Tim Farron is the new Liberal Democrat leader

BBC News announcement of Tim as leader

Congratulations, Tim, on being elected leader of a party that doesn’t often want to be led at one of  the most challenging times in its history.

And here’s the official tweet:

And the first word from the man of the moment:

Tim beat Norman Lamb by 56.5% to 43.5%. Surprisingly, only 56% of members turned out to vote.

Sal Brinton said:

Both Tim and Norman ran distinctively liberal, strong campaigns that spoke to party members across the UK. At numerous hustings and meetings with members, they spoke of their liberal values, the direction they think we should go, and how to best rebuild the party over the coming months and years.

Tim is a fantastic communicator and his energy, enthusiasm and passion will inspire and drive the Liberal Democrats back to winning ways.

Willie Rennie was quick to congratulate Tim:

With Tim Farron the liberal force in our country has a dynamic, thoughtful and eloquent leader. I backed him because he is best placed to lead the Liberal Democrats back to recovery. And I am delighted he won against such a talented opponent in Norman Lamb.

A new beginning for the Liberal Democrats means regaining trust, speaking up for liberalism and winning again.

With Tim as leader we will make the case for a tolerant, compassionate, outward looking country that rejects isolation and division and works to deliver opportunity for all.

And characteristic graciousness from Norman:

He added:

This leadership election has energised and united our party.

Tim Farron will be a passionate leader of our party, championing social justice and leading from the front in our campaign to rebuild the liberal voice in our country. I will give him my full backing.

His campaign chair Lynne Featherstone added:

I have been proud to chair Norman’s campaign over the last two months. Our team has built a fantastic campaign from a standing start in May.

It has been genuinely inspiring to see so many members, in particular young people, getting involved with political campaigns for the first time because they shared Norman’s vision for the future of our party.

Norman Lamb has set the terms of the debate for this leadership contest, and it is clear that he will continue to play a leading role in setting the direction of our party as we fight back and rebuild the liberal voice.

Nick Clegg handed on the baton with good wishes:

He later added:

Tim Farron is a remarkable campaigner and a man of the utmost integrity and conviction.

He is a natural communicator with a rare ability to inspire people and rally them to our cause. He knows how to win and I have no doubt he can pick the party up and get us fighting again.

It has been a pleasure to serve alongside Tim in Parliament and a privilege to consider him a friend. I know he will be a brilliant leader and he will always have my support

And here’s Paddy:

Lib Dem MEP Catherine Bearder added her congratulations:

I am delighted that Tim Farron has been elected as our new leader.

The need for a strong liberal voice in British politics has never been greater, and Tim will provide that voice.

I now look forward to working together to make a passionate, emotional case for why Britain must remain in the EU.

Watch him make his first speech as leader at a rally in Islington here from 6:30 pm.

In between preparing for his first keynote speech, Tim has found time to change his Twitter profile. I thought he had been a Twitter pioneer, but it turns out that I was on it about a year before he was:

Farron Twitter profile

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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185 Comments

  • John Tilley 16th Jul '15 - 4:37pm

    Good.

  • Thank goodness. Our party now has a future. We really did dodge a bullet on this one.

  • For the first time since the members began electing leaders (in 1976?) I voted for the winner, albeit with reservations. Two things swung it for me: first, he doesn’t have to defend breaking the pledge; and second, I believe that he is really serious about local government. Good luck Tim – I hope you enjoy the next few years!

  • Great news – although turnout at only 56% something of a worry. First time I ever voted for the winning candidate! I am sure that Tim has a big, big role planned for Norman, who has only enhanced his reputation during the leadership campaign.

    Congratulations Tim, I look forward to being part of the Lib Dem fightback under your leadership.

  • The right result, but I understand only 56% turnout. Not great that only just over half of membership had a view as to who leader was. In fact, more members elected not to vote than voted for the victor.

  • Eddie Sammon 16th Jul '15 - 4:46pm

    Congrats to Tim and commiserations to Norman. I was not too fussed either way who won. To be honest, I thought there was very little difference. Both pro immigration, pro equality, Norman a bit more left on social issues and Farron on economic ones.

    Norman almost angered me at one point at the way he went about his campaign, so even though I was closer to him on policy issues it kind of evened itself out. Farron disappointed me at the end though by calling what I believed in “pointless”.

    I will continue contributing towards Lib Dem thinking, although I will respect the fact that the party wants to try something new.

    I said a few days ago that “I could never vote for the party under Tim”. I was clouded with anger at the time, but it will be harder to win my vote than it was under Clegg and I still have loyalties to Lib Dem Voice and individual Lib Dems.

    Best regards

  • Thomas Salter 16th Jul '15 - 4:48pm

    Brilliant news, really pleased with this!

    Really feel Tim can galvanise the grass roots support, looking forward to seeing what he can achieve!

  • Richard Shaw 16th Jul '15 - 4:50pm

    #Lamb4DeputyLeader

  • All I can say is thank God. We now have a chance, we can immediately take the attack to the Greens and build up a reasonable base. Then its bit by bit until a favourable by election comes round.
    I would hazard a guess that by October we will be in third place again with about 13-15%.

  • Well done Tim. Great leaders always take care to ensure their army/company/whatever is appropriately structured and equipped for the task in hand. We aren’t so I hope he takes to heart the task of making the party fit for purpose.

  • Fabulous to hear this.Tim Farron is the hope for the party to revive its fortunes. When we speak to voters we will be able to point to this to show that the party is looking to a new way forward. Tim has been excellent on the campaign trail and has listened to members. I hope that this continues and the party moves forward with Tim at the helm.

  • Graham Goldsmid 16th Jul '15 - 4:57pm

    Well done Tim
    I predicted this back in January on the members forum
    The fightback starts now for the Liberal Democrats
    We should be proud to have you as our leader
    Good luck

  • Congratulations to Tim!

    I rejoined in order to vote for him!

  • Conor McGovern 16th Jul '15 - 5:02pm

    Congratulations to Tim. He wasn’t my No. 1 choice but I’m sure he’ll make a great leader. Norman for economics spokesman.

  • Conor – surely Norman should be our mental health spokesman. After all, he has shown to us all how its the issue that he has made his and he seems really passionate about it. Norman for mental health spokesman!!!

  • Ruth Bright 16th Jul '15 - 5:07pm

    Some smart Alec has just texted me: “Right bald man gets comb!” Ho Ho

    No – it’s really good news.

  • Nick Collins 16th Jul '15 - 5:09pm

    “Tim beat Norman Lamb by 56.5% to 43.5%. Surprisingly, only 56% of members turned out to vote.”

    If the LibDems were a trade union would that be enough, under the current Tory proposals,to legalise a proposed strike?

    “Really feel Tim can galvanise the grass roots support, looking forward to seeing what he can achieve!” Hmm: apparently the combined efforts of “Tim” and “Norman” could only galvanise 56% of them to return their ballot papers!

  • Alex,

    I think mental health would be a rather small brief for a party with 8 MP’s! But why not Health spokesman? That is an area where you definitely need someone in the Commons

  • Jayne Mansfield 16th Jul '15 - 5:10pm

    Congratulations to the winner. Commiserations to the loser.

  • Peter Hayes 16th Jul '15 - 5:10pm

    Conor and Alex,

    With only 8 MPs they will all have to wear many hats!

  • Conor McGovern 16th Jul '15 - 5:14pm

    Alex and Peter – Would it be possible for him to do both? 😀

  • paul barker 16th Jul '15 - 5:14pm

    I am glad the result was so close, we have to find a big role for Norman.
    On the turnout, we have seen a big rise in membership & I suspect a lot of new members might not have voted, I dont know if theres any way to test that idea ?

  • I am really pleased Tim won. I’ve been following the campaign at a distance. The level of engagement in this leadership campaign is unparalleled and both men have great stamina.

    Between the two, Tim spoke to me much more about what a political party that shares my values and liberalism looks like, from the grassroots up. That means nearly everything to me aside from key policies.

    I like Norman Lamb as a person, MP, outstanding Minister and potential leader. But I feel much more confident that Tim can turn a new leaf in the party, root out so much of the people who’ve sapped local morale, lead by example and inspire people to listen to the arguments of the party, to come back and fight for matters like civil liberties, human rights and inclusion.

    Maybe I’d better find my membership form now.

  • Paul,

    I suspect it may have been some of the old members who did not vote. The membership will have included some people who were disillusioned and will drop out – that is inevitable.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 16th Jul '15 - 5:19pm

    Can I remind people that if they are going to comment on LDV, they need to provide valid email addresses that don’t bounce when we try to communicate with you.

  • Iain Brodie Browne 16th Jul '15 - 5:21pm

    @tonyhll
    you and me both

  • Alisdair McGregor 16th Jul '15 - 5:25pm

    Congratulations Tim, commiserations Norman, and I hope Tim offers Norman the job of health shadow ASAP

  • Congratulations from this Tim F to the other Tim F. Glad the margin was more than the two votes of me and Mrs F which I know didn’t make it back in time to be counted.

  • Sammy O'Neill 16th Jul '15 - 5:53pm

    A reposting of my original comment, albeit reworded and expanded upon:

    This is depressing news. I am regrettably not going to be renewing my membership or playing any further active role in the Lib Dems under Farron’s leadership. I imagine there are others who feel the same way. Sadly unless Corbyn wins the Labour leadership and makes them unelectable I cannot see how the party is going to recover when led by Farron. His obsession with bizarre, middle class-centric policies and lack of pragmatism/general understanding of how life is for the majority of the population is simply a recipe for irrelevance and derision. His politics and approach are of the type you’d find in an obscure political society at a good university; their appeal is narrow, their capacity to strike a cord with those listening is limited. I have no doubt he is an intelligent and gifted man, but his ability to connect with ordinary people (and I am particularly concerned at his ability to appeal to those from minority groups) just isn’t there. Nor does he seem to fully grasp the parties institutional sexism; he is not alone in this by any means but I’ll admit to feeling particularly disappointed that he hasn’t made this a real focus of his vision for the party.

    We are at the stage where the Lib Dems have a leader who couldn’t even vote for same sex marriage, whose views on abortion and assisted dying are remarkably unliberal and who it seems did nothing to try and stop the party destroying itself as the last election. For me aside from being incredible, it is too much. I am of course pleased that others are happy to be led by Farron and wish them all the very best, but please remember that the Farron Lib Dems will not be everyone’s cup of tea and it’s not a sin feeling that way.

  • @tonyhill,

    I e-mailed Caron offline and she explained what has happened, which was ok. I suggest you do the same. Hopefully she will post something a bit clearer than the cryptic comment above

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 16th Jul '15 - 6:06pm

    Congratulations to Tim. I voted for Norman but appreciate Tim’s many strengths and hope and believe he’ll do a good job.

    A couple of brief notes to those close to the Tim camp, however.

    Firstly, there have been some comments – including on this thread – about “dodging a bullet” and so on. That’s pretty disrespectful of (and potentially alientating to) nine in every 20 or so voting members who opted, respectfully, for the other candidate. Hopefully, that’s just a handful of “enthusiasts” being a bit silly but it’s the last thing we can afford at this point.

