Opinion: Britain’s Liberal Youth Can Flourish In a Lamb-Led Liberal Democrats

NormanLambBritain’s young liberals aren’t only more liberal than their elders, they are more liberal than any previous generation before them. That said, they are a liberal cohort not yet identifying as Liberal Democrats – this could and should change.

My liberty loving generation cannot comfortably sit within statist parties like Labour or the Conservatives, which is why the Liberal Democrats need to prove themselves to be the party offering this generation a truly liberal voice in British politics. We need to be more radical in our thinking, we need intellectual evidence-based liberal policy that grabs the attention of the electorate and exasperates right-wing media like the Daily Mail and Breitbart. We must be the defining intellectual powerhouse for British liberalism, and there is only one candidate who throughout this leadership election has offered just that.

With radical drug policy reform, prisons reform and other liberal solutions to traditionally ignored problems – Norman Lamb offers himself as the candidate who can inspire a generation otherwise disenchanted by the political process. Whilst campaigning is important, we can deliver all of the leaflets in the world and it still not be enough – if it is not married with the intellectual, radically liberal content and a coherent message that we will need in order to be heard and taken seriously again by a marred electorate.

I took my 14-year-old brother along to the hustings we had in Newcastle, I wanted to ask him what he thought after he’d listened to the two candidates, as a young person who identifies already with our liberal values. He told me afterwards that, “Tim is a very good public speaker, but that was all I took away from him. Norman had more suggestions we can use and that we need, as liberals moving forward.”, I beamed with pride after he’d said it and felt prouder than ever to have decided to support Norman Lamb, it is important to myself and all of us in the Liberal Democrats that British liberalism flourishes and becomes the main vein of our politics once again, by attracting young people and putting them at the heart of our movement we can do just that. I truly believe that from the activists to the average joe who shares our liberal values in the electorate, Norman Lamb is the man who can give us the intellectual, radical policy we need to shout loudly and proudly about our party once again – and actually be listened to.

* Darren Grimes is a 21-year-old fashion with business student in Brighton, with a Geordie accent; classical liberal and occasional blogger/graphics creator.

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110 Comments

  • George Potter 7th Jul '15 - 5:02pm

    I do love it when individuals claim to speak for an entire generation…

  • Vote Norman…says member of Norman’s campaign team.

  • Andrew Martin 7th Jul '15 - 5:09pm

    Darren, this is exactly what I’m finding among young people. They want someone who can deliver a radical liberal agenda for the future.
    We need to challenge the main parties, rather than sitting between them. Norman is the man to do that.

  • Sammy O'Neill 7th Jul '15 - 5:25pm

    I agree entirely that what we ultimately need are radical policies that are driven by practicality and pragmatism as opposed to mindless ideology or sheer popularism. However drug and prison reform, whilst worthy goals, are not going to really catch the interests of your average young person. They face far more immediate problems/priorities. I find it sad that for instance nobody speaks up for the “forgotten middle” of university students who are deemed too wealthy to get any form of grant/bursary, but who it is wildly assumed come from families willing/able to supplement their limited loan by thousands every year. Designing a system that considers a rich kid to be poor simply because their parents are divorced is one of the most ridiculous situations imaginable.

  • Malcolm Todd 7th Jul '15 - 5:32pm

    Norman does indeed have lots of very good, detailed ideas — and (having seen them both last night at hustings) he’s a decent, persuasive speaker. (Of course, so’s Nick Clegg.) Tim Farron, on the other hand, is a passionate speaker with the ability to enthuse and to enrage, either by telling people what they already think in a way that makes them believe it more strongly, or by telling people what they don’t want to hear and making them believe it anyway.

    I don’t doubt that Norman Lamb was a good, effective, strong-minded and liberal government minister, and perhaps, if we’re really really lucky, one day he will be again. I don’t think Farron would have been as good at running a department, but he really doesn’t need to be. We need to elect a leader, not an administrator, and to me that still means Farron. (Two things that I took from last night’s meeting: one is that Lamb becoming leader would not be such a bad thing after all; the other is that I lack the killer instinct, as I passed up the chance to run him down in the car park on the way out… I think he’ll make a very good deputy.)

  • Adam Robertson 7th Jul '15 - 5:56pm

    I agree that it is important that we must retain our liberal values, as we see growing authoritarianism from this new Conservative Government. I feel proud that we have two excellent candidates in the Leadership Race, who have great strengths, which will benefit the party, even when one of them will not be the leader. It is clear that both Tim and Norman, are clear, that we will need to pick out distinct topics such as Mental Health or the Human Rights Act, so we gain traction.

    I have voted for Norman in the Leadership Election but I have been most impressed by Tim’s performance, throughout the Leadership Campaign. Clearly, he has the zest to take the party from its knees and to win again. I would be happy either with Norman or Tim, to lead the fight for liberal values within Britain.

  • A Social Liberal 7th Jul '15 - 5:57pm

    After seeing him in the SLF hustings I have found Norman to be good speaker, passionate in his chosen subject, considered and humourous. I would be chuffed to bits to see him in a future Lib Dem government.

    However.

    We need a leader to be passionate about all things liberal and is able to put across that passion. We need a spirited speaker, one who grabs the attention of the public, convinces them of the rightness of our argument and leads them to vote for those policies. Tim does this whereas Norman has a little too quiet.

