Farron to Blair’s 1997 voters: Things can only get better with the Lib Dems

On the eve of the 20th anniversary (how on earth did that happen?) of Tony Blair’s first election victory in 1997, Tim Farron has made an appeal to those who voted for Blair to choose the Liberal Democrats this time, saying that the Blair anthem of old now applies to the Lib Dems:

1997 shows what can happen when a party is prepared to make a broad appeal to change Britain’s future for the better.  My message on the eve of that anniversary is this: ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ – but this time with the Liberal Democrats. Back us and change Britain’s future.

I am urging those voters, those people who backed Labour in 1997, to come and vote for the Liberal Democrats.

Labour have comprehensively failed to stand up for our schools, hospitals and our place in the world.

They have become too weak, and too divided, to stand up for those who need it most.

Power without principle is barren, but principle without power is futile.

This election is a chance to change the direction of our country, those people who crossed the Labour box twenty years ago should vote for the Liberal Democrats.

It’s interesting that he didn’t even explicitly mention Brexit once – one of the few press releases where it is omitted. The people who gave Blair power would have voted overwhelmingly to Remain.

Blair himself has said this week that he has more in common with us on Brexit that Corbyn’s Labour.

Alistair Carmichael said that any progressive should choose the Liberal Democrats:

Moderate Labour figures who recognise the need for a functioning economy within the single market cannot with any sincerity back Jeremy Corbyn’s extreme, economically illiterate Labour Party.

Tony Blair is absolutely right to identify that only the Liberal Democrats are standing strong against the disastrous hard Brexit of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

In this election any progressive must support the Liberal Democrats to keep Britain open, tolerant and united.

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  • Lorenzo Cherin 30th Apr '17 - 1:01pm

    As someone who was in Labour then and supported Blair at the election,well said Tim !

  • Yes, Blair managed to fool a lot of people back then, so there’s no need to apologise.

    I’m not sure we ought to associate with damaged goods well past their sell by date, though.

  • Large White Bear 30th Apr '17 - 3:12pm

    The problem is that things aren’t getting better here in Sutton where the Lib Dems are the ‘establishment’ and dominate local politics. We are at the moment experiencing the consequences of an over-complex new recycling system and the contracting out of refuse collection to a foreign company. Rubbish has piled up outside many blocks of flats in conditions redolent of the Winter of Discontent. The Councillors blame everyone but themselves. I know that this should be irrelevant to the General Election campaign, but listening to the local Lib Dem Councillors’ wretched excuses delivered in downmarket nasal accents is demoralising and can only help other parties. The Sutton Lib Dems lost quite narrowly in 2015 but don’t seem at all hungry for votes this time.

  • The people who gave Blair power would have voted overwhelmingly to Remain.

    My understanding is that Labour Remain voters are turning to the Liberal Democrats. The problem is that Tory ones, as yet, are not. And they are gaining Leave voters from Labour as well as UKIP. So the problem is one of attracting right-of-centre Remain voters without repelling left-of-centre ones.


  • Large White Bear – Hardly an unbiased commentator are you ?

  • Richard Underhill 1st May '17 - 9:02am

    Tony Blair is being interviewed in GQ magazine. Maybe he will stand for election in the same seat as Paul Nuttall.

  • There should also be an appeal to the David Cameron Tory wets too. That centre-right, strong European that wants the Single Market is at least as fertile a ground. Possibly more so.

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