    Secondly, if you judge by the early (somewhat unscientific) poll and the more recent poll, Norman Lamb’s stock has risen significantly through the campaign (I want to be clear I do not mean Tim’s has fallen – he was a decent man before he was leader, and remains so). I hope those close to Tim will reflect on WHY that is – what it is about Norman’s campaign that resonated with many and made the result a good deal closer than most predicted. I have a few suggestions for what they might take out of it to assist a successful Farron leadership:

    1. An acceptance that, while Focus leaflets matter, we do need credible, consistent, genuinely thought through messages to put in them. I’m glad Tim has now mentioned Grimond as a liberal hero of his and hope he builds on this as Norman did in his campaign by raising some of the more interesting ideas such as the right to die, and extending influence on the party, and genuine discussion of the issues well beyond elected conference reps and byzantine party structures.

    2. A pride in the achievements in office as well as contrition for the mistakes, and an understanding that we didn’t lose the election because the Coalition Government was widely hated… our coalition partners now have a majority and many of the seats we lost were lost to them not to others. That isn’t to say coalition didn’t hurt us – it plainly did and badly – but the simplistic story of why it is isn’t correct.

    3. Competence and thoughtfulness matter if we’re to regain ground. So does passion and daring, of course… but “boring” qualities resonate too and are worth developing.

  • jedibeeftrix 16th Jul '15 - 6:07pm

    Congrats.

    “Tim beat Norman Lamb by 56.5% to 43.5%. Surprisingly, only 56% of members turned out to vote. ”

    Can we expect to see the usual lib-dem declaim against political winners winning on less than a third of the total electorate?

    #cheeky

  • Ruth Bright 16th Jul '15 - 6:08pm

    Sammy, please consider staying until conference time in the autumn and see how you feel then about the flavour of things. After 30 years in the party and the Liberal Party I am sorry we have failed to create an atmosphere that is more encouraging to younger women. I raised the issue of sexism/lack of maternity leave for PPCs etc etc with Tim Farron during the campaign and he did reply positively and I really think we should give him a chance. He has been very clear about Rennard.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 16th Jul '15 - 6:10pm

    Sammy – I hope you will reconsider on reflection over the coming days. A party is not synonymous with its leader. I also personally think your criticisms are harsh (Tim has quite forthrightly said he was wrong on gay marriage for example), and that Tim is the sort of person to take on board constructive points more than one or two of his more enthusiastic supporters on the bottom half of the internet! So I’m positive and optimistic today despite not getting my preferred result.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore – be noble and don’t whinge. Tim won, Norman lost.

  • Sir Norfolk Passmore 16th Jul '15 - 6:18pm

    Alex – where was I whinging? I congratulated Tim and spoke highly of his many qualities.

    I simply think a genuine winner can learn from a victory as well as a defeat. I think Tim probably has that ability, even if one or two of his fans don’t necessarily.

  • Sammy,

    I am glad you have been able to make your comment. Apparently an e-mail address problem.

    I do find some of your comments rather strange though. I agree that Tim has held different views on abortion from those he professes now, and saw the right to dissent for registrars as an issue in Gay Marriage, causing him to abstain on the final vote after voting for the principle in all the previous votes. I am personally in favour of assisted dying but I see the difficulties that many people in and out of the Lib Dems find with it.

    But to be honest I am stuggling where you got any of what you say here:

    “His obsession with bizarre, middle class-centric policies and lack of pragmatism/general understanding of how life is for the majority of the population is simply a recipe for irrelevance and derision. His politics and approach are of the type you’d find in an obscure political society at a good university; their appeal is narrow, their capacity to strike a cord with those listening is limited. I have no doubt he is an intelligent and gifted man, but his ability to connect with ordinary people (and I am particularly concerned at his ability to appeal to those from minority groups) just isn’t there. Nor does he seem to fully grasp the parties institutional sexism; he is not alone in this by any means but I’ll admit to feeling particularly disappointed that he hasn’t made this a real focus of his vision for the party.”

    When I saw him at the hustings I felt that Tim could connect with disadvantaged people better than most MP’s. Of all the current MP’s he is the least middle class and actually had some hardship in his upbringing. He enshrined diversity in our candidates in the heart of his campaign, as far as I could see. And he is prepared to advocate a policy on housing which is quite opposite to the usual “middle class-centric” nimbyism that virtually all candidates for election, from all parties, generally support.
    If you read the stories of how he gets to young people in his constituency through “football surgeries” http://timfarron.co.uk/en/article/2012/0579076/mp-holds-football-surgeries-to-engage-with-young-people-in-kendal I think you have to agree that he has some great ideas about how to communicate with people who may not be very interested in politics.

    That (and the obvious issue that has plagued us all the last parliament) is why I voted for him

  • Graham Evans 16th Jul '15 - 6:21pm

    I voted – because I always vote whatever the election – but I wonder if there were many members who failed to vote because they were had strong doubts, albeit different doubts, about both candidates.

  • David Allen 16th Jul '15 - 6:25pm

    This party has a mountain of distrust to overcome. With Tim Farron, it can be done. But it will be a long haul. Three things to avoid will be: Fretting over issues such as assisted dying which are matters of individual conscience and not political party leadership; harking back to the Coalition era; and, failing to demonstrate unity of purpose in the selection of a deputy leader.

  • Would have been happy with either – first thing to get angry about – coverage by BBC – last item on the news at 6. Appalling coverage – 2nd item was supermarkets and 2 for 1 story. Hope we win in Kingston tonight and the BBc shoves the result up its backside

  • It’s interesting that the BBC chose to highlight in its report on the Farron victory that “a committed Christian, he said he had consulted God on whether to stand”.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Jul '15 - 6:41pm

    Sammy O’Neill

    To me, the criticisms you make of Tim Farron in your first paragraph apply more to Norman Lamb, or at least the image he and his supporters put across in the campaign.

    Your second paragraph shows just this sort of obsession with “bizarre, middle class-centric policies” that I think has damaged our party. You and others like you need to have more respect for freedom of thought and understand why others think in a different way to you over these sort of things. However, even more so you need to realise that to most people these issues are very much fringe issues, and it is a mark of being part of the prosperous elite to go on and on about them rather than what most would think the more important issues, that is about having enough money to live comfortably, decent housing to live in, not to have to be a desperate wage slave in a horrid job, and so on.

  • Congratulations to Tim Farron on a well executed campaign and many thanks to Norman Lamb for enabling a high quality leadership contest. I am sure I was not alone it finding it quite difficult to choose between two such able and credible candidates.

    We have been busy in my patch since the General election with a local council by-election and we are kicking-off our human rights campaign with a new members reception this weekend. It’s good to have an energetic new leader in place for the summer.

    Look forward to Tim’s first conference speech as Party leader in Bournemouth this year. I have always enjoyed his orations as party president. One request for the wishlist, less reliance on leafleting and more social media focus would not go amiss.

  • Richard Stallard 16th Jul '15 - 6:44pm

    ‘….. first thing to get angry about – coverage by BBC – last item on the news at 6…….”

    What did you expect? Whilst this election may have been exciting and absorbing within the party, it has to be remembered that to everyone outside it is of minor importance. People have other things to think about (Greece, ISIS, fox hunting etc.) and the appointment of a new leader in what appears to many to be a failed, minor party is of little significance. Besides, the contest itself, between two lacklustre candidates, excited little interest nor column inches outside of LDV.

  • I keep up my remarkable record of voting for the loser! (One winner in 5 leadership elections)

    However, this might be the ideal result. A win for Tim, but enough support for Norman to ensure that we do not simply rubbish the efforts of those who served in the 2010-15 coalition (to whom I still believe we should be grateful).

    And on turnout, I nearly failed to vote because I found it really difficult to make a final choice between two candidates who each had strengths … and weaknesses.

  • A Social Liberal 16th Jul '15 - 6:57pm

    Having been at the SLF hustings I was happy to have had either Farron or Lamb as leader, however I am chuffed to little apples that Tim has won.

    Time to start advancing Liberal principle

  • ” only 56% of members turned out to vote”
    They don’t call it snail mail for nothing.

  • Richard Harris 16th Jul '15 - 7:17pm

    Glad Tim Farron won, but nobody could say the contest “energised” the party with such a poor turnout. What where the other half doing?

  • Sammy O'Neill 16th Jul '15 - 7:19pm

    @Andrew
    (Comment 1 of 2)
    Tim and abortion- his support for Nadine Dorries Termination of Pregnancy Bill rather horrified me. His ever-changing position on the subject is concerning, and it leaves me wondering what he actually thinks.

    Tim and same sex marriage- again, similar issue to abortion. The position keeps changing. His excuse for not voting in favour is laughably weak. Had the vote been tight Farron’s decision could have meant large numbers of people were unable to marry because of a minor drafting consideration. Much better to table an amendment, raise hell about it in your speeches, but still vote in favour of the bill because of its fundamental importance to the rights of a long oppressed minority group. Instead Tim abstains.

    Tim and assisted dying- I agree it’s a tough one, but if the party comes out in majority support behind such a policy can you really see Farron standing up and advocating it? I really can’t. That’s a problem.

    Examples of Tim and the bizarre middle class obsessions:

    1. Suffers from the party-wide EU obsession/love. The vast majority of the public either don’t care or disagree. It isn’t a vote winner, it isn’t a priority issue for most people.
    2. ECHR- same as above.
    3. Housing- has come out aggressively saying that all new homes must be carbonless. Displays no understanding or concern that this makes new homes more expensive to build. Proposes nothing to avoid that cost being forced onto the buyer, meaning housing is out of the reaches of even more people. Doesn’t even mention the district heating schemes these developments now often have which are often double the price to run. He has also advocated absolutely no form of feasible proposal for how the housing crisis can be tackled. Aside from repeatedly saying there is a problem, he has no real position. It’s weak.

  • Sammy O'Neill 16th Jul '15 - 7:20pm

    @Andrew

    (part 2)

    4. Asylum/immigration- displays absolutely no recognition of the justifiable concerns ordinary people have about immigration. Instead trends towards the middle class lefty attitude of patronisingly telling those with concerns that they are wrong and using soundbites like “politics of division” or blaming it all on UKIP. Very much the viewpoint of someone who isn’t very in touch with the average person.
    5. Is obsessed with describing everything as “liberal”, exploring what “liberal” means and trying to preach academic “liberal” thinking at every opportunity. Great stuff for a university, doesn’t really get far with the electorate. They don’t care what liberal means, they have more pressing concerns like the heating bill or their pension.

    I could list so many other examples, but that will do for now.

  • Sammy O'Neill 16th Jul '15 - 7:23pm

    @ Matthew Huntbach

    I’m not a diehard Norman fan either, but I do view him as the lesser of two evils.

