Farron talks housing, Clegg, airports and Corbyn in first pre-conference interview

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“The Tories need to be opposed in ways that are credible” says the headline to Tim Farron’s first pre-conference interview in yesterday’s Evening Standard. Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, argues Tim, leaves a big space in British politics for a responsible opposition party to hold the government to account:

Tomorrow morning he will start the #LibDemfightback, as they are hashtagging it, when he rallies the Lib- Dem faithful in Bournemouth at his first party conference as leader.

There will be “no glib slogans”, he says, but a return to grassroots campaigning. And a lot of mentions of the unlikely saviour that Farron thinks will most help the Liberal Democrats in their hour of need — Jeremy Corbyn.

“We are going to use conference to take full advantage of the quite staggering opportunity that is now available to us as the moderate, progressive, responsible opposition to the Tories,” he said.

And he had this to say about Nick Clegg:

In the coalition years, Farron was sometimes criticised for looking over-eager to step into Nick Clegg’s shoes as leader. Now, he reveals, he is gladly taking advice from his predecessor and hoping to persuade the former Deputy Prime Minister to serve in his team.

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  • Sensible post Ian, but suspect the temptation will be too strong for them to resist doing it.
    Headline grabbing does not necessarily grab voters.
    The rather silly sounding ‘avalanche’ of Labour MPs may just make Cable end up looking foolish.

  • Shaun Cunningham 19th Sep '15 - 3:26pm

    For heaven’s sake, let us stop talking about Mr Corbyn. Haven’t a clue what the political map he’s following however, one thing for sure it is out of date and needs updating.

    We need to be the party of the centre, there’s a massive chasm opened up and this party needs to put our banner firmly in the centre of this gaping hole. What an opportunity, but also a great responsibility on the shoulders of all those at our party conference not to play the political theatre card but to put forward constructive and visionary
    Ideas the public can align to. This window of opportunity will close and before it does we have a message for the public. The conservative Party is a party of the right not the centre, the Labour Party has just fallen off the political stage, leaving the Lib/Dems the true party of the centre.

  • John Minard 19th Sep '15 - 3:41pm

    The first conference news to make it out is about defining ourselves in terms of the new Labour leadership – perhaps if you haven’t got anything to say about the Lib Dems and Liberalism, zip-it!

  • Oh dear referring to “the new Labour leadership” is going to be very confusing!

  • While I agree with Ian MacFadyen that we did to promote our Liberal Democrat values and principles it is also important to say what sort of society we want to create. For too long we have presented ourselves as “fairer” than the Tories and “harder” than Labour. It is often said that economic inequality is now the major issue in the UK today. We must address this issue and provide a liberal alternative to Corbyn’s Labour Party.

    We need to create a society of full employment, where everyone can have a job and employers don’t reject people and impose a life of poverty on them. We could not only have a policy to build more than 300,000 new houses a year but also identify infrastructure schemes in areas of high unemployment to stimulate the economy regionally. This also means we have to intervene in the demand side of the labour market and incentivise employers to employ those they would rather not employ. We need to accept that inflation is a good thing as it reduces the value of wealth and with full employment increases wages and so helps the poor and reduces inequalities as it did in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, when Britain was a much more economically equal place.

  • On airpory expansion it was not just in the South the party is against. Conference voted against expansion at ANY UK airport. Which was ludicrous. There must be expansion. This country needs to increase exports and have better connection with the rest of the world.

  • David Allen 19th Sep '15 - 7:24pm

    “By extolling our values, principles and policies to the exclusion of any mention of other parties, conference can help rebuild our party on solid, winning foundations.”

    No. Think about what will make news today. Is it going to be voting reform, or civil liberties, or land value taxation? No, today’s news has to be about whether there is space for an 8-MP party somewhere in between Cameron and Corbyn. So the right thing to say, today, is that there are acres of space, and because of that, our 8 MPs really should be listened to!

    That’s a pretty credible thing to say. There will be plenty of time to develop and advertise our own policies, once we have got people listening!

  • Jane Ann Liston 19th Sep '15 - 9:21pm

    And bang goes the planet!

  • Neil Sandison 21st Sep '15 - 1:56pm

    Here in the Midlands we have a successful international airport in Solihull called Birmingham International .a completely revamped Birmingham New Street Station and an economic base that has fought its way out of recession by exporting around the world and you can still afford to buy a house here !. Look beyond Watford Gap for the solutions .

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