The significant part of Tim Farron’s speech

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Tim Farron is probably the Parliamentary Party’s best funny speech maker (though I’d pay good money to see him head-to-head in a laugh off with Alistair Carmichael), so it’s not a surprise that Tim’s speech to Liberal Democrat conference caught the headlines mostly for his humour and his stress-testing of political marriage analogies to destruction.

Yet there was a significant section about how Liberal Democrat ministers act and his own role:

There are 18 Liberal Democrats who don’t have the luxuries that I do.

They can’t just sound off if they don’t like government policy or trot through the no lobby on occasions – rare occasions – to demonstrate their disagreement.

They are our ministers.

And while I’m parading my conscience around the TV studios saying the right things, they are busy in their departments doing the right things.

On those very, very rare occasions when Michael Gove says or does something stupid or wrong, Sarah Teather doesn’t come out and slag him off. Instead she fixes it.

Free schools for example!

When the Tories showed hesitancy about committing to true and fair banking reforms, Vince Cable laid on the pressure and forced that commitment.

And when George Osborne flew the kite of cutting income tax for the wealthy, Danny Alexander cut the string, and stopped him.

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This entry was posted in Conference.


  • Malcolm Todd 20th Sep '11 - 2:29pm

    “those very, very rare occasions when Michael Gove says or does something stupid ”

    You’re right – he is a funny guy.

  • It’s called irony. I agree Tim makes an important point. But we need to take care. Gove and his advisers are under investigation for allegedly using private email addresses to conduct government business outside the Freedom of Information Act. So when Tim says “Sarah fixes it”, will any of the records of her fixing it be publicly accessible? Lib Dem Ministers, including Sarah, need to be whiter than white on this.

    I was pretty annoyed by the BBC’s coverage on Monday morning. The Today programme quoted the verdicts on the conference of just four newspapers: The Sun, The Mail, The Express and The Telegraph.

    And Andrew Neil, in a later interview with Tim for Daily Politics, didn’t even let him finish a sentence.

  • Given the Free schools & Academies policy which has gone well beyond even Thatcher please tell me what Sarah Teather has actually achieved? Surrely it isn’t the no charges for Free schools! Her consultation paper on special need seems to continue the challenge to the role of LAs

  • LibDemMember 22nd Sep '11 - 10:55am

    It pains me to say it, but I fear that the rally and Tim’s speech both prove that none of our MPs is THAT funny. But that’s OK. There are more important things than being funny.

    Tim Farron’s combination of ‘homespun’ and angry reminds me of Harold Wilson.

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