    Conclusions – Tim has my vote but I would be content if Norman is first across the line.

  • Simon McGrath 7th Jul '15 - 6:23pm

    It has been very striking how many new members are supporting Norman – because they want a Party leader who, like Joe Grimond, will bring forward strikingly radical ideas. It would be easy for us to become the ‘oppose the Tories’ Party but if we are to build a core LD vote we need to go beyond that.

  • Richard Church 7th Jul '15 - 7:05pm

    Remember, a great orator, able to capture and hold an audience in his hand, may not have the same qualities to hold a TV audience, or to tackle the aggressive interviewer of modern TV and radio broadcasting.

    Michael Foot, one of greatest orators of the last century, who captured the hearts of Labour activists to become leader in 1981 wasn’t able to use his oratorical powers to capture the public imagination in 1983.

  • Richard Church,

    It was Labour MPs, not Labour activists, who made Michael Foot Leader in 1981.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Jul '15 - 8:35pm

    The deadline is 15 July 2015.
    This is agonising.
    The candidates probably have enough information for a PhD thesis.

  • David Blake 8th Jul '15 - 8:11am

    I agree with Richard Church that TV is not the same as a conference speech. Tim Farron has been absolutely tied up in knots by Andrew Neil on more than one occasion.

  • Geoffrey payne 8th Jul '15 - 9:13am

    Anecdotal evidence is one thing. The only evidence that really counts is impartial empirical polling data which we do not have. “My younger brother said to me what I wanted to hear” does not seem very persuasive to me. He is only a sample of 1. I suspect Liberal Youth support for Norman Lamb has more to do with the influence of Nick Clegg who was leader when most LY members joined. I suspect the new generation of Liberal Youth members influenced by Tim Farron will be significantly different and more numerous than the current membership.

  • John Tilley 8th Jul '15 - 9:30am

    It is worrying when someone says that a whole generation not only knows something but knows it better than anyone else or any generation that has gone before.

    The actual words used by Darren Grimes are —
    “…. aren’t only more liberal than their elders, they are more liberal than any previous generation before them. “.

    He then goes on to say that he does not mean members of the party but a whole generation outside the party, which is even more worrying.

  • One of the worrying knock-on effect of our having done over the students in 2010 is that anyone under 25 with a brain cell, and anyone under 25 who’s vaguely left-of-centre, hates us. That means that the only youngsters who do join Liberal Youth these days tend to be right-wing self-proclaimed “classical liberals” like this Darren Grimes.

  • Grace Goodlad 8th Jul '15 - 10:05am

    What an inspiring young man who joined the LibDems in January and not only speaks as the voice of a “liberty loving generation” but has also done extensive historical research into liberal attitudes, on all issues, across all generations and can make absolute and scientific statements based on this research. His little brother also clearly admires him and aims to please. To have achieved so much at such tender years is remarkable. The future really is bright.

  • David Evans 8th Jul '15 - 10:13am

    I’m not at all sure that Darren sees the irony, but the total lack of logic in his comments “My liberty loving generation cannot comfortably sit within statist parties like Labour or the Conservatives” followed by “I beamed with pride after he’d said it and felt prouder than ever to have decided to support Norman Lamb” when Norman sat within a coalition that has destroyed 40 years of hard work by previous generations of young Lib Dems for five years of having a bit of power is very difficult to understand. But then of course “Britain’s young liberals aren’t only more liberal than their elders, they are more liberal than any previous generation before them,” simply shows a total lack of awareness of historical fact, and seems to be based rather on self aggrandisement than on a balance of fundamental values that respects all in our community.

  • Toby Keynes 8th Jul '15 - 10:24am

    I do hope Darren realises that all the snarkiness going on here is symptomatic of online discussion forums, not of Liberal Democrats in general.
    We should we welcoming our new members, not belittling and ridiculing them.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 10:24am

    Darren Grimes

    My liberty loving generation cannot comfortably sit

    Yes, because they have no houses to sit in. Or they are forced to sit in their parents’ house instead of having the liberty of a place of their own to live in.

    Yet you say nothing about this issue. Is this because by “my generation” you mean people from a wealthy enough background for housing not to be an issue, so they can afford to concentrate on freedom to take drugs, and the sort of extreme-right economic policy you seem to be hinting at with code words such as “statist”?

  • Lester Holloway 8th Jul '15 - 10:29am

    These “absolute and scientific statements based on [Darren Grime’s] research”…. There’s a few absolutely statements assuming all youth are classical liberals, but nothing in the way of the scientific or any evidence of actual research.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 10:29am

    MrWallace

    Norman is right about the young, they are very liberal and tend to have strong liberal principles but do not identify with the liberal democrats.

    They used to overwhelmingly vote lib dem too until tuition fees.

    But Darren Grimes goes on about “statist” parties and defines “liberalism” as being against that sort of thing.

    Well, surely the state taking taxes from people and using that to provide university places which students do not have to pay for is just about as “statist” as you can get. So, by Darren Grimes’ argument that his generation are firm opponents of statism, surely they should be cheering on the Liberal Democrats for dropping that horrendously statist policy.

  • “One of the worrying knock-on effect of our having done over the students in 2010 is that anyone under 25 with a brain cell, and anyone under 25 who’s vaguely left-of-centre, hates us.”

