LibLink: Simon Hughes: A message to Tim Farron: Unite, inspire and enthuse

Simon Hughes was one of the first people to endorse Tim Farron for leader. He’s written an article for today’s Independent in which he outlines what he thinks Tim should do next:

The new leader knows what to do. He must and will unite, inspire, and enthuse the party, involving supporters of both candidates in one big campaign for liberalism, determined to rebuild – and quickly. The clarion calls dreadfully muffled in the last year must be heard in all our communities: freedom, democracy, respect for our planet, a decent quality of life for all, and much greater equality in our still horribly unequal country. We must turn our policy and philosophy into practice where we govern and into campaigns where we do not. We need a massive housing programme of council, social rent, and other affordable housing, and help for the mentally ill. We must champion political reform to restore the link between voters’ views and election results. We must be the party of internationalism and of Europe, and a movement which values those who have chosen to live here.

The challenge for Liberal Democrats is to show where we are distinctive from the other parties. Liberals and Liberal Democrats are at our best when we are at our most radical and we have succeeded most when we have been most brave. We are ready and willing to be brave and radical again.

You can read the whole article here.

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  • Eddie Sammon 17th Jul '15 - 4:34pm

    The party needs to comment on all big issues. The big story of the day is Cameron’s Syria revelations. Comment and condemn him on it now.

  • Richard Underhill 17th Jul '15 - 6:07pm

    Parliament should have been told that miltary personnel embedded in Canadian and US forces are involved in Syria.
    Embedding is not wrong, decisions of US and Canadian forces are the decisions of their countries, but our parliament should be told.

  • I see from today’s press that we have been handed a campaign that’s right up our street. Defending the Freedom of Information Act!

  • What is is about Tim Farron and Simon Hughes that worries me? They have both let down the party and lgb people because they have both let their faith intrude too far into their voting record. – Richard Kirker.

    Unfortunately Richard religious people often have a problem with one section or other of the community. For instance it doesn’t do at the moment to be a gay person in Uganda after visits from American evangelical Christian missionaries spreading the word of god.

    Tim Farron has already shown that he’s prepared to put his religious faith before what the party stands for so for me the jury’s out at the moment.

  • This is also a time to think carefully about new approaches to the way we present policy and the Lib Dems. The radical message will always appeal to the core Lib Dem voter, but we need to appeal to voters beyond that core. There is an unfortunate mood of pragmatism about – some recent Tory announcements are quite spine-chilling (e.g. on the unions and going back on promises about elderly care funding), but we have to face the fact that the electorate put the Tories in Government.

    We have to accept the fact that a key factor for voters has always been ‘who can run the economy best’. So we need to present strong and credible policies on the economy, jobs, transport (so often overlooked), health (not just mental health, however important), foreign policy and housing (including renting). Then we are more likely to carry people with us on the important things we have to say on climate change, social justice and prison reform.

  • Tim was asked on last night’s Channel 4 News whether he thought, as a Christian, that homosexuality is a sin.
    He refused to answer it 3 times.
    I notice Stephen Tall has asked the question, does Tim’s personal view on this issue mater?

    I would argue that in order to unite, inspire and enthuse it arguably could matter to many members and potential members/voters: I would make 4 points:

    1. How is this view consistent with treating people equally?

    2. A leader of a party which stands for diversity and equality must surely lead by example: We mustn’t end up with unintended consequences.

    3. Tim’s refusal to answer this question implies (I suspect to the majority of them listening public) that he thinks homosexuality is an illness?

    4. “I think it puts intolerable pressure on an individual because it’s reinforcing a fear that they might have that they are abnormal in some way” …………….Norman Lamb’s words to Pink news

    I would have voted for Tim (had I joined soon enough).
    However, he has been exposed ruthlessly by the media in his first 24 hours on both his Faith, which he answered I thought very well (Humphrys) and his views on Homosexuality……………Um
    Given that these 2 issues are his perceived weaknesses (and therefore utterly predictable that they would be scrutinised by the media) , as a relatively new member, the fact he did not have watertight well thought through answer ready is worrying to say the least.

  • Aren’t the liberal policies on housing, social justice and mental health more important than the personal opinions of any leader? Give Tim a chance to show what he stands for.
    Would people keep questioning a Roman Catholic, Muslim, Sikh or Buddhist?
    Let the ‘fightback’ begin with important Liberal Democratic policies. We support a party, even if we can’t agree with all its policies, and we chose a leader who will lead.