    “Your second paragraph shows just this sort of obsession with “bizarre, middle class-centric policies” that I think has damaged our party. You and others like you need to have more respect for freedom of thought and understand why others think in a different way to you over these sort of things. However, even more so you need to realise that to most people these issues are very much fringe issues, and it is a mark of being part of the prosperous elite to go on and on about them rather than what most would think the more important issues, that is about having enough money to live comfortably, decent housing to live in, not to have to be a desperate wage slave in a horrid job, and so on.”

    I don’t think you quite know my views on things like housing or low pay. I have been quite vocal on LDV for arguing that the party needs to get with the real world and realise these are the issues that matter to normal people. As for the “prosperous elite”, you have summed up how I often feel about large swathes of the party. They are much more interested in Gladstone, the EU and defining “liberal” than they are about coming out with practical, rational and pragmatic policies.

  • George Lund 16th Jul '15 - 7:36pm

    The turnout figure is dubious: says 56% *of members* voted, but many members will have joined after the cut off for voting passed. Not clear if these were included or not, you’d assume not, but that’s not what it says to my pedantic mind.

    Even the new members that were eligible may not have felt they knew enough about the candidates to vote; either way the turnout is disappointing but not necessarily quite as dire as it seems at first.

  • Wow just watched the speech, that is what we need.

  • On the matter of turnout, my partner joined the party to vote for Clegg and despite everything (including my views about him!) was upset that he resigned. We met Tim at a small meeting and she was impressed, and we watched one of the hustings courtesy of LDV and she liked Norman’s clarity and the quality of his thought, but ultimately she felt that neither of them had Clegg’s stature and presence and so she didn’t vote.

  • This was a win-win election. Now let’s boot out the Tories, displace Labour, and show up the Greens.

  • Richard Stallard 16th Jul '15 - 8:00pm

    Let us not forget – he has enemies deep within the party:
    “Which bit of the sanctimonious, god-bothering, treacherous little shit is there not to like?” (“Senior Party Figure”, November 1913)

  • This is an excellent result for Tim and I am very pleased for him with a sizeable majority over his rival. I do hope he is bold and gets rid of the right wing libertarians who often post message boards defending tory cut backs and attacks on the disabled. I for one will not be renewing my membership until I see what happens with policy but do wish him every success in changing the direction of the party and making it a progressive, centre left electable one again.

  • nigel hunter 16th Jul '15 - 8:47pm

    It is a shame that 56% did not vote. These are the people that Tim and the party must inspire.

  • nvelope2003 16th Jul '15 - 8:55pm

    What strange people. One would have thought that members of a small political party fighting for its life would make a tiny effort like voting for one of the available candidates whatever their reservations about whether they were up to Nick Clegg in qualities. Plenty of people who liked him 10 years ago became gradually disillusioned because he seemed to think he had to dumb down his utterances. Did Jo Grimond do that – or even Jeremy Thorpe. Charles Kennedy certainly did not. People expect the leader to be on a different level and to inspire.

    I cannot understand how anyone could miss the deadline for voting unless they were away or were just going through the motions.Please do not blame the Royal Mail although I am not sure the Liberal Democrats always use them, often preferring to use one of those wicked private postal service at one time.The low turnout seems to indicate a less than enthusiastic membership, whatever the increase in numbers.

    I congratulate Tim Farron. He will need enormous effort and will power to turn this party round.I just hope he can do it.

  • The right man won, Norman might be a good man who is popular in the party, but he really doesn’t have any national appeal. It looks like Labour will be weak over the next few years giving the LibDems a chance to re-capture their previous support. Tim is impressive on the TV and will hopefully move away from the Ashdown and Clegg days and then the public may at last forget about the LibDems role in raising tuition fees and introducing the bedroom tax.

  • Donald Smith 16th Jul '15 - 9:00pm

    Congratulations to Tim. And well done to Norman for making it a real contest and raising the intellectual level of debate.

    My big worry is a turnout of only 56%. Why so low. The new leader needs to enthuse more of our members. He had the support of 31.6% of members (56.5% of 56%). We need to do better than this at involving members in the party.

  • I am concerned by the turnout. I wonder what it means when members cannot read two A4 documents. Place two marks in one or two boxes, fold the paper, insert it in an envelope, no need for a stamp, and take it to a post box. A good deal easier than knocking on doors or delivering leaflets regularly.

  • Matt (Bristol) 16th Jul '15 - 9:23pm

    I voted for Tim, but had reservations. We’re not out of the woods yet.

    A wish list for the next 5 years:
    – Party unity
    – Some good Carmichael-style House-of-Commons guerrilla action to keep the others lively and ourselves in the mix
    – A prominent, trusted, female spokesperson who is given the space and time to stick it to the various oppositions, whilst the saloon-bar dinosaurs are roasted on spits.
    – A dual attack on 1) housing, rental and housing-taxation reform inextricably linked with 2) a model of devolution over which the public have meaningful democratic control.
    – A nasty, rancorous split in either Labour or the Tories by the next election (I can dream).

  • Richard Harris 16th Jul '15 - 9:36pm

    Why on earth would a party that’s just taken such a financial hit use the mail when it could have been done on the Web? Turn out would have been considerably higher if it had.

  • Relief and delight in equal measure that Tim is our new Leader.

    It won’t be easy. Remember that Paddy Ashdown didn’t turn around the Party’s fortunes instantly. We had the 1989 Euro disaster on his watch along with some indifferent local election results, and I recall my frustration at the media’s unwillingness to give Paddy airtime. It was the Eastbourne and Ribble Valley by-elections that turned things around. From that point Paddy and the Party got heard.

    A few points from the two Leadership campaigns are worth looking at. Those letters from Lord Ashdown and Baroness Williams clearly moved opinion Norman’s way. The influence of authority is a powerful one, even in the Liberal Democrats. Are there lessons here for external campaigns, I wonder? And I think we have learned, or should have learned, by now that if the opposition starts raising questions about one’s suitability for the post, you have to kill it stone dead, loudly and quickly.

    I too am concerned about the turnout. Did members see those Youtube clips? Perhaps many of them didn’t. Could it be that a lot of our members have simply wandered off and will lapse in due course?

  • Great news. He’s the man to explain to the public that we need more immigration and more power to Brussels.

  • Helen Tedcastle 16th Jul '15 - 10:04pm

    I echo John Tilley’s comment at the top of the the thread. Good.

    Sir Norfolk Passmore
    ‘ I’m glad Tim has now mentioned Grimond as a liberal hero of his and hope he builds on this as Norman did in his campaign by raising some of the more interesting ideas such as the right to die..’

    Glad you brought this up – again. I had the good fortune to meet Norman at the end of a hustings and he was quite clear that he respected conscience and saw assisted suicide as a conscience issue. Perhaps Lamb supporters might like to ponder on that and what that means. Lamb is a Liberal and can tolerate and respect divergent views and opinions on certain hot topics.

    Sammy O’Neill
    ‘ His obsession with bizarre, middle class-centric policies’

    You’re not serious…

  • ‘ first thing to get angry about – coverage by BBC ‘

    With only 8 MP’s what do you expect?

    Still got more coverage than the last DUP leadership election & they have the same number of MP’s

  • Sammy,

    Pity that your part 1 seems to have disappeared into the ether.

    On immigration: sometimes it is necessary to lead in politics and point out that immigration is an issue, but not the issue that the Daily Mail tells people it is… Tim has a different position on this issue from almost every other uk politician. That at least will get us noticed… It is a bit like being against hanging. There is no point trying to out-UKIP UKIP…

    On being Liberal – well he has to inspire the footsloggers of the party and find more of them.Those people need a cause other than simply holding some power (which was what people decided was the Nick Clegg “cause”, rightly or wrongly) The party has positioned itself as being “between Labour and Tory” for too long – a vanishingly small space to occupy. I don’t think Tim Farron is going to engage in intellectual discussions on Liberalism. But showing people that Liberal values do actually make a difference to ordinary people is key. This was the great strength of the original community politicians like Michael Meadowcroft (who I note is a Farron supporter).

  • To those who were unimpressed with BBC coverage, you should have switched to Sky News (on Freeview) – they were showing the rally and speeches live so hopefully Tim’s message will have reached a wide audience. They also had an interview with Norman later.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. It would be great if people could give Tim a chance before writing off both his leadership and the party. Of course those who supported Norman will be disappointed at the result and there are also issues around the number of members who chose for whatever reason not to vote. However, surely now is the time for all of us, new and longstanding members alike, to stand together and look to the future. If tonight is anything to go by, we have exciting times ahead! Let’s enjoy the moment and move on.

  • As a non-voting member – please don’t take my decision not to vote as apathy .
    I couldn’t decide, and liked both of the candidates. Both had their pros and cons, so I was happy to leave the decision to members better informed, and with a clearer vision.

  • Excellent News. Now to start the really difficult bit of turning the ship around and repairing the holes torn in the hull before it sinks.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jul '15 - 10:51pm

    Please read what Tim Farron actually said about Labour at the Islington rally.
    Please ognore the BBC summary.
    Where do they get thewse people from?

  • re. turnout:

    I would not read too much into it… The highest turnout we have ever got in a Leadership election is 72%. that would have been about 9700 more people voting….Many ordinary members who do not go on Lib Dem Voice but who have just seen their MP lose or their local candidate lose their deposit may well be a bit demoralised. I get the impression that the candidates wisely wasted less money trying to win than on some previous occasions… and there was some negative campaigning that may have affected the turnout.. people who went to the hustings will have realised both candidates were pretty good, but that is a small minority of the electorate

  • Many congratulations to Tim. The hard works begins now but I don’t doubt that he has the drive to do it and sure that he will. We are very fortunate to have him as our leader. Now is the time we unite and support him and I already feel the party coming back together.

    Also, my very best to Norman – he made it into a real contest, as refelcted by the result. He has so much to contribute to the party and he will play a key role in the next five years. Would love to see conduct the update to the Beveridge report he discussed in the campaign.

    @John Tilley

    You are a man of few words, John 🙂 Hope all is well with you.

    @Theakes

    Rather than taking the fight to the Greens, how about we go for that much larger chunk of previous LD voters who went to Con or Lab in May? I would say a Farron leadership would, without vast effort, attract many of those Green voters back so we should surely focus on the richer seams of voters we need to regain seats,

  • Congratulation to Tim, commiserations to Norman.
    Let’s move forward and enjoy the fightback to respectability.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jul '15 - 11:26pm

    There was a much more perceptive interview on Newsnight,
    although i do not know how the size of the audience compares with News at Ten.

    Party President Sal Brinton deserves that rare accolade of being “good on the box”.

  • Richard Underhill 16th Jul '15 - 11:35pm

    Norman Lamb was at the rally, spoke, and was in good form.
    What he has achieved as a Minister in the field of mental health is something Tim Farron is proud of.

  • Conor McGovern 16th Jul '15 - 11:43pm

    I have to say Tim was fantastic when I saw the rally online.

  • Congratulations to Tim, or commiserations. I’m not sure which is more appropriate. He faces a very difficult task guiding the Liberal Democrats through what will be a difficult recovery.

