Farron and Kramer: their email pitches for President

Party members have been receiving emails today from Tim Farron and Susan Kramer setting out their pitches for party president. Of course, the emails can only go to party members for whom the party has an accurate email address. So I’ve reproduced the emails below – and if you’ve missed out but would like to get future party emails, get in touch with Membership Services on [email protected]

If reading these messages moves you to want to ask the candidates a question, don’t forget the online hustings coming up.

Susan Kramer

Dear Mark,

We in the Liberal Democrats are facing a time of great opportunity but also great challenge.

The Coalition in Westminster is giving us scope to implement policies we believe in from civil liberties to the pupil premium and taking low income workers out of income tax.

But the Coalition is also, by definition, implementing policies which are not those of our party and in which our role has been to make such decisions fairer than they would have been without us.

It is with this background that I ask you to elect me as President of our Party.  In the past so many of you have come to help me with my in my various campaigns.  As President, an unpaid but pretty much full-time role, I would have the opportunity to give back to you.

My pledge to you is to make the members and grassroots of the party my priority:

  • I intend to criss-cross the country to listen to you and make sure that you are heard by the leadership with whom I intend to meet regularly on your behalf
  • I will rebuild our internal communication system so that you know what the party is achieving in Parliament from the horse’s mouth rather than through a biased media
  • I will use my profile to keep the party strong and unified despite the efforts of other parties and the press to divide us
  • I will strengthen our federal organisation’s ability to support you in recruiting new members, fundraising and developing modern campaigning techniques to match our rivals

Although the General Election is 5 years away, Scotland, Wales and many local councils have elections in 7 months and we will have a critical referendum on Fair Votes next year.

I have met with many of you over the last few weeks and if elected I will continue to travel to meet you.  But the listening process is so important that I ask for your participation now.

That’s why I’m inviting you to fill in this short online survey about the Coalition Government, party communication, campaigning and about the future of the party – it will only take a few minutes.

I ask for your vote in the election for President so that I can serve you.  We Liberal Democrats can seize the future.

Yours sincerely,

Susan Kramer
Candidate for Liberal Democrat party President
www.SusanKramer.org.uk

PS. Grassroots activists and members like you are the heart of our party. If elected you will be my priority.

Tim Farron

Our Party now faces its greatest opportunity, and its greatest threat.

We have the opportunity to put our liberal values into practice in government, but we risk losing our distinctive voice. Our next party president must help seize this opportunity and defeat the threat by making sure that our voice is heard.

That is why I am standing in this election.

When I joined the Liberal Party at 16, the thought that we would be in government seemed a fantasy.  Now it’s a reality and we are making a real difference.

We are right to be in the coalition. Britain’s economy is in a real mess and we’re ensuring it’s sorted fairly. But our separate identity is being blurred, our message blunted and too many of our supporters feel confused and nervous.

I’m not having that!

If you choose me to be your president, I will be a strong, persuasive and distinctive voice.  Ministers can present the coalition’s arguments. I will present a Liberal Democrat view. I’ll explain what we stand for and what we are achieving in power.  I’ll spell out what is wrong with Tory policies.

As your president, I will actively listen to your views and put them to Nick and our other ministers.

They need to know what you think about tuition fees, the spending review, Trident and other key issues.

I’ll publicly promote, with passion, our Liberal Democrat principles, inspire our supporters and reassure our voters that they were right to vote Liberal Democrat. I’ll use my campaigning experience to help Liberal Democrats win across the UK, especially as we face next year’s Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and local government elections – and the crucial fairer votes referendum.

With our leader in government, the role of the president has to be more media focused. I believe I have the energy and ability to use the media to spell out our distinctive identity.

We also need distinctive messages and policies. During the Iraq war, remember how Ming Campbell made us all proud to be Lib Dems.  During the banking crisis, Vince Cable spoke for Britain and made us all feel proud too.  Think of how you felt as a Lib Dem when Nick won the leaders TV debates – I was so proud I almost burst!

I want that pride back.

I want more people to join us, especially young people. We’ll do it by spelling out clearly and consistently what the Liberal Democrats are doing to bring greater fairness and freedom, and to make Britain greener.

This is a crucial time, and it calls for a strong and bold voice that will lift our party’s spirits, our morale and our electoral chances.

If that’s the kind of President you want, then I’m all yours.

Thank you for your support,

TIM FARRON MP

PS.  For more information about my vision, about me and who is supporting me go to http://www.timfarronforpresident.org.uk/ – or you can email questions to me at [email protected]

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10 Comments

  • Well Done Tim! Tim Farron’s message is full of inspiration and makes me want to do stay involved in the Lib Dems whereas Susan’s is just dire… I saw her text for Scotland and again she is just quite drab.

