taking on housing as a personal campaigning priority. In order to do this effectively, though, he will sooner or later need to take on a culture of expedient NIMBYism in his own party.

Local campaigns against new development are often highly effective in garnering media attention and engaging people who might join or support the party. At times, they are also the right thing to do for an area. At other times, however, they can be opportunistic and exaggerated: in a recent example I came across, a local party deliberately misinterpreted a proposal in a non-party, think-tank style report on the housing crisis for a concrete, Conservative plan to pave over a large swathe of the district. Local campaigns which proudly ‘see off’ developers may leave a legacy of usable sites remaining derelict for years, and seek to spin this as some sort of victory over vested interests, when in fact it is anything but.

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The Lib Dems: We need to fight back for the many, not just the few

 

I am really pleased that Tim Farron won the leadership election, because of his energy, commitment and strong sense of social justice – and I am really impressed that Tim went to Calais to see for himself what is going on there – but I do have some concerns about where the Party may be heading. Of course, it is early days, but over the summer the coverage of the Lib Dems in the media has been mostly around ‘fringe’ issues such as Tim’s comments about the SNP and his faith perspective. That may fit in nicely with the media’s ‘Lib Dem agenda’, but we shouldn’t be boxed in as a minority party that has little to say to the wider electorate. Having just read Tim’s policy priorities in Caron Linday’s article posted a few days ago, with the exception of housing, I remain concerned.

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Willie Rennie puts us all to shame – is it time he challenged Farron?

Willie Rennie certainly is a pretty good role model for a healthy lifestyle.

This is the sight that greeted me when I arrived at Scottish Lib Dem HQ for a meeting yesterday morning.

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Tim Farron’s seven campaign priorities

Just before heading off on holiday, Tim Farron has announced his seven campaign priorities. As they cross departmental boundaries, he’s put together a campaign team to lead on each issue. It’s a sign of how much importance he attaches to housing that he has taken the lead role on that issue himself.

The team will be responsible for taking our campaign messages and making sure that they get out on the ground. The seven priorities and the lead people responsible are as follows:

 

Chaired by Greg Mulholland MP, the Parliamentary Campaigns Team will consist of:

  • Rural Communities and Vice Chair – Mark Williams MP
  • EU referendum – Catherine Bearder MEP and Lord Jim Wallace (Deputy)
  • Mental Health – Norman Lamb MP
  • Immigration – Shas Sheehan
  • Civil Liberties – Alistair Carmichael MP
  • Green Economy – Baroness Susan Kramer
  • Housing – Tim Farron MP

Tim said:

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Tim Farron on Calais refugees: “These are bright, educated people that just want to create a life for themselves.”

While David Cameron uses demeaning language comparing them to insects, Tim Farron takes himself off to Calais to actually meet some of the refugees there. He spoke to Buzzfeed’s Emily Ashton about his experiences. Here are some of the highlights:

An invitation to David Cameron

He should go ,” said Farron of the prime minister. “I will take him. He should talk to people there and look at the reality of the situation and he should deal with the reality rather than dealing with the myth.

The idea that they are all money grabbing people seeking to claim UK benefits is rubbish

The significant majority in the camp are, according to the French authorities and doctors, absolutely what any reasonable person would consider a refugee fleeing from war or persecution,” he said.

So this idea they are all money-grabbing people is just rubbish. I got talking to a bunch of guys from Eritrea, from Sudan, from Libya, and these are guys who wanted to come to England. Not one of them had a clue about benefits. They wanted to come to the UK because the UK represents the good life. Not that it’s a bed of roses or it’s cushy; I mean a life where people aren’t shooting at you, where you can be free to worship where you want to worship.

“We don’t get fewer losers by pitting one group against others”

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“Opportunity, community, sustainability and an open mind.” Willie Rennie’s liberal values for today’s Scotland

On Sunday night, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie made a speech in St John’s Church in Edinburgh. He talked about his vision of liberalism and what it means for today’s world. He looked at the consistency of liberal values in practice through the ages and quoted Charles Kennedy on finding the way forward from the history books.

There’s nothing particularly new in there, and I’m not sure about this “militant for the reasonable person” phrase. Reasonable, is, after all, a very subjective phrase. I’m sure Nigel Farage thinks he’s being reasonable, but generally liberals find what he says deeply unpleasant. Nor am I sure about militant. Maybe that’s because I remember the Labour lefties in the 1980s. We liberals are passionate, certainly, but militant? I’m not so sure. I prefer his summary of liberal values – opportunity, community, sustainability and an open mind. Those are very consistent themes for him and he’s been talking about them ever since he became leader. What he now needs to do is show how these values underpin all our policy ideas.

I also liked the bit where he praised the Church’s strong support for equal marriage, saying that they had shown that tolerance, faith and love were “comfortable allies.”

He also talks about how he and Tim Farron come from similar backgrounds and have similar perspectives on liberalism. He ended with a list of things that his small team had done. What he needs to add when he does that is to say how these have actually persuaded or provoked changes in SNP government policy. It’s not a bad record for a small team of 5 MSPs out of 129.

Here’s his speech in full. What do you think?

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Tim Farron goes to Calais to see the humanitarian crisis for himself

For Tim Farron, the situation in Calais has always been primarily a humanitarian one. He was furious last week when David Cameron described the desperately vulnerable people there as a “swarm.” Most recently he asked Cameron to make sure that we were doing our fair share to end the “immeasurable suffering” of the people in Calais. He wrote:

I am sure you agree that it is heartbreaking to see hundreds of desperate people subsisting in makeshift camps night after night, willing to risk life and limb in the hope of a better future while many in Kent and across the country see their daily lives hugely disrupted through no fault of their own.

