Liberal Youth support Farron for Prez

The Liberal Youth Executive has voted to support Tim Farron in his bid to become the next President of the Liberal Democrats. Tim’s campaign was launched in the wake of the announcement by current President Baroness Ros Scott that she would not be seeking re-election.

Commenting, National Chair Martin Shapland said: ”On behalf of the Liberal Youth Executive I am delighted to declare our support for Tim Farron. He is a first class campaigner, a fantastic public speaker, and is an entirely approachable character. He understands the fundamental importance of youth participation in politics, and has a strong desire to work with us to promote youth causes at the highest levels of the party.”

Responding, Tim Farron said “I just want to say thanks to Martin and the Liberal Youth Executive for their support. They understand this election s different, because we are in government for the first time we need a strong performer in the media, and a good campaigner. I am standing shoulder to shoulder with them on the gay blood ban campaign, their continuing fight on fees, and our desire for a greener Britain.”

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34 Comments

  • Spot on Nigel – and it would have been nice to see Tim make that point. I am disappointed to see any SAO funded by the party come out and endorse anyone in an internal election to be honest. Members of Liberal Youth – and those on the executive who did not vote for this – should feel free to vote for whoever they think will do the best job.

  • I agree with what Tim says about things being different this time. We are in coalition with the Tories.

    So I will vote for a socially liberal candidate. Sorry Tim, but I want a president who will stand up to our coalition partners when it comes to matters of conscience. I do not like your voting record.

    Now more than ever we need a strong liberal voice who can put a rational argument forward on equality issues, healthcare and science.

  • Martin Shapland, chair of LY, should hang his head in shame and resign over this gerrymandering.

  • Yes, an SAO of the Party endorsing a candidate is clearly the end of the universe. And it wasn’t what we did in the 70s, either!

    Shocking!

  • NoOffenceAlan 26th Sep '10 - 1:32pm

    I thought officials of the party were supposed to be neutral in internal elections?

  • Tony Greaves 26th Sep '10 - 2:05pm

    I am astonished by the nonsense that people are posting here. In the old days the NLYL Executive would have nominated the candidate they supported and gone out and campaigned hard for their election.

    The idea that because LY gets money from the party they should be toothless lapdogs is a real indication of the extent of the rot that has set into this party. If bodies like the YLs and ALC had been subjected to this kind of insidious censorship in the past our party would not now exist.

    Perhaps it’s all to do with all the smart-suited kids around who now expect to make their careers via paid party-linked jobs and then a winnable (or even “safe”) seat in the Commons rather than getting involved in real politics!!!

    Tony Greaves

  • I’m supporting Tim, not because of any of his views but because I think he has good leadership qualities, a desire and ability to win and, like Ros, he’s definately in touch with members, councillors and activists.

    I don’t know what Ros Scott’s voting record is, and I’m not that concerned if Tim’s record is different to my own views – President is not a policy-making role, it’s a leadership role. Left/right social/economic differences aren’t a reason to vote for someone in what is an organisational role.

    As for LY, it’s a brand many young people (myself included) don’t identify with incredibly strongly, and therefore I’m sure most young people will take little notice of this endorsement and make their own minds up. Liberal Youth should hold less executive meetings and instead dedicate their time to campaigning in by-elections. Next stop, Oldham East and Saddleworth – hopefully I’ll see the entire LY exec there.

  • Liberal Neil 26th Sep '10 - 2:42pm

    @Tony Greaves Not formally backing a candidate in an internal party election does not equate to being ‘toothless lapdogs’.

    The issue is whether party organisations should be using their time and energy trying to influence internal elections or whether the individuals who support particular candidates should get on and support them as individuals.

    Personally I much prefer the latter.

    I also think it is wrong that internal organisations that are funded largely by the party should spend resources influencing internal party elections.

    I am already actively campaigning for Tim and will do so until the votes are cast, but I will do it in my own time and with my own resources.

    I do think LY has a role to play in encouraging their own members to get involved within the party, stand in internal elections and provide support and advice to them, that is part of their role in the party.

  • Agree with many of the above. Liberal Youth should not be declaring for anyone. Simply not their place to do that.

  • Meh.

    To be honest I was never a fan of the Liberal Youth when I was young enough that it was relevant to me. Too much 6th form starry eyed idealism and not enough reality. Messing around committing the whole group on the basis of an exec meeting doesn’t do their image any favours in my mind. But whatever, they are self governing and that is entirely right.

    It’s an academic point though. I’m sure most people are smart enough to vote for they want, not what someone else wants them too.

  • Tony, I find your comments ageist and unnecessarily aggressive. I have heard numerous concerning reports about how this vote was taken, it doesn’t include the membership of LY. It would be nice if there was campaigning going on, but there isn’t, and it is merely an easy, un-democratic step. As a member they do not represent me, but their move implies that they do.