  • Foregone Conclusion 18th Oct '10 - 6:51pm

    I’m not a Kramer partisan by any question, and I like Tim enormously as an MP and a campaigner, but I do question whether the role of President really is to be a kind of uber-campaigner, or that it requires vast reserves of charisma. And it’s not as if Susan doesn’t have a past as a successful campaigner herself! I’m reserving judgement until I see some manifesto meat on the coconut of shininess.

  • Two good pitches, but I wonder in what way Tim Farron’s vision of the party president’s role is all that different to the kind of role Simon Hughes is already trying to play for the party?

  • A very impressive pitch from Tim there, it definitely swayed me to be much more likely to vote for him.

  • Susan is speaking to me as an younger member doing my politics on-line. I think there’s a real danger that Tim is doing this to push his own career – and could be quite damaging for the party. Maybe we should bring in that often-talked-about rule that MPs can’t stand for president!

    So for me I think the score is currently running 3-2 in Susan’s favour.

  • Luke Richards 19th Oct '10 - 11:00am

    I’ve not made up my mind who to vote for yet but I think it’s really good that Susan is spending all this time speaking to ordinary members. It’s all too easy for us to forget what most of the people join this party for and I think Susan’s survey idea is great for listening to the wider voice too.

  • To me, Tims pitch looks like it would feed into the Medias obsession with splits & would sap our energies in internal squabbles. Sometimes he comes across as preparing for a future Leadership campaign.

  • Paul Barker wrote,

    “Sometimes he comes across as preparing for a future Leadership campaign.”

    We’ll be having one of those pretty soon. Provided there is a party left to lead, that is.

  • I have no axe to grind whatsoever in this contest. Having received Tim Farron’s Email I sent a reply as set out below. In effect I am agreeing with Paul Barker’s comment above but at much greater length, for which I apologise –

    “Thanks for this, Tim.

    While the importance of our maintaining our distinctive voice and defending our values is clear, I do not like the degree of emphasis you are giving that here. While making almost ritual obeisance to the epic decision to join in the coalition , you go on to say ” But our separate identity is being blurred, our message blunted and too many of our supporters feel confused and nervous. I’m not having that!”

    Later you give examples of pride-inducing events (all pre-coalition) and you say “I want that pride back!” Let me tell you that the greatest pride I have felt in my 50 years of membership of the Liberal movement was when I attended the special conference in Birmingham just after the formation of the coalition, listened to that superb debate – including some troubled and even a few agonised contributions – and then participated in the overwhelming vote of confidence. I guess less than 20 hands went up against the motion in around 2000 members. I knew than that it would be damned difficult but our Party would see it through. That was confirmed in Liverpool.

    If in standing for President your message to our members at this time when they need leadership in facing this new and testing challenge and indeed when our parliamentary leaders need support (of the well-judged type that Simon Hughes is giving right now) is that you have lost your pride in our Party or even had it diminished and in some way or other “want it back” then you are going to find it difficult to get my vote. You should be proud now and I see it as your duty – if elected – first and foremost to demonstrate that.

    I am under no illusions as to the magnitude of the challenge we face in these next few years but I think the worst possible thing that could happen (in terms of our seeking electoral support and in every other way) would be for this coalition to fail – most of all if Liberal Democrats were to be instrumental in destroying or seriously weakening it.

    I want a President who has that reality at the forefront of his or her mind while of course helping us to maintain our distinctive ethos and principled approach.”

  • I think it is only fair to post the reply I have just received from Tim Farron – and my acknowledgement of it.
    He might just have earned my vote – but I shall look carefully at Susan’s approach before deciding.

    From: Tim Farron

    Subject: RE: Tim Farron for Liberal Democrat Party President

    Hi Denis

    You make fair points here and I take them on board – seeing my party in power after 24 years of foot-slogging is absolutely wonderful and it is true to say that every time I see Nick, Danny, Chris, Mike, Vince and our other ministers at the despatch box I feel thrilled to an almost unnatural degree!. My problem is that I don’t want the end result to be a return to the days when the entire parliamentary party could fit inside a taxi! I am not panicking or criticising our leadership – I wouldn’t have so many MPs (and our last 4 former leaders) backing me for the position if I was planning to use this role to become a ‘problem’, but I do want to use the role to address a problem which is that the party needs a distinctive identity to see it through important and challenging times and that this means being a critical friend to the coalition and an unmistakably partisan voice for the Lib Dems… but I don’t refute all your criticisms, they are well made, I see what you mean and will think on.

    Cheers, Tim

    Tim – full marks for replying to me – and promptly too.

    These things are all a matter of balance. As I already said I recognise and share the need for us to keep that Liberal Democrat identity we have all worked so hard to build and project. Really I was reacting to your rhetoric. There is a risk of your being seen as exploiting the undoubted feelings of concern (and in some cases real worry) that our activists and supporters are feeling at this difficult time.

    If I read you right you are proud of our Party and will work for its welfare as you judge best. That will need a high degree of judgement in this new world we are all facing.

    Best wishes

    Denis.

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