    These two groups are, of course, the same.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 10:45am

    Simon McGrath

    It has been very striking how many new members are supporting Norman – because they want a Party leader who, like Joe Grimond, will bring forward strikingly radical ideas.

    The only concrete ideas mentioned here are drugs reform and prison reform. I do not see that as contributing much to an overall coherent programme for government.

    If I am wrong about Darren Grimes, I apologise, but in the absence of a more general clarification of what he wants to see, I am looking at the sort words he uses and they are generally code-words used by those who have been trying to push our party down the route of extreme-right economics.

    Sadly, the Orwellians who wanted to rewrite history and claim this is what “liberalism” means and has always meant, seem to have won, at least with people of Darren Grimes’ generation, who have grown up surrounded by these Orwellians pushing their propaganda. This is very sad for someone like myself who defined himself as a “liberal” in the days when that was considered a dirty word in the party as it suggested a lack of loyalty to the new order imposed by the right-wing of the Liberal Party and the SDP following the merger. In those days it very much did NOT mean support for what we then called “Thatcherite” economics.

  • Matthew- completely right. Neoliberal is not the same as liberal. British liberalism is the tradition of Hobhouse, Keynes, Beveridge, Joan Robinson, Schumacher etc. Liberals want to use the state- actively- to make capitalism work for everyone and increase freedom for those who lack it most. It certainly doesn’t fetishize the state as the main thing limiting freedom. The Lib Dems are not, and can never be, a home to libertarians.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 11:14am

    MrWallace

    They can, if flourishing means being up to ones eyes in debt thanks to going to university after his broken pledge.

    Well, if the pledge was not broken, and it was all as people like you suggest, no different at all from how it is now except no student debt, then what? Universities would have to be funded by direct state debt, and who would that debt fall on? Well, just the same people i.e. the better paid of the next generation. Given that the Tories would not have agreed to higher taxes, the only other way to pay for it would have been mass cuts in university places so the amount wasn’t so high, and big cuts in top of what we already had to pay for what’s left.

  • Grace Goodlad 8th Jul '15 - 11:16am

    Now this is a far more impressive but succinct comment from almost 50 young people, in my opinion – which addresses, policy, style and campaigning – http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/?p=4511

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 11:17am

    Stevo

    Matthew- completely right. Neoliberal is not the same as liberal.

    Well, don’t call it “neoliberal” then, as that means “new liberal”. That is just giving in to the Orwellians pushing the idea that their policy of abolishing democracy and establishing a new aristocracy of global financiers is a natural development of what we called “liberalism”.

  • Candy Piercy 8th Jul '15 - 11:23am

    Well said Darren! I decided to support Norman for Leader of the Lib Dems when I saw the fantastic and energising effect he had which inspired young people to join the Lib Dems. If we are going to get back to winning ways we do need a Leader who can connect with young people who are in the Party already and those outside the Lib Dems.
    It is young people like Darren and the Liberal Youth Chair Alex Harding, and other leading LY members who are supporting Norman who will bring us back to success in the future.
    Many Tim supporters seem to think we can just turn the clock back. Life is not like that! Norman has both the ability to inspire people, the experience as a Government Minister making change happen to put Liberal values into action, and he is a great campaigner. He is the complete package we need.
    I see Tim as the continuity candidate. He was President for 4 out of the last 5 years and he ran the disastrous Euro Campaign last year. So he was at the heart of campaigning in the Party, sat on the CCC (the Campaigns and Communications Committee), He was Chair of the FE etc. Tim is establishment through and through.
    I want to see real change. I want to see Liberal Values put into action by someone who knows how to get things done. And that is why I want to see Norman Lamb as our new leader

  • Grace Goodlad 8th Jul '15 - 11:52am

    Candy – today ALL of these leading young libdems have declared public backing for Tim – Ryan Mercer – Policy Officer;
    Ab Brightman – International Officer;
    Nomi Farhi – Membership Development Officer;
    Cllr Emily Louise Tester – Co-Events Officer;
    Sam Bennett – Chair of Liberal Youth Wales (IR Cymru);
    Bobby Dean – Vice President of International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY);
    Alice Thomas – Liberal Democrat Women Youth Rep;
    Joshua Dixon – Social Liberal Forum Youth Rep and Federal Executive member;
    Chloe Hutchinson – Liberal Youth Wales Non-Portfolio Officer;
    Rhys Taylor – Liberal Youth Wales Policy Officer;
    Sarah Noble – Liberal Youth Policy Committee;
    James King – Former Liberal Youth Co-Treasurer;
    Robin McGhee – Former Liberal Youth Co-Treasurer;
    Ryan Cairns – President Leeds University Liberal Youth;
    Mike Green – Chair of York University Liberal Democrats;
    Yan Malinowski – President UEA Liberal Democrats;
    Jack Davies – President New Forest Liberal Youth;
    Dipa Vaya – Chair Hertfordshire Liberal Youth;
    Ems Simpson – Chair Mid Dorset and North Poole Liberal Youth;
    Lizzy Adams, Tara Murray, Chris Whiting, Tom Johnston, Jean Vila, Jack Robinson, Cadan ap Tomos, Will Whaw Wilshere, Joanne Ferguson, Natasha Chapman, Henry Compson, Reece Edmends, Callum Delhoy, Dylan H Morris, Paige Quirke, Thomas Adams, Lucy Adams, Gurleen Kaur, Craig O’Donnell, Ben Falkner, Tom Williams, Tristan Marris, Toby Roper, Ruth Edmonds, Huw James, Lizzy Roberts, Christine Longworth, Azza Jfk Ghaidoun, Eva-Lily Fielding.

