Lib Dem party president election: time to make your mind up…

Stll deciding which way to vote in the contest for Lib Dem party president? As Mark Pack reminds us here, the deadline for returning your completed ballot paper is this coming Wednesday, 10th November.

To help those party members, who (like me) are finding it very hard to decide, here are links to all the posts published on Lib Dem Voice (starting with the most recent) in which the stalls of the two candidates, Tim Farron and Susan Kramer, are explored…

Hope that’s helped. Now, if you haven’t already, go and vote…

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  • I received an e-mail from TIm Farron today asking for my vote. This was my response:

    Dear Mr Farron,

    I joined the lib dems during the last election because I thought I knew what the party stood for. It has become clear however that the word “pledge” is not one which you understand. In view of this, when you say,

    “As your President, through the media and in person, I will speak out so people know where we stand and hear what we say.”

    my immediate thought is that I will have no reason to believe anything you choose to say.

    While I understand the seriousness of the economic problems facing the country, I believe that the present government is using this crisis in order to implement far-reaching and unacceptable radical ideologically-based changes. In particular, I deplore what amounts to the privatisation of the British university sector, I deplore the burdening of the younger generation with yet more debts which my generation should be paying, I deplore the radical and unnecessary re-organisations of schools and the NHS, and I deplore the effective destruction of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence.

    I shall certainly not be voting in the election for president of the lib dems and I shall certainly not be renewing my membership.

    Your sincerely,


  • John Fraser 6th Nov '10 - 9:32pm

    Shame you chose Tim to send that e-mail to. he is one of the relitively few MPs the Lid Dems have who (in my opinionion) is still fighting for traditional Lib dem proncipals.

    Vote for him whether or not you renew.

  • rightofleftofcentre 7th Nov '10 - 3:25am


    Tim has quite explicitly said that he will, not abstain, but vote against the tuition fee rise, as he pledged to do.

  • @ Matthew

    I agree that increasing tuition fees is an outrage. But exactly which area of government spending would you have cut to make up the difference to compensate? Health? Schools? Foreign Aid? Transport?

    Remember that it was Labour that imposed tuition fees in the first place. Better to stay within the Lib Dem party and argue from inside that raising fees is wrong – or even that we should ditch Nick Clegg as leader – than to end up with one of the two old parties who represent nothing but special interest groups.

  • John and rightofleftofcentre: Thank you for your responses.

    It would have helped if the election material I was sent had not been so bland and contentless. I read all of it and, hard though I tried, I genuinely could not see any difference between the candidates.

  • @ Robert C

    Tuition fees as a debt to be paid off when income reaches a certain level, is equivalent, for the individuals concerned, to an increase in income tax. I do not believe that students are rational consumers of education. Nor do I accept that treating them as such will improve the higher education sector. In fact, I think it will be both destructive and inefficient.

    As I believe that higher education is a general good, I think that it would be best to raise higher rate income tax now, rather than to wait until the next generation of undergraduates has started working.

  • David Wright 7th Nov '10 - 5:55pm

    @Matthew – I agree with what you say about tuition fees, but why do you say you cannot believe Tim?

    Nobody has voted for increasing tuition fees – yet – so nobody has broken their pledge to not increase them – though I grant you that some have said they will do.

    Many Lib Dem MPs have confirmed they WILL vote against an increase in fees; I think Tim is one of them. Others are “holding their fire” in the hopes of getting a better deal for students – we’ll find what they do when it comes before Parliament. They’re not all going to vote the way Nick tells them!

    So please hold your ire in check until you see who deserves it!

    P.S. Free tuition remains Lib Dem policy. Had we had enough votes to form a majority government, we would have increased taxes more than the coalition has, to make this possible.

  • Matthew,

    “I shall certainly not be voting in the election for president of the lib dems and I shall certainly not be renewing my membership.”

    Does that mean you are perfectly happy for Clegg to continue leading the Liberal Democrats into the abyss? I guess not. But the practical effect of not renewing your membership is to strengthen Clegg’s position. If you stay in the party, you just might get the opportunity to vote him out. If you leave, you will have no influence whatsoever.

    “It would have helped if the election material I was sent had not been so bland and contentless. I read all of it and, hard though I tried, I genuinely could not see any difference between the candidates.”

    There was one very clear difference. Susan Kramer focussed on the constitutional role of the Party President. Tim Farron pledged to use the office of President to proselytise the party’s policies and values, something that the Leader is unable/unwilling to do. That, to me, is code for: “I don’t really like this coalition business, and I won’t hesitate to move against it if I see a groundswell of opinion in the party turning in that direction.”

  • @Matthew

    Re: electoral material. thank God you said that. I thought it was just me. They have identical positions. The differences are imperceptible to me, apart from the fact that Tim is said, by some, to be a great campaigner.

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