    I can’t say either candidates struck me as that strong but with such a shallow pool of MPs left to choose from perhaps that was inevitable. Hopefully, Tim will surprise me over the coming years.

  • @David: regarding the BBC. The Lib Dems are now the 4th or 5th party of British politics, you cannot expect any particularly special coverage from the media anymore.

  • Gary Ecclestone 17th Jul '15 - 12:00am

    So far tonight a gain from the Tories in Rother and from Labour in Wrexham… Vote share up everywhere where the party had a candidate as far as I can see.

  • I know that Tim will see his first job as bringing The Party back together. Just because we have good manners & are mostly polite to each other doesnt mean that the contest hasnt left some people on the losing side feeling bruised. I voted for Tim but I recognise that the way he responded to to crtiicism of his positions on abortion & equal marriage were a bit weak. Some Lamb supporters have been left with doubts that no one should have about the Leader of Our Party.
    We need to come together again as a Party & Tim will want to lead that healing.

  • Steve Comer 17th Jul '15 - 1:12am

    Nick Collins asked: ” If the LibDems were a trade union would that be enough, under the current Tory proposals,to legalise a proposed strike?” The answer is NO 56.5% on a 56% turnout is way short!

  • nvelope2003
    “Please do not blame the Royal Mail”
    I didn’t get my ballot paper until after 2 July. Of course I live abroad. I did put a stamp on it so I hope it got there in time.These days mail services are slow.
    Some members may of course have gone abroad on pre-booked holidays.

  • Congratulations to Tim Farron, though I don’t envy him. He has one of the toughest jobs in politics.

    It will be his task to reinvigorate the Party while making it both more democratic and more representative of the general populace; and, at the same time, to give the Party a clear and distinct message while communicating to both lost and new Liberal Democrat voters. All of these things could, potentially, work against each other. In addition, he leads a tiny parliamentary Party which includes both his defeated rival and his predecessor. Working out proper places for everyone will be a task.

    I hope he will give attention to growth in the now-anæmic local parties, which have suffered from association with the parliamentary Party, and still have a strong potential for recovery. I hope especially he will consider options for reorganising the Party in a way that reflects the new political landscape, and provide a way for the Scottish Liberal Democrats to rediscover themselves as a truly Scottish party, not just a Scottish branch of what is now overwhelmingly an English party.

  • @paul barker: “doubts that no one should have about the Leader of Our Party”

    Doubts are an excellent thing. For far too long the Party suffered from “Leaderism” — the notion that Leaders had to be followed without question, that to argue with the Leader’s direction was high treason, and that the Leader should be bronzed and placed on a pedestal — even if his feet were of wet clay. Your own experiences with defending the indefensible political leadership of the past five years should make you very shy of wanting to repeat that mistake.

    I hope that Tim will meet robust doubts and questioning of his leadership, and that he will be glad to use those doubts to hone his own skills in leadership and communication, and use them to make himself a better leader with better policies and political judgement.

  • Sammy O’Neill
    Some of your concerns are not those of many ordinary people.
    Immigration from outside the EU is heavily controlled to the point where a British person needs a well paying job if he or she wants to bring a foreign spouse to live in the UK.
    I think most ordinary people want to live in a prosperous country and this will not come about if the UK becomes an isolated country. In many parts of the world economic unions are being formed.

  • Very good set of by-election results to greet our new leader 🙂

  • @Steve Comer

    Which shows how ridiculous the Tory proposals are…. and hypocritical…

  • The Lib Dem leader is a good, honest man. It’s a while since I’ve been able to say that.

    Good luck to him but I think his task is impossible. If he keeps hold of 8 seats in 2020 he’ll have done well (and will have done a much better job of keeping what he inherited than Clegg). The battle to avoid total oblivion has begun but I don’t think a turn around in fortunes is possible without a Secret Speech denouncing Clegg et al. Farron isn’t going to what is necessary – he’s far too nice. The nonsense of a broad church that includes the extremist economic liberals will continue, as will the Lib Dem’s misfortune.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 8:11am

    Sammy O’Neill

    Examples of Tim and the bizarre middle class obsessions:

    1. Suffers from the party-wide EU obsession/love. The vast majority of the public either don’t care or disagree. It isn’t a vote winner, it isn’t a priority issue for most people.

    No, I don’t think this is “bizarre”. Membership of the EU is not a fringe issue.

    I quite agree that for most people it’s not a key issue, and the more obvious benefits and appreciation of what it means will fall higher up the class scale. Liberal Democrats do need to realise that there’s a genuine reason for concern lower down the class scale over being out-competed for jobs by high-ability people from low-income parts of the EU. To sing the praises of the EU, while pouring scorn on those who are concerned about this, and dismissing them as “racist” and so on is not a good thing to do, and Liberal Democrats do that far too often.

    However, we also have a strong anti-EU push in this country, and the driving force of that is not from lower down the social scale. It’s from certain very wealthy people at the top who don’t like the idea of international co-operation challenging the global super-elite and want to see small countries competing with each other to kow-tow to the super-elite as it exerts its domination. Of course, they don’t put it this way when they sell the anti-EU message to those at the bottom of the class scale. They do like the idea of the EU as a distraction, something people’s attention can be turned to and blamed for problems that really come from other things.

    On these grounds it’s quite right for us to be firm in putting the case for the EU, and the way in which anyone who does that gets accused of being “obsessed” by it or “in love” with the EU is all part of the anti-EU elite’s sinister tactics.

  • Tim is on Radio 4 Today Programme right now. He is doing ok but Humphreys is labouring the religious element.

    I’m a bit surprised to hear that he says he asked God whether he should run for the leadership. That comes across as a bit strange to be honest. It would have been better to have kept quiet on God. (I’m a Tim supporter btw). I absolutely believe that Tim’s beliefs should not be held against him in terms of his suitability to be leader but at the same time, he needs to keep his relationship with God a private affair.

  • Tony Dawson 17th Jul '15 - 8:38am

    Tim has immense qualities. That speech’s one failing though, is the same failing which he has shown on a number of occasions over the past year. He has declared that he is prepared to surround himself with people who will tell him the truth. There should be, therefore, no need to put such criticism out in the public domain.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 8:41am

    Richard Harris

    Why on earth would a party that’s just taken such a financial hit use the mail when it could have been done on the Web?

    I work as a computer scientist, and I do not know a single computer scientist who is in favour of electronic voting. Those of us who work in this field know very well how if what happens is pushed to control by complex and invisible software, it is so easy for things to go wrong either by accident or on purpose. Doing it all with physical entities which you don’t have to be an expert to follow is a major protection of democratic security, which should not be abandoned.

    See the following links for some answers to your question:

    http://www.itworld.com/article/2721542/it-management/belgian-region-s-decision-to-use-new-voting-machines-reignites-e-voting-debate.html

    http://www.gnu.org/software/free/

    http://arstechnica.co.uk/tech-policy/2015/07/police-raid-programmer-who-reported-flaw-in-argentinian-e-voting-system/

    https://wiki.openrightsgroup.org/wiki/Electronic_Voting

    http://www.fsf.org/licensing/gplv3-tc-voting-machines

    http://cienciasycosas.com/2013/01/06/el-fraude-del-voto-electronico-en-las-elecciones-de-rio-do-janeiro/

    http://www.zdnet.fr/actualites/vote-electronique-vote-par-internet-vote-opaque-39602430.htm

  • @Phyllis I raised that point several weeks ago (that overt religion comes across as a “bit strange” to use your words) but was shouted down for it. Just saying.

    @steve I’m surprised you’re allowed to get away with such inflammatory comments as “extremist economic liberal s” but there we are.

  • Tony Dawson 17th Jul '15 - 8:50am

    @Sammy O’Neill

    ” I cannot see how the party is going to recover when led by Farron. His obsession with bizarre, middle class-centric policies and lack of pragmatism/general understanding of how life is for the majority of the population is simply a recipe for irrelevance and derision”

    I have known Tim Farron for many years. His politics and approach are just about as far way from ” the type you’d find in an obscure political society at a good university” as they could ever be. I would go further than that. Both his own background and personal struggle and the manner in which he has won and maintained his constituency when almost all around have fallen by the wayside are reflective of his personal politics and his approach to ordinary people from all walks of life who can see how genuine he is. I have some policy differences with Tim but even as a long term confirmed Atheist I have no problems at all with him as a genuine Leader for our party. I would guess that your own perspective might betray a rather (possibly significantly) smaller understanding of either the problems of ordinary people either directly or indirectly than Tim Farron has.

  • @TCO
    Economic liberalism IS an extreme of political opinion. Modern liberalism, by contrast, with its advocacy of a mixed-market economy and state intervention is in the centre. There’s nothing inflammatory about it.

    You clearly don’t think that I should be allowed to ‘get away’ with being allowed a different point of view to you. That’s as far from liberalism as I can imagine, yet I am not calling for your comments to be deleted.

  • I thought his response to Humphreys silly line of questioning that “this is the shocking revelation that Christians pray sometimes” was pithy and bang on.

    Religious person in does religion shocker! News at eleven!

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 9:10am

    David-1

    For far too long the Party suffered from “Leaderism” — the notion that Leaders had to be followed without question, that to argue with the Leader’s direction was high treason, and that the Leader should be bronzed and placed on a pedestal — even if his feet were of wet clay.

    Yes, and when we are arguing about what it means to be “liberal”, surely a big aspect of it must be to be against this way of thinking.

  • Jack it still came across as a bit odd. I understand that people who are religious pray to God but it’s not an image I feel comfortable with when thinking of political leaders whether it’s Cameron, Blair, Major, Thatcher or Tim Farron. I’m sorry but please believe me when I say that I’m saying this as a critical friend of the Lib Dems.

    I also think he needs to tone down his admiration of Nick Clegg. It doesn’t come across very well to ex Lib Dem voters who are looking for a reason to return to the Party. It suggests the Party hasn’t learnt the lessons of May 2015. There were good reasons why Clegg was so unpopular. Tim needs to admit that and show that he understands all the ways in which Clegg et al let the Party and the country down. Then he needs to apologise for all those things. Only then might the Party be able to draw a line under the Clegg years.

    So far, I’m a bit disappointed in Tim.

  • @steve I’ve had less inflammatory comments moderated. Economic liberalism is mainstream liberal thinking. That you should think otherwise speaks volumes.

    @phyllis in a largely secular society overt displays of religion don’t come across well.

  • Wayne Stubbs 17th Jul '15 - 9:20am

    Sorry to be the grump in the middle of this mass of positive comments, but I do not think Farron’s election is a good thing. I think it is contrary to Liberal principles, and potentially disastrous for our chances of recovery.

  • David Allen 17th Jul '15 - 9:31am

    “There were good reasons why Clegg was so unpopular. Tim needs to admit that..”

    Yes indeed, but Tim has to be gradual in developing a new approach. He must show that, unlike Clegg, he can listen to his party. He must carry his party with him.