    It rather makes the case that Tim is proving far more engaging with young people.

    As Norman’s campaign manager it isn’t pretty seeing you try to paint Tim as the “continuity candidate”, it is ridiculous given the fervent and regular briefing against Tim we saw in the last Parliament and the principled stance he took on key issues such as Secret Courts, the Bedroom Tax and Tuition Fees.

    As a key member of Nick’s ministerial team Norman had influence on how our party dealt with those issues in coalition. The electorate gave us their judgement on that back in May – and I for one never want to face that level of wrath again.

    We need a fresh start with Tim – not more of the same with the candidate backed by the person who ran the disastrous General Election campaign in May.

  • James Moore 8th Jul '15 - 11:58am

    I fail to see how Tim is the continuity candidate, nor how you feel that everyone who is supporting Tim wants to turn the clock back. I joined in 2011 because of Nick Clegg and the Coalition, and still am a fan of Nick. However, just as much as Nick inspired me as Leader, Tim also inspired me as President and I now see him as the person best placed to motivate us as members and get across our core values best to the voting public. I do not want to turn any clocks back, I want to move forward in a positive fashion. Time for Tim!

  • Either Tim or Norman would do well, and will have my support.
    maybe I’ll do a write in vote for a woman!
    But the word ‘leader’ worries me .. We won’t follow the leader everywhere , nor would I expect he or she to obey every single vote of the conference delegates. First among equals ? No, we’re not all equal, we’re all different, and some have more experience and Knowledge. … is there a better word than ‘leader’?

  • Paul Pettinger 8th Jul '15 - 12:14pm

    Toby – we should also be a Party that tries to base strategy on evidence, where possible. The author is right that young people are more liberal than earlier generations. However, as Professor David Howarth set out last year in pages 6 and 7 of edition 368 of Liberator (http://liberatormagazine.org.uk/en/document/liberator-issues-2014/liberator-368.pdf) young liberals are overwhelmingly social-liberal (not classical). If we become a Party of the culturally liberal, but economically libertarian, then we shall likely remain in the political wilderness.

  • Matt Severn 8th Jul '15 - 12:27pm

    Candy, I hardly think that you can call Tim Farron the continuity candidate . The post of Party President, as you well know, is to represent the ordinary member, activist and councillor and Tim did that very well. It is disingenous to lay the blame for the Euro campaign at Tims feet when we all know that the problems went far deeper and were in no way connected to Tim. Your comments that Tim Farron is the establishment are deeply untrue. In fighting inequality, tackling the housing crisis, opposing Tuition Fees, opposing Secret Courts and sticking up for migrant rights he demonstrates amply his anti-establishment credentials!

  • Simon Foster 8th Jul '15 - 12:38pm

    Some people who have read Candy’s comment will be tempted to agree with her version of history. However, there are a number of points which needs clarifying, but a version of history is all that it is.

    I’m just been on a course last weekend which was looking at effective communication. A key point is when you are challenging people’s views is to make sure that you engage in rapport.

    I’m sat here laughing at the comment “Tim is the establishment candidate” as its one of the funniest things I’ve seen on the campaign so hard (Yes Hannah Bettsworth, I’m laughing as hard as when I sent you the stormtrooper badge to add to your collection 😉 ).

    The statement is made all the ironic that it’s Candy who has made it, who, I’m afraid, many people see as part of the party establishment. Mind you, a normtrooper accused me of being part of the establishment the other week, so I guess anyone can join now? 😉

    There are so many flaws in the statement “Tim is the establishment candidate” I really don’t know where to start, from his record (voting against tuition fees drove the party establishment apopletic I’m told), to who the establishment figures are actually backing (last time I checked Shirley and Paddy were for Norman I’m told).

    I’ll leave the detailed points to other commentators. However, given that you need humour in a political campaign, I note that Norman’s campaign came up with #normtroopers so Tim’s came up with the #rebelalliance. Last time I checked Star Wars the norm/stormtroopers were fighting for the Empire – the establishment.

    Note: this argument makes as much sense to me as the statement “Tim is the establishment candidate.”

    Which leads me back to the course I was on. If you’re going to reframe an argument, make it plausible, not something that will simply make a lot of people almost fall off their chairs with laughter and go “I can’t believe they went there!” 🙂

    Be well everyone,

    Simon Foster
    Self identifying #rebelscum (because if you can’t have fun on a campaign, you really are missing something 😉 ).

  • Stephen Hesketh 8th Jul '15 - 12:43pm

    Darren you describe yourself as a classical liberal; it appears to have escaped your notice that the Liberal Democrats are not a classical Liberal party, we are THE party of social justice Liberal Democracy. There is a significant difference between the two.

    Norman has always been seen as both the ‘continuity and Westminster bubble candidate’ and this is a real concern to those mainstream Preamble-supporting Liberal Democrats like myself.