    LibNeil correctly identifies the impotence of your ‘toothless lapdogs’ phrase in that it applies more to the LY exec than anyone else. Have you got a problem with someone young wearing a suit? Or was everything magically more radical in ‘your day’? (Your term.)

    Penultimately, the claim that LY has ‘always taken a stance’ is false – I can remember plenty of times when it has been sensibly avoided it.

    Finally, we are of course allowed to publicly refute such an endorsement as this is our day in LY and it is a day where groups with party funding avoid backing a candidate in internal elections. Maybe Campaign for Gender Balance can back Susan?

  • @Anon Dont take too much notice of Tony Greaves. Along with Matthew Huntbach and Geoffrey Payne, he’s an irrelevant dinosaur from a time when the Liberals had no influence whatsoever. Their outdated views aren’t ever sought out, nor are they welcome.

  • George W. Potter 26th Sep '10 - 9:37pm

    What people seem to miss is that this is not committing all of LY to support Tim. What it is doing is saying that the Exec themselves prefer Tim as a candidate and they’re officially saying that he is the candidate they support. And what, pray tell, is wrong with endorsing a candidate? It happens in every single election, both internal and external and if you really think it’s somehow going to give Tim an unfair advantage then you’re seriously underestimating the intelligence and free will of LY members.

  • I’m extremely grateful for the LY endorsement, and as has been said above, I know that this doesn’t mean any kind of mandate for LY members to vote for me – I’d be appalled if it did! When I was a Young Liberal/Liberal Student/Young Lib Dem / Student Lib Dem, we did tend to get involved in internal elections – mostly to ensure that the establishment candidate didn’t get in unopposed! And Blanco, there’s no need to be so rude about Tony – when he led the Young Liberals, they had more members than the Liberal Party itself (yes, you read that right), he’s a hero. The Party might have ceased to exist after 1970 if it wasn’t for Tony, Gordon Lishman, Bernard Greaves et al (although we’ll ignore the fact that Peter Hain was also a major part of the movement at that time!!). We had only 6 MPs, 3 of whom had majorities below 1,000 – the Young Liberals ensured that we had the energy to avoid oblivion.

  • Tim – you are right about the history of the party, but you do not have a LY endorsement, you have the endorsement of the exec and nothing more. Pleased as you may be to get it – and aware as you are that this does not mandate anything – nevertheless, I hope you agree that for a party funded SAO to endorse a candidate in this way is a little bit silly. Given how strict most internal election rules are.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 27th Sep '10 - 12:16am

    “Dont take too much notice of Tony Greaves. Along with Matthew Huntbach and Geoffrey Payne, he’s an irrelevant dinosaur …”

    Now there’s ageism for you. “Don’t take any notice of anyone born more than 65 million years ago.” How discriminatory!

    If Tim Farron is elected, it will only be on the back of the mammalian “bloc vote” …

  • Elaine Bagshaw 27th Sep '10 - 1:26pm

    I feel I should clarify a few things on behalf of my successors on this 🙂

    First of all, when I found out at conference that this decision had been taken, I spoke directly to the Exec and explained why I thought it wasn’t a sensible thing to do. We had quite a constructive conversation and I’ve offered to help them in future. One of the biggest issues the organisation has faced in the past couple of years (and I’m speaking as a former Chair here) is the lack of constructive and non-judgemental advice. Discussions about people “hanging their heads in shame” aren’t really constructive.

    As some people have said, this endorsement has come only from the Executive, so it shouldn’t be seen as support from all of the organisation’s members. I have explained to the Exec that it wouldn’t necessarily be seen that way, but I’m sure they’ll live and learn.

    On the funding issue, yes LY gets a grant from the Federal Party. However, our membership subscriptions now outstrip this funding, particularly after the success of last year’s Freshers. SAOs are able to give endorsements for committee elections, for example to the Federal Executive. With most money coming from the membership it’s therefore important that the SAO represents their views, so in this case the point could have been made clearer that the endorsement was only from the Exec. The LDV title isn’t helpful in this matter by the way!

  • Meral Hussein Ece 27th Sep '10 - 5:49pm

    During the Party’s Leader election, the EMLD executive (another Party SAO) did not come out in this way for one candidate. We felt It would not have been fair or democratic to all our members. We individually endorsed the candidate we supported. What we did do, was to arrange a hustings meeting in Birmingham, so that EMLD, and wider party members could put questions and hear for themselves the policies of the Leadership candidates on all matters relating to black and minority ethnic communities.
    Perhaps Liberal Youth would’ve been better adopting this approach.

  • Paul Pettinger 28th Sep '10 - 10:52pm

    Elaine said “…when I found out at conference that this decision had been taken, I spoke directly to the Exec and explained why I thought it wasn’t a sensible thing to do.” I hope this means Elaine would turn down any offer of an endorsement from Liberal Youth when standing for interal party elections.

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