    One big reason for a gradual approach has to be the need to watch the Labour Party. I know it’s usual for Lib Dems to protest that we follow our own lodestar, but, that can’t really be true. The facts are clearly that if Labour elect Liz Kendall, we shall be to their left: and if they elect Jeremy Corbyn, we shall be to their right! Inevitably, therefore, Tim Farron’s campaigning as Lib Dem Leader will have to adapt to what Labour do.

  • Regarding Christianity, well we tried Clegg Atheism and that failed………………….!!!!

  • @TCO
    “Economic liberalism is mainstream liberal thinking. ”

    Not throughout the entire course of the 20th century it wasn’t. Good luck in your attempt to redefine it, but there’s already a party that advocates economic liberalism with a leadership that identifies with liberalism on social issues – it’s called the Tory party. What makes you think that anyone would vote for a small party advocating the same policies as a much larger party that is capable of winning an election on its own?

  • (Matt Bristol) 17th Jul '15 - 10:16am

    Sammy O’Neil:

    As the sort of person who would be happily at home in an obscure university political society (although that’s not all I am), I do hereby pledge to completely shut up about Gladstone for at least a year if you’ll stay in. A focus on the cost of living and housing inequality is essential for us, and you should be in the tent promoting it.

    However, I won’t be shutting up about electoral reform and it would be unreasonable to expect anyone in this party to do so, just as it would be unreasonable for anyone in the Labout party to be told to shut up about raising the possibility of public ownership.

  • Neil Sandison 17th Jul '15 - 10:25am

    I just don’t believe some of the comments on this stream .We have just had an open ,democratic, and inclusive leadership election with 2 well matched contenders, lots of opportunities to attend hustings and follow on line.
    Both contenders took questions from rank and file members and responded to the best of their ability .Compare that to the Labour party contest where only one candidate is managing to stand out from the crowd. Where there is little evidence of passion or direction of travel and where off the campaign trail open warfare between the factions is being openly displayed on the news channels. Tim will get us back on track, and with Normans help, come forward with an agenda which is unique and I believe will appeal to Liberal Britain.

  • @Matt (Bristol “just as it would be unreasonable for anyone in the Labout party to be told to shut up about raising the possibility of public ownership”

    When Blair did that he won three elections.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '15 - 11:00am

    Tim Farron was on the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 today, 17/7/2015.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p02x9qbh
    On Trident he said it was a “Cold War relic” and he does not want to “spend £100 billion on it”.

  • Christopher Haigh 17th Jul '15 - 11:00am

    @TCO -‘economic liberalism is mainstream liberal thinking’ – Since when, and if so it’s a thinking that’s got to be changed!

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Jul '15 - 11:12am

    Phyllis

    ‘Jack it still came across as a bit odd. I understand that people who are religious pray to God but it’s not an image I feel comfortable with when thinking of political leaders whether it’s Cameron, Blair, Major, Thatcher or Tim Farron.’

    There was a debate in the House of Lords yesterday on freedom of religion and how this basic human right is under attack world wide. I have no idea whether Cameron or Major or even Thatcher prayed or didn’t pray. In a free society, they are entitled to do so or not. If politicians seek wisdom through their faith, then that is up to them as free persons. Gladstone and Kennedy did so, so will Farron, no doubt and so will many others in years to come.

    it is the case that prayer, meditation etc.. are universal practices across the religions. Indeed, religious literacy was one of the areas covered in the HOL debate last night. Allaying suspicions and fears is one reason to call for good education about religion in schools – it should be well-resourced and put back on a par with the other humanities – so cruelly down-graded by Gove’s EBacc – so that future generations live harmoniously and without suspicion in a diverse society.

  • Theakes and Helen Tedcastle

    Please don’t misunderstand, I am not advocating atheism or indeed, religious belief in political leaders, or anyone. I believe everyone should be free to follow whatever they want, as long as there is no harm to others.

    I just don’t feel comfortable with a political leader saying he ‘ asked God’ before making a major decision, and I’m pretty sure most people, and many liberals, will think it a bit odd too. As you say, Helen, none of us know if Cameron, Blair , et al pray or don’t pray before making big decisions and nor should we, its a privat matter between the individual and their God.

    I think it’s really poor judgement for Tim to feel he has to share this with the public. It gives ammunition for headline writers to pigeon hole someone. Ed Miliband was labelled Red Ed very early on, let’s hope Tim doesn’t get lumped with some sort of ‘oddball’ label. I can just imagine the cartoons now, sigh!

  • Sammy,

    Your part 1 appeared some time in the night!

    Just a couple of comments:
    1) zero carbon homes: This came out only yesterday http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-33544831 Zero carbon homes are far from a pipe dream and because they save on fuel bills are a huge boon to poor people –

    2) EU – well we are about to have a referendum which will determine the whole future of the UK. This will be in the news every single day for months, and is the defining issue of this parliament. The Lib Dems have a known position on the EU and people will expect us to campaign hard for membership – what is more it is one area where our voice will be heard in the media. Tim Farron makes an emotional, internationalist case for EU membership which is almost unknown amongst today’s politicians and will contrast completely with Cameron’s campaign based on fear of exit.

    The EU issue is obviously not going to give us 50% popularity, but I expect our % vote to rise during the campaign and if we are seen as the party of principle here then whatever the result I think our core vote will improve – because far more than 8% of British people do believe quite strongly in the EU.

  • Looking at the figures at the start of the campaign Tim was on 58.3 % and Norman on 19.8 %, with Nick Clegg on 8.6, Alistair Campbell on 5.6 and the rest split between the other 4 MPs. In the final result Tim retained almost the same level of support as at the start but Norman seems to have picked up all the support for the others. Maybe they did not like Tim and rallied around Norman to show their feelings.
    I think we got the right result though and I was more impressed with Tim’s interview on Radio 4 this morning than I recall feeling about Paddy Ashdown’s first interview. I thought he answered the question about his Christian beliefs very well but then I was brought up as a Nonconformist Christian. For most modern Christians prayer is a time for reflection rather than an opportunity to ask God for favours not to be given to others. I am sorry that in our modern secular society it is not now politically correct to seek help from the Bible. Human nature has not changed and those old prophets knew a thing or two about people and their needs and problems. Many modern people seem to have little conception of the needs of anyone but themselves.

    There were good by election results yesterday but still some poor figures, although no LD candidate appears to have seen a significant reduction in support. I do not suppose Tim was responsible unless people rushed out and voted after 5 pm ! Still it is a good omen.

  • (Matt Bristol) 17th Jul '15 - 12:23pm

    @TCO — Blair did in fact (under protest) take some assets into a form of public ownership ie Railtrack becoming Network Rail.

    Yes, he did win elections, and I am not saying public ownership is right, but with the Clause 4 fudge, Blair did not emphatically win the argument on public ownership in his party or put in place a different model; he just told people to pipe down, suppress their tendencies and the historic traditions of their party so that they could win elections. Result: short term gains, longterm identity crisis about what the party stands for. Activists held aspirations that their leadership did not endorse (or worse, did endorse but were fearful of saying they did) and the public lost a narrative sense of where the party had been and was headed and the ground was laid for less confident / economically lucky leaders than Blair to be dismissed as ‘shifty’ and ‘out of touch’.

    The same sort of longterm crisis as is happening now to Labour could happen to us if we continue to say internally that we want STV and/or electoral reform but suppress our communication of it in public so it becomes something only discussed in the ‘inner circle’. Either we want or we don’t. If we want it, we need to find the language to discuss it in brass-tacks man-or-woman-in-the-street terms and make it as much part of our practical politics as we are able.

    But we need to relate all our proposals on voting reform and ocnstitutional reform to injustice, to giving the ordinary voter control over the political system. It’s not about building the perfect academic voting system. It’s about choice and control for the ordinary person.

  • (Matt Bristol) 17th Jul '15 - 12:28pm

    I think I should be clear that I meant ‘I am not saying public ownership is ALWAYS INHERENTLY right’ above…

  • Stephen Hesketh 17th Jul '15 - 12:30pm

    Needless to say I am delighted with the result following a contest in which the members of this party openly, and in the main reasonably, debated Liberalism/Liberal Democracy … and then ‘Reclaimed’ it back from those who had sought to reposition it at some distance to the economic right of the mass of members and core voters.

    I am not at all surprised that my long-term political sparring friend, the Reeves-esque TCO, does not share my and the general mainstream Liberal pleasure at the result 🙂

  • @Matt (Bristol) but the fundamental point, and one that Farron to his credit embraces, is that there’s no point embracing unpopular policy positions if it means you never get elected. Blair, to his credit, won 3 elections and implemented a change programme. So did we (to a much lesser extent, admittedly) when we were in coalition.

  • David-1,
    “For far too long the Party suffered from “Leaderism” — the notion that Leaders had to be followed without question, that to argue with the Leader’s direction was high treason, and that the Leader should be bronzed and placed on a pedestal — even if his feet were of wet clay.”

    Exactly. This dangerous delusion dates back to the founding of the Lib Dems and it’s always been a major weakness. If Tim is to be a great leader then one of his first acts should be to propose changes to the constitution that would make it easier to unseat him should he ever lose the plot or stay on too long as most political leaders do.

    In particular it would be intolerable that he or any subsequent leader might stay on if they lose the confidence of his closest colleagues, the other MPs – even when there are only 7 of them. In other words, as I’ve said before, a minority of MPs should be able to mount a challenge – although it goes without saying that they would first have to have a credible alternative candidate lined up and, as the Tory experience shows, that’s often the hardest part.

  • Andrew: I am not sure the Party of IN campaign did us much good in 2014 but maybe Tim Farron can reach the parts that others cannot reach – at least I hope so. He does at least promote the liberal agenda and philosophy but some people here do not seem to like that. I guess the clue to the party’s beliefs should be in the name. Why would anyone vote for a party whose clearly stated fundamental beliefs, as demonstrated by its name, they do not cherish ?

  • @Stephen Hesketh “and then ‘Reclaimed’ it back from those who had sought to reposition it at some distance to the economic right of the mass of members and core voters.”

    Well, that’s your opinion. But you have no evidence to support your conjecture of where the mass of members or core voters sit. Besides, just over half of the vote from just over half of the eligible voters is hardly a ringing endorsement of your presumed view of what Farron represents.

  • John Roffey 17th Jul '15 - 1:21pm

    I would like to congratulate TF for winning the Party leadership – in my opinion he has the best chance, of the two candidates, of finding a way to recovery.

    Having said that, I think it is going to be an extraordinary difficult task – primarily because of the lack of media exposure and the greatly increased competition from mainly the Greens and to a lesser extent UKIP. However, both the Guardian and BBC do appear to wish to help.

    Although for there to be any major recovery – I think that the Party is going to have to identify a single key policy that has great appeal to the majority of the electorate, now that it is so small in terms of MPs. I don’t think that any of those policies currently featuring will have sufficient attraction to the vast majority.