    The fact that those who remain unable to see where we went wrong over the past 5 years have flocked to Norman’s camp is also of some concern. One has to wonder if there an unspoken understanding regarding the direction in which, if elected as leader, Norman would seek to take the party. I seem to recall something similar happening previously.

    Setting aside the motivations of many of Norman’s most vocal supporters for a moment, having heard both candidates speak, my own views are pretty close to those expressed by Malcolm Todd and I too would be happy for Norman to play a key role in a Tim Farron-led party.

    But it simply must be Tim Farron as the leader – he is simply streets ahead as a communicator and as a passionate spokesman for Liberal Democracy.

    As for your claim to speak for an homogenous generation, the young people I speak to are absolutely not laissez-faire classical liberals; the young people I know also care passionately about fairness, the environment, social justice and internationalism – exactly the mainstream values Tim Farron wishes to give voice to.

    In not breaking his personal tuition fees pledge, Tim can also lay claim to a level of integrity that not all our leadership candidates can. This might also be of some interest to younger people and their families.

  • Allan Heron 8th Jul '15 - 12:54pm

    So let me get this right. Darren is a member of the Lamb campaign team, and Candy Piercy is his campaign manager.

    It certainly explains the statements both made but wouldn’t it be sensible for such interests to be disclosed to those of us less in the know.

    I certainly think LDV should be refusing such items unless they are badged as such. And responders should also do this as a matter of course.

  • Allan Heron 8th Jul '15 - 12:55pm

    Should say “the Norman Lamb campaign team”, of course.

  • Grace Goodlad 8th Jul '15 - 12:58pm

    Fair comment Allan Heron – full disclosure – I sometimes go to hustings and annoy people with Tim badges. I also share and retweet stuff. i have no input on content, policy, design etc.

    Candy is now running Norman’s campaign (or so several people have been told – that may need to be corrected) and Darren I believe does much of Norman’s social media imagery (the True Liberal Graphics with the white and yellow bird with pictures of people and quotes that usually refer to a “true liberal”).

    Happy to be corrected if wrong.

  • Helen Tedcastle 8th Jul '15 - 1:29pm

    ‘ We need to be more radical in our thinking, we need intellectual evidence-based liberal policy that grabs the attention of the electorate .’

    So according to this logic radical thinking can only take place in the context of research papers done by universities and think-tanks presumably. I’m sure Tory politicians like Michael Gove and IDS would agree wholeheartedly. After all they set up their think-tank Policy Exchange to do the radical thinking and research (all ‘evidence-based) for them in government. Their policies certainly grab attention.

    I hardly think their values are ones we could support though, are they Darren Grimes?

  • Geoffrey Payne,
    too true.

  • Matthew Huntbach 8th Jul '15 - 3:19pm

    Candy Piercy

    Many Tim supporters seem to think we can just turn the clock back. Life is not like that!

    The line that some particular position has to be accepted because “it’s modernisatiom” or “you cannot turn the clock back” or similar is often used by people of an illiberal mentality to try and get their way. It’s a way of shutting down discussion, of closing options, of saying “my way is right, and your way is wrong, and I’m not going to discuss it”. It was very commonly used by the illiberal left, including Tony Blair if you can call him left, but obviously by various Leninist types to push their way.

    There are many ways forward, not just one. A true liberal would accept that. Non-liberal often claim there is only one way, which is the way they favour, and use that rather than free discussion to try and get their way.

  • Candy Piercy 8th Jul '15 - 3:38pm

    It is kind of everyone to promote me to being Norman Lamb’s campaign manager but I am but a very part time volunteer. The reason I see Tim as establishment was not only that he ran the European Elections and was President for 4 years. When I and other FE members who shared my critical view of the Party direction tried to question it, Tim tried to block discussion. On one occasion the FE over led him. Not what I expected at the time as I wanted to change things. And that is why I think Tim is Establishment.

  • Candy Piercy 8th Jul '15 - 3:40pm

    Over ruled not over led!!

    Ps in car so hard to type!!

  • @Darren very interesting to hear your clear and obvious Liberal enthusiasm. Don’t take the knocking from the old lefties too seriously 🙂 we need your energy and drive to move the party forward.

  • @Cllr Karen Chivers ” i am inspired by tales of Tim having 27-a-side football matches in his constituency ”

    Given that football was, last time I checked, an 11-a-side game* I’d be worried about Tim’s numerical ability and how that might translate into fiscal probity 😉

    * – yes I realise there are 5 and 6-a-side variants too

  • Grace Goodlad 8th Jul '15 - 4:00pm

    I do apologise if I was misinformed Candy – what is your role?

  • Neoliberalism is not a continuation of liberalism, just as libertarianism is not anything like liberalism. But these are terms widely used. If we’re going to rename them, they’ll have to be a lot of people cc’ed in on the memo.

  • Candy P “Tim tried to block discussion.”

    Really? I hadn’t realised this. Why would Tim do that? He always came across as someone who disagreed with Clegg and co. I’m afraid I’m sceptical.

  • @Stevo and neither is neoliberalism equivalent to economic liberalism

  • Candy Piercy 8th Jul '15 - 4:39pm

    Grace. I have no role on Norman’s team. I am an enthusiastic supporter giving comment or advice if and when asked.