I welcome your commitment yesterday to providing France with the resources needed to deal with the situation and am writing to seek assurances that alongside the necessary security measures, support will also be given to humanely process those seeking asylum, return those who have no right to remain, and ensure that, in line with international obligations, standards of welfare and accommodation are urgently improved.

Today he went to Calais to see the situation on the ground for himself.

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Farron calls on Cameron to act to end “immeasurable suffering” of migrants

Tim Farron has written to David Cameron to urge him to ensure that the UK takes its fair share of those poor, desperate, vulnerable people we’ve all seen on our tv screens. He wrote:

I am writing to you about the current humanitarian crisis in Calais and its impact here in the UK.

I am sure you agree that it is heartbreaking to see hundreds of desperate people subsisting in makeshift camps night after night, willing to risk life and limb in the hope of a better future while many in Kent and across the country see their daily lives hugely disrupted through no fault of their own.

I welcome your commitment yesterday to providing France with the resources needed to deal with the situation and am writing to seek assurances that alongside the necessary security measures, support will also be given to humanely process those seeking asylum, return those who have no right to remain, and ensure that, in line with international obligations, standards of welfare and accommodation are urgently improved.

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When the Divine Ms Duffett met Mr Farron

Watch what happened when Helen sat down with Tim. Find out what VDV means:

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Photos: Tim Farron meeting our two sensational Kingston and Richmond by-election victors today

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Here’s a couple of photos of Tim Farron today meeting Geraldine Locke and Jon Tolley at Banquet Records in Kingston upon Thames.

Both Geraldine and Jon have scored sensational by-election victories since the general election in May.

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Today – Tim meets two new councillors in Kingston and urges members to get involved in by-elections

Today Lib Dem leader Tim Farron visited Kingston to meet two councillors who won their seats since the General Election as the party’s fightback gathers pace.

Tim stressed the importance of members getting involved and campaigning at every by-election.

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Tim Farron talks to his local newspaper on becoming Lib Dem Leader:

The first people Tim Farron called on becoming Liberal Democrat leader were his local paper, the Westmorland Gazette. Here are some highlights of his first in-depth interview as leader:

Turning his local success into a national phenomenon

This is a big deal. It will be a great responsibility and I will work tirelessly to fight for Liberal values.

There are real challenges ahead but we have shown in Westmorland how we can succeed and we want to make a difference all over the country.

“A fairer, greener, freer Britain”

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Breaking the Establishment

House of Commons. Crown Copyright applies to this photo - http://www.flickr.com/photos/uk_parliament/4642915654/“We stand up for the outsider instead of the establishment.”, Tim Farron said during the leadership rally last week. For party members who were rather discouraged by our missteps in coalition, that line gives us hope.

Our failings in the Coalition can be traced to one key fault: after speaking out against the establishment, we were seen to be now a part of it. There are so many bills that we extracted key concessions on, but we were not able to communicate that. How could we, after all? We were bound by Cabinet collective responsibility. But it was never designed to operate the way it did in coalition.

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On Farron’s lurch to the left…

If you read some commentators, you’d think that in less than a week of leadership, Tim Farron had virtually turned us all into revolutionary socialists.

Matt Dahan wrote a story for the Independent which suggested that Nick Clegg would be “shaking his head” in “uncomfortable dismay” at Tim Farron’s bid to “form a Lib/Lab pact” to oppose welfare cuts.

The former deputy prime minister has been left sitting on the backbenches in the House of Commons, where he is forced to choose between toeing the party line or causing what would be a major rebellion in a party of just eight MPs.

It seems Mr Farron is leading the Lib Dems further to the left than Labour, even sending a letter to interim Labour leader Harriet Harman telling her to form a Lib-Lab alliance to fight the Government’s spending cuts.

Except Tim’s stance on the Welfare Reform and Work Bill is entirely consistent with the stance Nick Clegg took in Government. He stopped all this nonsense about taking Housing Benefit off young people and limiting tax credits to two children and further reducing the benefits cap. If Tim had supported them, it would have been a massive story.

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Tim Farron writes to Harriet Harman asking her to oppose Welfare Bill

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has written to Labour’s interim leader Harriet Harman to ask her to ensure that her party opposes the Government’s Welfare Bill.

Here is the text of his letter:

Dear Harriet
The Conservative Government last night brought forward plans for £12bn of cuts to welfare that will directly impact millions of people across the country including the poorest families in our constituencies.

The Conservatives do not need to make these cuts, especially at the same time as giving tax breaks to millionaires.

The people who will be hit by these changes need someone to give them a voice in Parliament and fight their corner, and last night Labour failed to stand up for them.

You have said that you do not want to oppose absolutely every saving that the Government suggests, but these cuts will hurt the poorest in our communities.

Cuts to employment support allowance, lowering the benefit cap and slashing tax credits for those in low paid work are not policies that any progressive should support.

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Opinion: The reason I was nodding so much behind Tim Farron on Thursday

Screen Shot 2015-07-17 at 16.25.58I’ve always been a massive fan of Tim Farron. Like many, it started off watching his 2014 Conference Speech as Lib Dem President and only grew as I saw him being awarded Lib Dem MP of the year by the PatchWork foundationand fighting along side Caroline Lucas to improve mandatory PSHE in Schools over that year. It’s for that reason that, when I saw all these articles titling Tim as the ‘Bookies Favourite of next LD Leader’, I knew I would support his leadership campaign, whenever …

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