  • “Economic liberalism is mainstream liberal thinking. ”

    That depends on what you mean by “economic liberalism”. If, like some here, you mean the revisionist version, the so-called neoliberalism that descends from Thatcherism then it is emphatically NOT mainstream liberal.

    Economics is not like the physical sciences where theories have low emotional content, no behavioural consequences and can be empirically tested. It’s much more like theology and, like theology, it can be an honest endeavour to discover truth or it can be a dishonest exercise, intended to deceive, confuse or retrospectively justify whatever outcome its advocates want.

    Neoliberalism proposes that markets are almost infallible (with only limited caveats) and that, if operated subject to minimal regulation (or better, no regulation), they tend to an equilibrium that optimally allocates resources and sets prices. Hence it suggests that non-market institutions like the NHS should be transformed into pseudo-markets to make them work better. Hence also, it proposes that neutering existing regulations (note: not BAD regulations, just ‘regulations’) via a backdoor route, the TTIP, will somehow boost European growth.

    That’s all nonsense of course. Markets are human constructs that work according to sets of rules and regulations (although these aren’t always apparent) and these rules determine outcomes to a large extent. Absent rules, raw power takes over (ask any supermarket supplier) which of course appeals to the powerful as it selectively advantages them (hence growing inequality). Also markets do NOT in general tend towards an equilibrium. Like the weather the economy is a chaotic (in the mathematical sense) system. It makes money the master, not the servant of humanity.

    Old Labour used to have a different theory, that the state could run everything. That view finally collapsed in 1979 and Thatcher proposed a new idea. That’s now collapsed in turn but continues as a zombie theory in the absence of any alternative. The coming decades will belong politically to whichever party proposes a better plan. Ideally, that will be a liberal economics but it certainly won’t be “economic liberalism” as many have understood it.

  • @Phyllis and TCO:

    “Jack it still came across as a bit odd. I understand that people who are religious pray to God but it’s not an image I feel comfortable with when thinking of political leaders whether it’s Cameron, Blair, Major, Thatcher or Tim Farron.” – Phyllis

    “@phyllis in a largely secular society overt displays of religion don’t come across well.” – TCO

    Actually, it seems to me that if we’re not comfortable with leaders being overtly religious then we don’t live in a truly secular society. Secularism is usually considered in the context of removing religion from the public sphere but, in fact, secularism also requires a commitment to freedom of religion and parity of esteem for those of diverse religious beliefs. If Tim were to try to argue that X is wrong because God says so then I would have a clear issue with that but I have no issue with him being a practising Christian and not hiding that he undertakes normal Christian practices such as praying about big decisions.

    As an atheist I clearly disagree with his beliefs but while I have some issues with practice of religion I think pushing those who practice religion out of political influence is just as damaging as pushing those without religion out of political influence. Moreover, I think it’s a dangerous idea to hold the view that it’s okay for TIm to be Christian so long as he doesn’t talk about it.

  • nvelope2003

    I don’t think anything we did in 2014 made any difference. Firstly Euro elections are giant protest votes about the governing party at the time (and a chance to give a boost to single issue parties like the Greens), and have very little to do with Europe. Except of course that the anti-Europeans coalesced around UKIP

    Secondly, no-one was prepared to listen to our messenger, which was a big problem.

    Tim DOES have to make sure that Nick Clegg has no big role in the Euro referendum campaign, I am afraid… But this campaign really will be about the pros and cons of Europe. I really believe Tim would come out on top in a debate with Farage…

  • @Steve @Gordon yet more who try and equate neoliberalism and economic liberalism. They’re not the same and you know it. And if you don’t, then go and read up on it.

    @Jack I have no problem with Tim’s religion; I just don’t think wearing it in his sleeve is a vote-winner.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '15 - 3:26pm

    Andrew,
    Please factor in the different electoral systems, the lower turnout and the protest vote all in combination.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '15 - 3:29pm

    “Congratulations, Tim, on being elected leader of a party that doesn’t often want to be led … ”
    It did not look like that at the rally in Islington.

  • (Matt Bristol) 17th Jul '15 - 3:47pm

    Stephen Hesketh – I do not think we can at this point say that everyone who voted for Farron voted emphatically to move the party ‘left’, although I think we can say that he will try to, and this would be welcome to me personally.

    But left of what? Left of the Coalition agreement? Left of the 2010 and 2015 manifestoes? In what way?

    Also given that Norman positioned himself during the campaign on many issues to the left of the Coalition and by extension the the left of Clegg, let’s not let the myth be written that it was a straight right-left choice and we chose left.

    Policy by policy, debate by debate, opportunity by opportunity, campaign by campaign, is how the future of the party will be determined. And those of us who want more social-justice emphasis and a party that looks more like that of Ashdown and Kennedy’s era will still need the ‘Orange-bookers’ along, as a sharpening, irritant, provoking element to make us think harder.

    However irritating TCO can be, love him.

  • Ruth Bright 17th Jul '15 - 4:12pm

    (Matt Bristol) Love bombing TCO? I would do anything for Tim Farron but I won’t do that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '15 - 4:40pm

    There is a strong theme here: it is about winning elections

    Tim Farron said
    “I am reminded how vital it is to win election”
    “Seat by seat we will fight and we will win.”
    And if the Tories are really determined to make everyone have a metro mayor, we’ll just have to win those elections too. It will take hard work, guts and bloody-mindedness. There will be defeats and injustices. Winning has never been easy.
    I’m fed to the back teeth of being right and losing elections!
    There is nothing grubby about wanting to win. You can’t change people’s lives from second place.
    pick a ward, any ward, and win it.
    Winning elections isn’t rocket science,
    be uplifted by the difference you can make when you win.
    win a local battle
    make our own luck, and we will do it together. It is time for Liberal Democrats to win again.
    I am reminded how vital it is to win elections
    – we can win again.
    Seat by seat we will fight and we will win.
    we’ll just have to win those elections too.
    Winning has never been easy.

    comeback starts right now, right here, it starts with us.

  • @Matt (Bristol) @Ruth

    I am the grit in your oyster …

  • Helen Tedcastle 17th Jul '15 - 5:20pm

    TCO
    ‘ @Jack I have no problem with Tim’s religion; I just don’t think wearing it in his sleeve is a vote-winner.’

    If you have no problem with it then you ought to have no problem with him talking about it. It’s part of who he is. It’s refreshing to have a politician who is honest about their commitment rather than watering it down to something vague and barely recognisable, so as to please the North London chattering classes.

  • David Allen 17th Jul '15 - 6:02pm

    Phyllis,

    “I just don’t feel comfortable with a political leader saying he ‘ asked God’ before making a major decision”

    Well – I’m an unbeliever myself, and I have strong objections to people like Bush and Blair who led a disastrous “crusade” in Iraq which was clearly based on a fundamentalist kind of religious belief. However, I don’t see Farron as remotely similar.

    What Farron asked his God to guide him on was his personal decision as to whether to run for the leadership. If I believed in a God, I am quite sure I would want to do likewise, and to decide whether the path I was proposing to follow was in conformity with my religious principles. Importantly, a decision such as Farron’s decision to run is not a question of right or wrong, it is a personal choice of what to do with one person’s life. I don’t think Farron was looking for a thunderbolt from the sky accompanied by a ghostly voice declaiming something like “No Tim, join UKIP!” Rather, he will have been thinking things like “Am I confident I can do this well? Can I make a commitment to this daunting task and be sure I can follow it through?” Now, you and I might think he will then essentially have been entering a dialogue with his own conscience. But I suspect it will have been an effective dialogue.

    By contrast, Tim has made it pretty clear that he would not ask his God to do his thinking for him, and to tell him the answers to political questions, such as whether to invade Iraq or whether to cut the top rate of tax. Instead, he has made it clear that he will tackle these questions the same way a Lib Dem atheist would tackle them – by looking at the evidence and by reference to his liberal principles.

    As to issues such as assisted dying, these are conventionally treated as issues of individual conscience, on which a free vote is required. Tim would no doubt cast his individual vote against assisted dying, but he would not countenance treating it as a party political issue, or seeking to exercise leadership. It again follows, therefore, that we unbelievers should have no problem with the fact that Tim is our party leader.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 17th Jul '15 - 6:16pm

    @TCO: I am the biggest heathen out there and most definitely not a fan of organised religion. I don’t see why I should criticise other people’s choices, though, or suggest that they should somehow keep quiet about their faith. Isn’t that a bit like “Don’t ask, don’t tell”?

  • No-one is saying Tim should keep quiet about being a man of faith but saying ” I asked God ‘ will come across to many people as though he had said ‘ I asked my friends the Martians’ . It’s not at all the same as asking people to keep quiet about their sexuality.. So many people do not believe in a metaphysical entity that when someone says they have conversations with one, they are instantly labelled as ‘oddball’. The media don’t need any encouragement to do that to the LibDems after all.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 8:29pm

    David Allen

    Well – I’m an unbeliever myself, and I have strong objections to people like Bush and Blair who led a disastrous “crusade” in Iraq which was clearly based on a fundamentalist kind of religious belief.

    Well, we have argued about this before, but to me that is a ridiculous suggestion. What evidence have you that it was “clearly based on a fundamentalist kind of religious belief”? Why are you keen on supporting the terrorists who have pushed this ridiculous notion? As I have said many times, if this was some sort of fundamentalist attack on Islam, rather than a misguided attempt to overthrow a cruel dictator, where were the crack troops of evangelists coming in to try to make the religious conversions?

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 8:35pm

    David Allen

    If I believed in a God, I am quite sure I would want to do likewise, and to decide whether the path I was proposing to follow was in conformity with my religious principles.

    Yes, so why do you interpret a very similar remark by Tony Blair, as evidence of a “fundamentalist kind of belief”?Sorry, you are being completely hypocritical here, because to me the only answer to that question is that you like Tim Farron and you dislike Tony Blair.

  • @Caron what I think is neither here nor there. It’s what the electorate think.

  • @Matthew Huntbach +1

  • Jayne Mansfield 17th Jul '15 - 8:44pm

    I think that Tim Farron should be congratulated on his honesty and for refusing to deny his beliefs. He must know that he would face mockery from some quarters, and it reflects well on him that he has the strength of character to state his beliefs without equivocation.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 8:48pm

    John Roffey

    Having said that, I think it is going to be an extraordinary difficult task – primarily because of the lack of media exposure and the greatly increased competition from mainly the Greens and to a lesser extent UKIP. However, both the Guardian and BBC do appear to wish to help.

    The advice the Guardian has given to the Liberal Democrats, and the Liberal Party and SDP before that, has always been disastrously wrong. That includes, obviously, the strong support it gave to Clegg during and before the leadership contest which he won. I often wonder if the Guardian does this deliberately – it wants to give the impression of being supportive of the Liberal Democrats, but in reality it is run by Labour-supporting people who want to see us pushed into irrelevance. That is why, I have begun to think, the Guardian so strongly supports the right-wing of the Liberal Democrats, and hardly acknowledge the existence of the left-wing of the party. That is why during the Coalition, and even now, it both urged the Liberal Democrats to carry on down the “economic liberal” path and ran comments from Labour supporters denouncing us for doing so.