  • Candy Piercy 8th Jul '15 - 4:41pm

    Phyllis. I was really surprised too.

  • James Sandbach 8th Jul '15 - 5:10pm

    Candy et ell. Its difficult for outsiders to suss out the different agendas that were going on at FE in the last Parliament; Tim’s role chairing in his Party President capacity would be to balance these out, respecting that its a (mostly) elected committee. However it does rather seem that having failed to land mud in suggesting that Tim acted as some sort of dangerous, disloyal and de-stabilising figure in the last Parliament, the attack now is that he was too loyal and propped up Nick Clegg’s leadership and regime. In reality the whole Parliamentary Party as well as Party Committees made mistakes which contributed to where we now are. For example, I was disappointed with the outcome of the Party’s “mid-term review” which Norman led as it produced precisely ‘no change’ in the approach to / handling of coalition in the last parliament. Neither candidate can really claim that they stood apart and offered a radically different agenda to cleggism in the the last Parliament – Tim rebelled publicly on a few things, Norman made some useful behind the scenes interventions but was extremely loyal to Nick having been his PPS; there were others who say that FPC was too muzzled when Norman chaired it in place of Nick, but honestly I don’t know.

    So lets work out and accept responsibility for what all the mistakes were (as both Tim and Norman have been doing at husting etc), and then move on from this – to me Tim is stronger in general terms on ideas for the Party’s narrative, rebranding, direction and mission, campaigning recovery, and crucially the ability to communicate oratorically and relate to non-political audiences, whilst Norman has a more detailed policy agenda and party structural reform agenda and may be stronger on the technical aspects of our recovery strategy, but I still rate Tim’s skillset and offer as the one we need for the role of Party leader.

  • Allan Heron 8th Jul '15 - 5:22pm

    James – excellent summary and also where I’d describe my own position .

    It is also noticable how far removed the candidates are from much of the wi(l)der rhetoric from the more partisan supporters of each.

  • Candy Piercy – I might have to frame that! Norman is not establishment….GIVE ME A BREAK. Nick Clegg’s PPS, backed by people like Olly Grender is not establishment? Wow…you have an incredibly warped view of what it is. So it is a working class kid from a single parent , Preston household. Yep…establishment. Silver spoon right there.

  • Matt Severn 8th Jul '15 - 5:37pm

    Candy, can we have a serious debate about the candidates – because your suggestion that Tim Farron is the ‘establishment’ lacks credibility and honesty.
    The job of Party President is a very hard one – all the more so in the years Tim was president.
    But in a leader we need 2 very big things – standing up to the forces of reactionary politics as Tim does in opposing secret courts, the bedroom tax and tuition fees for example, and beating reactionary politics on the ground as Tim has done in Westmorland & Lonsdale where we have won EVERY election since 2005.

  • Duncan Borrowman 8th Jul '15 - 6:55pm

    Candy, you portray yourself as bring just a volunteer, but on Facebook you say “We are hearing lots of feedback like this. People really like Norman’s approach.”
    Who are the “we” you refer to in this statement?

  • Grace Goodlad 8th Jul '15 - 7:11pm

    Wow – a mate has just had a voicemail asking them to join Paddy Ashdown and Shirley Williams in voting for Norman…. so that is the message then…. back the Establishment’s choice of candidate. Apparently no reference to policy, values, ideas or the future. Just Paddy and Shirley. But not establishment at all, obviously. LOL. 😉 😉

  • Stephen Hesketh 8th Jul '15 - 8:28pm

    Grace Goodlad 8th Jul ’15 – 7:11pm

    Grace, if Paddy Ashdown and Shirley Williams are not part of the Westminster Establishment then they must surely be part of Darren Grimes’ young cohort representing the most classical liberal-supporting generation ever 🙂

  • @TCO- indeed, the economics of Keynes etc has nothing to do with libertarianism or neoliberalism. On that we can all agree.

  • Daniel Henry 8th Jul '15 - 10:15pm

    I probably have a number of different views to Darren, but I think a lot of the responses here are completely over-the-top!

    Remember folks, fellow liberals are never the enemy! 🙂

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 8th Jul '15 - 11:48pm

    It pains me to argue with Candy, but I have to say that I don’t remember Tim blocking discussion of anything. After the Euros, we had a long and very candid meeting with Nick Clegg at which Tim made sure everyone had their say. In fact, generally, I feel that Tim could have done with shutting people up sometimes throughout his presidency but he was actually very good at bringing people together. Now, it’s right that I say that I am a supporter of Tim for the leadership (as an individual – LDV is neutral), but my impression does not tally with Candy’s.

    It seems very strange to dump the failure of the Euro campaign entirely on him. It was very clear the minute we went into coalition that this would be our electoral nadir of that parliament. We never do particularly well in European elections and that night, compared with that set of local elections, was always going to be horrible. There were many reasons why it all went more wrong than even our worst fears but that seems to have been the fault more of the Westminster Bubble’s leader’s cabal than, frankly, the party president. He was handed a poisoned chalice with that. He could have said no, but, with characteristic courage, he took it on.

    There was comparatively little briefing in the press against other Lib Dems, but when it came, it was usually those around the leader briefing against one of two people, Farron and Cable, for being disloyal. Now we hear that Tim was in fact the pillar of the establishment. It doesn’t make sense. Either those in the bubble were wrong then, or this argument that Tim is establishment is wrong now. They can’t both be right.