  • I am not happy with the way in which the word ‘faith’ has been hijacked by religious people enabling them to throw around the term ‘no faith’ as some kid of insult to people who are not religious.

    What this discussion is about is ‘religious faith’ which despite having it pushed down my throat as a child I am thankfully free of. However that doesn’t stop me following a moral code, rejoicing in my family or contemplating my place in a complicated and mysterious universe.

    I am not ashamed to be anxious in having a seriously religious person leading our party. We have to acknowledge, unfortunately, that some people of religious faith have an agenda that would make many liberals nervous. There is the example in the last government of Tory MP Eric Pickles, a campaigning Baptist I believe, who used his position in government to enable religious prayers to be inserted into the formal agendas of local council meetings and that was wrong.

  • Robert
    Are people forced to attend these prayers?

  • Joan Hand 18th Jul ’15 – 10:35am
    Are people forced to attend these prayers?

    But Joan why should councillors who have turned up on time for a meeting have to then leave the room because they don’t want to take part in a religious service? If religious councillors w ant to have a prayer meeting before the meeting that’s fine. However it shouldn’t be included on the public agenda thus subjecting everyone else to it.

  • Robert
    Fair comment, why are they? Who decides that?

  • Richard Underhill 18th Jul '15 - 2:40pm

    Tim Farron will probably be asked lots of questions.
    How about the schism between Shia and Sunni Muslims that happened more than a thousand years ago?
    Religions are at issue whether we like it or not.
    Religious persecution is one of the five grounds for granting asylum under the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
    The UK therefore has a legal, international committment, but not just for persecuted Christians, also for persecuted Muslims as happened in Bosnia. We need a country where they can live peacefully.

    To get the message across, please may we have a sequel to The Sound of Music?
    Imagine an Austrian patriot fleeing the Nazis and arriving at the Swiss border with his second wife and seven children in 1938. The 1951 convention is not yet in force. What happens next?
    Alternative endings are possible.

  • The anti-religious campaign within the LibDems is quite perplexing. The same people pop up on every thread, stating the same comments of non-religious propaganda. Worse – of non-liberal propaganda – if you think about what they are saying it is intolerant. Have we become a party intolerant of all religions? No, we have not.

    Many many more voting citizens belong to the many religions in our country. And more citizens are joining new religious groups. To discount us, and the morality we share, might force us to leave for other parties who are more liberal. Can that be possible? Other parties more liberal and inclusive than LibDems? No, there are no others better than this party. We are not about to leave – so get used to religious people in politics.

    Sometimes in debates people talk an unfortunate talk – likely to damage the party rather than to include everyone and build a wider party. I can only conclude they are either members of other parties sent to disrupt liberalism or disillusioned members who are about to leave for fairer fields in their view. We wish to include everyone of liberal views but it needs give and take – in order to be successful. Be open, be liberal.

    Join us, widen the comments of course but don’t become obsessive, do include every religion or none, talk to everyone with respect. Liberalism isn’t about religion but about the liberal values of sharing resources, human and material, for the benefit of each individual in our country. If that is part of your religion, as it is of mine, welcome.

  • Denis Loretto 18th Jul '15 - 6:55pm

    In several LDV threads lately the message emerges that you can really only be a liberal if you are an atheist. I am not a religious person but I have much respect for many who are and who fulfil my definition of liberal. I also admire many (though by no means all) religious teachings. I am uncomfortable with the “holier than thou” attitude of too many who use their conviction that there is no god to vilify others who take a different view. One of my favourite biblical quotes is “Let he who is without sin among ye cast the first stone”. As far as Tim Farron is concerned I will watch his leadership as a whole and judge whether it takes us in the right direction. I live in hope.

  • @ Tony and Dennis
    I agree and thank you for these comments. The Human Rights Act defends people’s right to believe and practise their faith and surely Lib Dems should support that freedom. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, SIkhs, Buddhists and people of other faiths all have their own codes of belief and practice – and even separate denominations and groups within those faiths. It’s actually another form of diversity. If we start to make people of faith feel unwelcome in the party, then we are not being truly liberal – or very kind.

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