    Anyway, our party tends to do best when working quietly at grass-roots level, media coverage damages us rather than helps us. The classic example of this is the Bermondsey by-election that first got Simon Hughes elected as MP. We did so well in that, I think, because the media ignored us and wrote us off until the end, reporting it as a two-horse race between Tatchell and O’Grady.

  • George Potter 17th Jul '15 - 9:14pm

    Tim’s said that when he “asks God for guidance” he doesn’t expect God to show him the correct path – what he prays for is the wisdom to choose the right path on his own. That’s very different from believing, as George W Bush did, that God is telling you to do something in particular.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 10:06pm

    TCO

    @Stephen Hesketh “and then ‘Reclaimed’ it back from those who had sought to reposition it at some distance to the economic right of the mass of members and core voters.”

    Well, that’s your opinion. But you have no evidence to support your conjecture of where the mass of members or core voters sit.

    Nonsense, the evidence is clear.

    If our members and voters supported the shift of the party to the right, surely they would have been cheering us on during 2010-15 at those times we dropped those aspects of policy that were more to the left and not “economic liberal”. If there was some great band of supporters out there, who sort of liked us but were a bit worried about us sometimes being a bit statist, wouldn’t there have been roars of approval from them, and our opinion poll ratings going up when we dropped that very statist idea of subsidising universities through general taxation? Wouldn’t the way we (well, our Leader and Parliamentarians) seemed to accept the introduction of a more market oriented approach in the NHS by supporting the Tories’ reforms have seen sighs of relief from that band who want to see us go that way, which you are suggesting exists, saying “Ah, at last, the Liberal Democrats are seeing economic sense, we shall now be more forthright in support of them”?

    Well, I think Nick Clegg, surrounding himself with people like Richard Reeves, did actually think that. He did really seem to think that we just had to drop the old “beards and sandals” image and become more like “serious politicians”, and there’d be people flocking to support us. That’s apparent from some of his speeches early on in the coalition. Even towards the end there seemed to be this feeling that the supporters you say are out there would turn up, so happy at our liberal influence in government, and praising us for the economic recovery that we thought people with “brains” like ours had managed.

    Only it didn’t work out like that, did it? Our party did all that people like you say it should do to increase its support, and its support plummetted.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 10:14pm

    George Potter

    That’s very different from believing, as George W Bush did, that God is telling you to do something in particular.

    Where is your evidence that George W Bush believed God was dictating him to do something in particular? The words that some, like David Allen, have quoted to suggest that Tony Blair was being instructed by God to do things, do not suggest that to me at all. They suggest very much the same sort of thing as Tim Farron is saying here, that he believed his personal decision was a good one. I don’t believe Tony Blair supported the invasion of Iraq with a feeling of delight at the damage it would cause, rather I feel he genuinely believed that deposing the dictator would be good as a better government would arise. So, if that was what he believed, his conscience was clear, God would not regard him as a bad person. The words he used to put that message across, to me, most definitely do not suggest any sort of “God ordered me to invade, I just obeyed” way of thinking.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 10:29pm

    David Allen

    As to issues such as assisted dying, these are conventionally treated as issues of individual conscience, on which a free vote is required. Tim would no doubt cast his individual vote against assisted dying, but he would not countenance treating it as a party political issue, or seeking to exercise leadership.

    Well, they are, but we have seen a lot of people suggesting that this and other traditionally “issues of conscience” are fundamentally “liberal” issues, and that there is only one position that a “liberal” should take on them – and that therefore Tim Farron is not a true liberal for not taking that position. The Guardian newspaper published a whole commentary article very critical of Farron on these grounds. Many of the strongest Norman Lamb supporters here on Liberal Democrat Voice energetically pushed that line. I myself was so alarmed by this that I had resolved to resign from the party had Norman Lamb won.

    I have myself benefited greatly from the death of my mother-in-law just two weeks after the period of grace allowed when the state subsidised residential care. Had she lived for years in care, as could have been the case, we would have had to sell her house to pay for it. Instead, we inherited it. So, under those circumstances, don’t you think, if assisted dying were allowed, we would have rather thought it a good idea to encourage mum not to be a burden on us, and do the decent thing? Sorry, I have been there and know what it’s like, and from that I know how dangerous it would be to introduce the legal right for your relatives to take you to a place where you will get killed.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul '15 - 10:34pm

    The point I am making here is not that liberals should necessarily take one position or another. It’s that liberals should as a matter of course be aware that there are often two sides to an issue, and so at least respect when someone differs from them on something, and accept this will happen, and agree to disagree if necessary on it.

  • Matthew 8.35 pm. Read my post again. Farron asked his God for advice on his own personal career, a choice which he alone could make about his own course in life. Bush and Blair “knew” that their “crusade” in Iraq was “the right thing to do” because their God had told them so, and their decision hurt millions. Chalk and cheese.

  • George Potter 9.14pm – spot on (and thanks for saying this more clearly than I managed to do!)

  • I would consider anyone who said that they consult a deity for guidance as on a par with someone who said they consulted a ouija board.

    However, I have no problem with people having personal faiths – so long as they keep it that way.

    The problem now for Tim Farron, is that having made a big deal of his belief, he will now find that it becomes a recurring theme in media interviews He will need to develop a strategy for preventing interviews being swallowed up with questions that try to tie him up with religion. I would suggest that he sharply intervenes to say that faith is a personal issue and neither relevant nor appropriate to public political discussion.

  • Martin, I’ve just been watching ‘Press Preview’ and sure enough they talked about Tim being “an evangelical Christian ” and the commentators predicted that the media would not let this drop. It’s a shame but sadly this is the state of the media these days. Of course neither the presenter nor the commentators even mentioned his brilliant and rousing speech yesterday. Sigh.

  • David Allen, thanks for your comments above which I don’t disagree with. And also thank you for the link about Tony Blair’s faith. Do you agree with his final sentence when he says in that article:

    “It’s difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system,” he said. “If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say ‘yes, that’s fair enough’ and it is something they respond to quite naturally. You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.”

    For the avoidance of doubt, I am talking about perception, not actuality.

  • Peter Watson 18th Jul '15 - 12:38am

    I am very happy that Farron is the new leader but I fear that the close result on a lowish turnout was not the best outcome for the party. The contest often appeared to be a surrogate for debates about continuity vs. change, left vs. right, etc., and a more decisive result for either candidate might have resolved these issues. Instead, this thread already shows that those divisions still exist quite strongly (though the boot is now on the other foot), and I think there are going to be more spats between “orange bookers” and “lefties” before the party has a clear sense of direction.

  • As far as I’m concerned, saying that one “consults God” is no different from saying that one “consults one’s conscience.” In fact, if you don’t happen to be a theistic believer, you would have to suppose that, the form of the words aside, they are exactly the same thing. So what is the issue?

  • David-1:

    On the whole people who are publicly accountable for the consequences of their decisions do not say they will consult their conscience; normally they will say that they will consider the issues at stake, meaning generally that they will review the motivations and outcomes for those involved. If there are harmful consequences, it would never be an acceptable excuse to say that one’s conscience had said that the action was all right.

    If they did appeal to their personal consciences, you would be right, but to say so would be a way of saying shut up, I am not listening to reasoned argument, I want to make a decision on what feels right for me. In practice, in every day personal lives, we do this a lot of the time, but this misses the point that politicians have to be publicly accountable: an appeal to personal conscience, astrology, mysticism or their concept of a deity is inadequate.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Jul '15 - 9:00am

    David Allen

    Bush and Blair “knew” that their “crusade” in Iraq was “the right thing to do” because their God had told them so, and their decision hurt millions. Chalk and cheese.

    Sorry, but all I can see in the “evidence” you give is Tony Blair saying that as a Christian he felt he had a duty to do good things. Well, surely all of us who are involved in politics have some sort of feeling like that, whether or not we attribute it to God. It is surely better to be motivated by that than by self-interest by feeling that politics is something you can make money out of or get famous by. After what Tim Farron is reported to have said here, he could say that he stood for the leader of the Liberal Democrats because after praying about it he felt it was the right thing to do, or as you interpreted Blair saying something very similar “God told him to do it”.

    No, it is not “chalk and cheese”, it’s two people saying something very similar, and you interpreting it in very different ways because you like one and dislike the other.

    I interpret Blair’s words as an explanation that he did not do what he did here for bad reasons, that it was not his intent to cause harm, that he felt by overthrowing the dictator he would make Iraq a better place. Of course he needed to say that, as many have accused him of doing what he did out of malice, and I think they are wrong in that. Just because it was disastrously wrong does not mean it was intended to be like that. And words someone with religious beliefs might choose to use to try and get that message across could come out very much like the ones you are so mis-interpreting.

  • John Roffey 18th Jul '15 - 9:06am

    Matthew Huntbach 17th Jul ’15 – 8:48pm

    “Anyway, our party tends to do best when working quietly at grass-roots level, media coverage damages us rather than helps us. The classic example of this is the Bermondsey by-election that first got Simon Hughes elected as MP. We did so well in that, I think, because the media ignored us and wrote us off until the end, reporting it as a two-horse race between Tatchell and O’Grady.”

    I cannot dispute what you say as I haven’t followed the Guardian’s viewpoint on the Party for long enough to judge. However, the key issue that I was raising in my comment was that the Party is facing a much greater challenge today than it has since its inception [as LDs] – with the Greens and UKIP as more than serious contenders in virtually every seat in England [plus the national parties outside of England].

    Arguably, with such competition in the eighties, when SH won his seat, he would have struggled to achieve success and that is why I doubt that the ‘working quietly at grass-roots level’ will be enough in the current political climate – with so many very big issues in play.

    It is also the reason why I am I believe that the Party will need a key policy, one that appeals to the majority of voters , and distinguishes it from its two main rivals for the floating vote . Without this, I doubt if much progress can be made at the national level – in fact decline seems a more likely outcome.

  • Matthew,
    You raise a very good point regarding the pressure that could be put on relatives in care. Of course the circumstance of having Alzheimers with no quality of life and existing only to drain the future from my children is precisely the circumstance in which I would want to take advantage of assisted suicide….

    However I wanted to comment on the actions of the Tories in this area. In the same week they have raised the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million and booted into touch the £75,000 limit on care liability. Is there any recent example of promoting unfairness in society? If you are “lucky” they die suddenly (that happened to me… It was very hard not to be able to say goodbye to my father – the death of relatives is never easy ), but if you are “unlucky” you not only get many years of trauma as your parents fail to recognise you or live in constant pain, but financial ruin (relatively) as well. Really we should say we will bring back inheritance tax and use it specifically to pay for care. If we made that link, people would perhaps realise how very lucky they are if they inherit a house…

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Jul '15 - 9:19am

    David-1

    As far as I’m concerned, saying that one “consults God” is no different from saying that one “consults one’s conscience.” In fact, if you don’t happen to be a theistic believer, you would have to suppose that, the form of the words aside, they are exactly the same thing. So what is the issue?