  • “It seems very strange to dump the failure of the Euro campaign entirely on him.”

    Well quite. I’m astounded that anyone could possibly think it was Tim’s fault. It wasn’t Tim who went head to head with Nigel Farage not once but twice and and said that Europe would be pretty much the same in ten year’s time. People stopped voting anything Clegg was associated with, whether it was the AV Referendum, or the EU elections. It’s as simple as that.

    If Norman wins, the fact that he was so closely allied to Clegg, and his own voting record , will be the kiss of death for the Lib Dems.

  • Matthew Huntbach 9th Jul '15 - 6:39am

    Dan Falchikov

    Candy Piercy is a very experienced campaigner and party trainer – she knew exactly what she was doing with her comment and has achieved the result she wanted: that several dozen Lib Dems – some of whom may not have voted yet get to hear the claim (however ludicrous) that it was Tim Farron who is the establishment candidate and responsible for the election disaster.

    To some extent it is true. I was never a great Farron fan, because he always seemed to me to be a Clegg cheerleader. In particular I remember him enthusiastically pushing the disastrous line “75% of our manifesto implemented”. Disastrous because it was all part of giving people the impression that what the Coalition was doing was not a “miserable little compromise” done through necessity, but something we endorsed because we believed in all it was doing. I was concerned at the way the press was pushing him as “the next leadership candidate from the left” was all part of its pushing the party to the right, by ignoring those who were more firmly to the left in being open about their opposition to Cleggery.

    For this reason, I was open to support another candidate whose personal views might be more right-wing, but who showed a better understanding of where the party went wrong in its promotion 2010-2015, and who showed an appreciation for the variety of views in the party and would lead it in a non-factional manner.

    However, I have just been appalled by the Lamb campaign. Some of it is sheer nastiness, some of it is underhand, like the people here in his campaign team pretending to be independent commentators. Most of all, however, I am appalled at the way he seems to be the candidate of the factional right who show nothing but contempt not just for the party’s left but also for the its mainstream.

  • Ruth Bright 9th Jul '15 - 9:23am

    Candy in the thirty years I have been a party member I have been continually warned about the not serious about power/comfort of opposition/turn the clock back/stuck in the past/ stop the world we want to get off people. Who are these people? In thirty years I have never met them. Perhaps a special training programme should be devised for them in order to flush them out.

  • Let’s be brutally frank, the rest of the country, and those who aren’t behind one of the two bandwagons see this as a case of two bald men fighting over a comb. We cannot afford to create impassable divisions in our party during this process.

    To my mind, whoever wins has to be more of a convenor, than a leader; w ith only 8 MPs and 1 MEP we are all going to have to muck in together after the election. Let’s leave blood-letting to Nige, and those on the far left, they are much better at than us.

  • Neil Sandison 9th Jul '15 - 9:59am

    Agree with Mark Platts comment and would add any leader must have a broad appeal across the generations .Liberal Democracy is about heart and the head one cannot be removed from the other. There isn’t much between the two hopefuls but Tim probable edges it in terms of being a good communicator who the press will find it difficult to ignore.

  • Neil Sandison “There isn’t much between the two hopefuls but Tim probable edges it in terms of being a good communicator who the press will find it difficult to ignore.”

    No Tim edges it because he voted against the tripling of tuition fees, bedroom tax, secret courts. There is a huge difference between the two hopefuls. Please do not underestimate the damage done to the Party by what Lib Dem MPs (too many times very enthusiastically) did in Coalition.

  • Our first task is to secure our base and that means defeating the Green Party. This will be a very difficult task because they are a formidable force where they organise their resources. A look at Bristol West, The Isle of Wight and Sheffield Central are cases in mind. The party itself still seems to be in the past, Ashdown and Williams are wheeled out again and again, the new membership cards have Cleggies picture on them, do we ever learn, and the literature churns out how good we were in government. Well that wolrd has gone. We will not defeat the Green Party with that sort of approach. I was right over the almost wipe out of Euro and National MPs, I am confident I am right about what our immediate strategy has to be. Norman Lamb represents that past and if by any chance he won I just cannot see us moving forward at all. We only have a slim chance of recovery and need a charismatic leader who can capture the imagination. Lamb would be a superb number 2, he is not a leader in this situation.

  • John Tilley 9th Jul '15 - 11:01am

    Caron Lindsay 8th Jul ’15 – 11:48pm
    “…It pains me to argue with Candy, but I have to say that I don’t remember Tim blocking discussion of anything. ”

    When I read Caron’s comment this morning it rang a bell. So I checked back – the LDV Archive is brilliant for this sort of thing.
    There was a report last June of a Federal Executive meeting. It created quite a discussion here in LDV, lots of people having their say. In the report Candy gets a special mention. Guess which side she was on — the Estalishment or those wanting a change, a leadership election and a move on from what she now describes as the disastrous Euro Campaign?

