A chance to say thank you to Tim Farron

Tim Farron Social Liberal Forum conference Jul 19 2014 Photo by Paul WalterThe Lib Dems now have a President-elect: yesterday it was announced that Sal Brinton had won the only post other than that of party leader subject to an all-member ballot. Congratulations to her; and a big thanks to runner-up Daisy Cooper as well as Liz Lynne for ensuring a healthy debate.

However, this post isn’t about them, it’s about the current President (until 31st December, when the second of his two-year terms expire), Tim Farron.

Tim might not have been party president. Initially he stood for election as the Deputy Leader in June 2010, following Vince Cable’s decision to quit that post when he entered the cabinet. He lost out to Simon Hughes, himself a former president. So when a few months later, Baroness (Ros) Scott unexpectedly decided not to stand for a second term as party president, Tim threw his hat into the ring, and beat off tough competition from Susan Kramer to win. He was elected unopposed for a second term in 2012.

It’s not been the easiest four years to have responsibility for representing the interests of party members. It hasn’t simply been the difficulties of being in coalition government. There have also been highly contentious issues needing sensitive handling, such as the allegations against Chris Rennard.

I’ve occasionally heard it said that Tim has kept his hands clean by not serving in government. Perhaps, but that he has managed successfully to emerge from the party presidency with his reputation for integrity intact, and indeed enhanced, despite all the bear-traps of the past four years says something. Actually, it says a lot.

Tim has managed to walk the tightrope of representing the party membership when it disagrees with the leadership without ever being disloyal in doing so. He has tirelessly campaigned up and down the country, enthusing an at times beleaguered membership to stick with it.

For all this, and for much more that many of us will never have seen, Tim deserves our thanks, I think. If you agree, why not chip in your own appreciation below-the-line…

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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21 Comments

  • Tim has been a first class President of the Lib Dems.

    I truly believe he is a rare thing in politics, an honest, principled, hard working politician.

  • JohnTilley 30th Nov ’14 – 9:32am
    Well worth reading this on the outgoing president Tim Farron —

    http://andrewhickey.info/2014/11/30/so-farewell-then-timfarron/

  • Max Wilkinson 30th Nov '14 - 11:00am

    Tim joined us in Cheltenham at Martin Horwood’s reselection meeting last year. He gave an inspiring speech that urged us all to fight the ‘forces of darkness’. The passion he conveys for our cause is an asset to liberalism.

  • Rabi Martins 30th Nov '14 - 11:44am

    Stephen – It was very thoughtful of you to for pen this short tribute to Tim Farron
    Tim made a great Party President because he remained true to himself and the Party throughout his term in office
    I was also struck by how accessible he made himsellf and his office to ordinary Party members
    Thanks Tim and Good Luck in your next key role for the Party – whatever that turns out to be

  • Edward Reach 30th Nov '14 - 1:14pm

    Thanks Tim, you’re going to be a tough act to follow!

  • Lois Speller 30th Nov '14 - 3:12pm

    Well done for your work as president at a timer when things have been far from easy. To have a principled, articulate high-profile voice has been appreciated.

  • Galen Milne 30th Nov '14 - 9:18pm

    Hard act to follow. Maybe should have stood for a second term. Also a bit disappointed in the lack of gender balance in the recent election. We really need to practice what we preach internally.

  • Peter Andrews 30th Nov '14 - 9:39pm

    @Galen ,Tim did stand for a second 2 year term and no one stood against him in 2012. The limit for the President is two consecutive terms so he could not stand for a 3rd term.

    Not sure what we could do about gender balance in the recent Presidential election when no male chose to stand for the position

  • Trevor Stables 30th Nov '14 - 10:17pm

    Fantastic President, well done and thank you!

  • John Whitney 1st Dec '14 - 7:38am

    Now that Tim has completed his “Presidental Career” surely he moves on to be our new Party Leader, as soon as possible!

    John Whitney
    Norwich South

  • Andy Boddington 1st Dec '14 - 7:44am

    People often ask who will replace Nick Clegg after the next election. I have no doubt that it should be and must be Tim. He has served us proud and he’ll be a great leader.

  • Clive Peaple 1st Dec '14 - 8:48am

    Great speech at Glasgow – one to print out and pin on the wall when campaigning’s tough. What we stand for. Cheers Tim, great President and now need you in power – Cumbria rules.

  • Andrew Noblet 1st Dec '14 - 11:12am

    I look forward to him becoming leader of the Party. A man who works hard with integrity. I am pleased he never became a member of the government. It will take hard work and time to rebuild the Party.

  • Tsar Nicolas 1st Dec '14 - 11:22am

    Certainly, the results from his locality in the Euro-elections were encouraging.

  • A great job Tim … a greater job to come??

  • Malcolm Todd 2nd Dec '14 - 2:31pm

    I remember when Roy Jenkins stood down as SDP leader in 1983. There was no argument about who should be the next leader — in fact there wasn’t even a contested election — because with just six MPs, one of them elected for the first time and one of them having just resigned, it was pretty much Hobson’s Choice. I’m sure the situation will be completely different next May…

  • Leekliberal 2nd Dec '14 - 6:50pm

    Thanks Tim!

  • Yes, the best way to say ‘thanks’ would be to elect him leader of whatever is left of the party next summer.

  • I’m afraid I am going to sound a dissenting note. Tim Farron voted for the Bedroom Tax and NHS privatisation. Those credentials strike me as poor, to say the least

  • Carl Pierce 3rd Dec '14 - 4:19pm

    My only concern about Tim was he supported religious groups making claims a couple of years ago that prayer ‘heals’ .
    “In March 2012, Farron was one of three MPs who signed a letter sent to the Advertising Standards Authority, criticising their recent decision to stop the Christian group “Healing on the Streets of Bath” from making explicit claims that prayer can heal. The letter called for the ASA to provide indisputable scientific evidence that faith healing did not work; Farron subsequently admitted that the letter was not “well-worded” and that he should not have signed it “as it was written”.

    We should have no truck with those who seek to exploit the vulnerable by making unfounded medical claims.

    When I wrote to him about it he replied quickly and he really listened and I felt he considered what I had to say.
    Many could learn from his approach.

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