    Indeed. I am so concerned about the illiberal nastiness being demonstrated here, the wish to misinterpret anything someone who admits to a religious belief says in order to make them look bad. It is rather like it used to be if you were gay and involved in politics, you would have to hide your true feelings and pretend you were not as you were.

    I am sorry to say that Norman Lamb and his followers in the leadership campaign did push this line, did seek to use this sort of feeling to gain an advantage, did seem very much to emphasise issues where they knew Tim Farron would be made to feel uncomfortable, and where it seemed they hoped to make him “come out” as an evangelical Christian, and so be damaged. That is why I could not have remained in the party had Norman Lamb won.

    I don’t see Tim Farron “having made a big deal of his belief”, as Martin puts it. Rather I see a continuation of the Norman Lamb approach trying to make a big thing out of this in order to damage him, and Tim Farron just responding in a way that refuses to take the approach of hiding who he is.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Jul '15 - 9:32am

    Andrew

    However I wanted to comment on the actions of the Tories in this area. In the same week they have raised the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million and booted into touch the £75,000 limit on care liability. Is there any recent example of promoting unfairness in society?

    Yes. It is a clear example of the Tories being the non-workers’ party.

    Now, people may say I am a hypocrite because I support much higher inheritance tax while living in an inherited house. But before I met my wife (who is the one who inherited the house) and when my parents lived in a council estate, I was accused of being a hypocrite for supporting much higher inheritance tax and told my position was only taken up out of jealousy because I would not be inheriting anything.

    As with any tax it is an “I’ll do it if you’ll do it” issue, so the “huh huh, there’s nothing stopping YOU from paying what you think all of us should pay to the state” response one sometimes gets from “economic liberals” on this sort of thing doesn’t really get it. I’d have been happy if we’d paid some inheritance tax, but also benefitted from the better society that would result had such payments been universal. For one, it would enable a cut to income tax, and so a reward to enterprise. When so much of people’s rewards for hard work and enterprise is being taken away by non-workers who demand it in high rents and house prices, surely anyone who claims to be about the sort of thing the Tories claim to be about, and really means it, should be in favour of higher taxes on property and inheritance.

  • Matthew Huntbach 18th Jul '15 - 9:38am

    John Roffey

    Arguably, with such competition in the eighties, when SH won his seat, he would have struggled to achieve success and that is why I doubt that the ‘working quietly at grass-roots level’ will be enough in the current political climate – with so many very big issues in play.

    It is exactly the right thing to do in today’s political climate, when people are so put off by the top-down ad-man’s idea of politics. We need something that makes us look different, not like the “professional politicians just like the others” that the Cleggies thought was the way to win.

  • stuart moran 18th Jul '15 - 9:55am

    Matthew

    On the inheritance tax point you made – I do not think that someone who inherits a house and then goes on to use it as a primary residence should necessarily be made to pay a monetary tax on it – the thing that annoys me is the acceptance of unearned income as being completely devoid of any need to pay tax on if the house is sold and the proceeds banked

    Inheritance tax currently affects 3-5% of the population (IIRC) – surely we should only exempt the smallest estates from inheritance tax – make it payable (in monetary terms) on at least 50% of estates with clauses that protect primary residences, spouses or other dependants etc. And before you ‘double taxed’ apologists appear – this is not double taxation because the person inheriting has never been taxed on this income! Lots of straw men get dragged out of the cupboard when inheritance tax, or property and wealth tax, is discussed. Less problems in squeezing the poor though it seems!

    I also think, unpopular as it is in the UK, that property value gains should be subject to CGT based on a sliding scale on how long it has been lived in

    This complete lack of taxation on a lot of unearned income is a problem

    And before you ‘economic liberals’ poke your head above the parapet I would ask you to take a look over at one of your poster boys in Switzerland and see how property and inheritance tax is worked over there – if you buy a house and sell it within 5 years, and do not invest all the proceeds in another property, the tax can be upwards of 20%

  • @phyllis that the media would fixate on Farron’s evangelism was entirely predictable (I said as much weeks ago) and they will frame it in a way to damAge us as much as possible.

    That’s the reality, and it’s one of the considerations people should have taken into account when casting their vote. Assuming the media would give him a fair deal was naïve I the extreme

  • @stuart Moran as an economic liberal I believe in taxing earnings less and unearned wealth more.

    The main problem with IHT as it is currently framed is that it is wholly avoidable by anyone who knows what they are doing.

  • David Allen: “Matthew 8.35” sounds like you are citing a Bible passage!

  • Phyllis 12.12, I’m having some difficulty understanding the purpose of your obviously sincere enquiry here, but I will have a shot at answering. You asked:

    “Do you agree with (Blair’s) final sentence …:

    “It’s difficult if you talk about religious faith in our political system,” he said. “If you are in the American political system or others then you can talk about religious faith and people say ‘yes, that’s fair enough’ and it is something they respond to quite naturally. You talk about it in our system and, frankly, people do think you’re a nutter.”

    No, I largely disagree. The US culture is far too accepting of religion as a cover for all sorts of political beliefs, good and bad. Havig a religious belief shouldn’t excuse you from needing to justify the political action you prpose, and doing that in rational principled terms.

    As to Blair’s comment that if you talk about religion in the UK you are considered to be a nutter, no that’s nonsense as well. Certainly some people in the UK are (in my personal view!) over-rejectionist about any kind of religious view whilst others are over-accepting, but on the whole I think British culture doesn’t do badly on this test, and miles better than American culture. We should, after all, be tolerant of all faiths and none. We should therefore condemn the entry of theism into politics only when we have clear evidence that it is doing harm.

  • Oh, bless, Alex Macfie!

  • TCO
    Christianity never did Blair any harm when it came to voting… You have to remember that there are far more committed Christians than atheists (in the real world outside Lib Dem Voice contributors) and the majority of the population don’t care one way or the other… Frankly, if Tim is seen as the most religious party leader and the media keep harping on about it we can only go up from 8%. I really think there are a lot of delusional people here who think we are electing a new Prime Minister whereas the relaity is that we are threatened with oblivion and need someone who will dig us out of the hole…

    Most people care about pledges though, which is what I bore in mind when casting my vote… But I am trying not to talk about that – past history now, fortunately, and that is exactly what we should say when it comes up.

    Meanwhile Tim is evolving towards the right way to deal with it. He says he prays to God for wisdom, not for instructions. Then he looks at the evidence before deciding what to do. I think all of us would hope that we apply wisdom when looking at the facts, and before making a decision.

  • Heck, I agree with TCO! {Goes off to lie in darkened room} 😉

  • TCO

    “@phyllis that the media would fixate on Farron’s evangelism was entirely predictable (I said as much weeks ago) and they will frame it in a way to damAge us as much as possible.

    That’s the reality, and it’s one of the considerations people should have taken into account when casting their vote. Assuming the media would give him a fair deal was naïve I the extreme”

    I agree about the media’s focus but I disagree that Tim should not be leader because of his faith. Norman would have also had a grilling by the media but on the theme of ‘ betraying trust’ and ‘ personal integrity’ issues. I think Tim is the right Leader but he needs to develop an deliver a better response. Just as Norman would have had to, on the broken pledge, voting for lliberal policies etc.

    In my opinion, it is easier to forgive decisions made on grounds of conscience rather than weaknesses in personal integrity.

  • Matthew,

    I agree, we should tax wealth, not just income. Inheritance is unearned wealth.

    On the subject of having to sell the family home:
    a) This is absolutely normal when there is more than one person inheriting.
    b) What is worse, having to sell a £1 million home and pay 240,000 tax on it (current situation), or having to sell a £325,000 home to pay for care costs, ending up with a tiny fraction of the value… In the first case you still have an inheritance that no-one in my family could even dream of…

  • @ David and Alex

    I like the new “Book of Phyllis” personally

  • @Andrew Christianity never did Blair any harm because he didn’t make it a central part of his offering. I had no idea he was one.

    @Phyllis its a slow journey but we’ll get you there eventually 😉

  • James “@ TCO – , of course Blair trumpeted his faith, unless you were living under a rock prior to 1997….!!”

    Ok I don’t want to make a habit of agreeing with TCO but I have to admit I wasn’t aware of his deep faith until relatively late in the day. I also wasn’t aware that he was Godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s children. I raise this because the two are linked – Blair and New Labour courted the Media and were given a pretty easy ride because of that. Tim Farron and the Lib Dems are in the opposite position, as would Norman have been if he were Leader. Gordon Brown wasn’t so cosy with Rupert et al and got a rough ride but can you imagine the headlines/cartoon s and editorials if he had said he “asked God” before he made any major decisions?? Brutal.

    Tim needs urgent advice and coaching in how to handle the media, and a convincing narrative about his faith. For example: Does he believe gay people are sinners? will be a recurring question. He needs to have a liberal but faith-based answer ready, straightaway. He cannot duck the question because that will be spun as answering “yes”.

  • @James you’re the one talking tosh. Tim’s beliefs have been well known for years because he chose to talk about them for years. Do a little googling

  • @Phyllis I’m having an “I agree with TCO” t-shirt made for you 😉

  • Richard Underhill 19th Jul '15 - 6:19pm

    “Make your own luck” is on the T-shirt of Andy Murray’s coach.
    Today he took Great Britain to a win against France in the Davis Cup.
    It would not have happened without him, and his brother, his wife, his mother and a previous coach, Ivan Lendl.
    The silver medal in the Olympics is not mentioned much.
    The gold medal in the singles, against all the best players in the world, is mentioned.
    It led on to Grand Slam wins in New York and Wimbledon.
    Well done. Be an example to us all.

  • nvelope2003 20th Jul '15 - 9:36pm

    Phyllis: He gave all the answers to these questions clearly in his interview with Cathy Newman on Channnel 4 News after his election.

  • nvelope2003 20th Jul '15 - 9:40pm

    He believes all people are sinners which is standard Christian doctrine. Justification by faith etc Better pop in to a church when you have a spare moment and all will be explained. Gay people are not sent to hell.

  • Richard Underhill 23rd Jul '15 - 1:43pm

    George Potter: “Tim’s said that when he “asks God for guidance” he doesn’t expect God to show him the correct path – what he prays for is the wisdom to choose the right path on his own. That’s very different from believing, as George W Bush did, that God is telling you to do something in particular.”
    George W Bush was a reformed alcoholic, in biblical terms a prodigal son. Whether there was any permanent effect on his physical health is a matter for speculation.

  • nvelope2003 23rd Jul '15 - 8:36pm

    Was the low turnout because of the strange form of the ballot paper ? With only 2 candidates it was strange to ask voters to number them in order of preference as though there were 3 or more to vote for and the one receiving the fewest votes would be eliminated and their second votes allocated to the other two. People who found it hard to make up their minds might have been put off by having to put one of the candidates as number 2. Where there are only 2 candidates X should mark the spot as in a General or local election in England.

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