    Seems to me Candy has changed horses – but people can read for themselves and make up their own mind —
    https://www.libdemvoice.org/tales-from-the-federal-executive-the-one-where-we-discussed-the-elections-40796.html

  • Bill MacCormick 9th Jul '15 - 1:48pm

    ‘Theakes’ makes a relevant point. The Green Party is a strange mixture of single issue supporters who have very little idea about (or interest in) fighting elections and other far more savvy, practical and dedicated members who are determined to win seats at all levels. They are also a bunch who do not take criticism well, who are as cliquey as the next political party and who do not welcome suggestions which do not fit with their particular world view. I speak as a member of the party for the last 12 months. What Lib Dems need to be aware of is that in places around the country they are in a not dissimilar position to the Lib Dems in the mid-90s, i.e. doing well in local elections but unable to translate that into Parliamentary success. Let me give some numbers:
    Bristol West – though they achieved 27% in the GE, their local government election total was the equivalent of 31%;
    Norwich South – a disappointing GE result of 14% conceals a local government figure of 28% on the same day;
    Sheffield Central – 16% in the GE but twice as many in council elections;
    Liverpool Riverside – 12% but again twice as many in the council elections;
    York Central – 4,800 votes in the GE, 11,250 in the council elections;
    Cambridge – 5% in the GE, 17% in the locals.
    Indeed, as far as I can detect, only Caroline Lucas in Brighton achieved more votes in the GE than the combined total of her council candidate colleagues. Everywhere else Green council candidates’ votes combined were higher than their GE total.
    Having said all of that the GP has many structural as well as political problems but, as far as the Lib Dems are concerned, they occupy similar ‘rebel’ territory in which the LDs were so comfortable prior to 2010. In that respect they are the UKIP of the left: the anti-establishment voice which appeals to the disgruntled, disenfranchised and simply distracted. Centrally they believe they can win through the national and social media though in some areas they know the real truth about local campaigning. Some polls have suggested that somewhere between 500,000 and 700,000 of their supporters (both national and local) come from the ranks of previous Lib Dem voters. So they are both a danger and an opportunity of which to be aware.

  • Dave G Fawcett 9th Jul '15 - 2:32pm

    Darren Grimes: ‘Britain’s young liberals aren’t only more liberal than their elders, they are more liberal than any previous generation before them. ‘

    Am I the only person who found this comment almost ofensive. As a 67 year old member I am probably even more Liberal than I was 50 years ago when I joined the Liberal Party under Jo Grimond. I am still as Liberal as anyone under the age of 25. Darren, your generation is the future of this party but do not write us ‘oldies’ off.

  • @Dave G Fawcett if this board is anything to go by, your generation is pretty liberal socially but much less so economically.

  • @Bill MacCormack ” Some polls have suggested that somewhere between 500,000 and 700,000 of their supporters (both national and local) come from the ranks of previous Lib Dem voters. So they are both a danger and an opportunity of which to be aware.”

    They are only a danger and an opportunity in as much as you believe such supporters are committed Liberals, which I very much doubt.

  • Bill MacCormick 9th Jul '15 - 5:11pm

    TCO: if you wish to depend on committed Liberals alone then I suggest the party has just found its core vote. Doesn’t elect much.

  • @Bill McCormick I don’t want to depend upon committed Liberals alone, but the sort of voters who switch to an illiberal quasi-Socialist party are never likely to be attracted by mainstream Liberalism.

  • Bill MacCormick 9th Jul '15 - 6:25pm

    @ TCO: You assume these voters know the details of GP policies before voting for them rather, perhaps, than feeling inclined to vote for a party that favoured the environment, was anti-austerity, was simply not an establishment party or for a whole host of other reasons. I doubt whether many voters know the details of every party’s policies or beliefs. I further doubt that when they voted Lib Dem in 2010 they had the slightest idea that the party’s MPs would go on to support many of the clearly non-Liberal policies which they then supported.

  • James Sandbach 9th Jul '15 - 6:47pm

    If we write off people who have voted either Green or UKIP as completely illiberal or just habitual protest voters, then we’re in a bad place – I don’t even think the term “protest voter” is helpful anyway as surely what we’re talking about is voters who make counter intuitive choices at the ballot box because they feel so completely alienated from and disempowered by our political institutions; for a party that claims to about giving power back to people they are precisely the voters we should be talking to.

  • John Tilley 9th Jul '15 - 8:38pm

    TCO 9th Jul ’15 – 5:15pm
    “…..never likely to be attracted by mainstream Liberalism.”

    Your rather unique definition of “mainstream Liberalism” on past evidence would appear to attract less then 8% of voters.
    What future do you see for any party with such an ‘exclusive brethren’ approach?

  • Lester Holloway 9th Jul '15 - 8:52pm

    The over enthusiasm of Norman’s supporters has been an ongoing issue from the start of the campaign. I don’t believe, for a moment, that Norman is sanctioning any negative campaigning but I do wonder who’s in control, if not the candidate himself!

  • Stephen Hesketh 9th Jul '15 - 11:20pm

    TCO 9th Jul ’15 – 3:25pm
    “@Dave G Fawcett if this board is anything to go by, your generation is pretty liberal socially but much less so economically.”

    Dave, so many of Norman Lamb’s ‘over enthusiastic’ young supporters believe they speak for an entire generation and curiously combine this with ageism and being economically closer to 19th Century Classical Liberals rather than 20th and 21st Century Social Justice Liberals.

    As to what Norman Lamb has done or said to encourage this is a moot point. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt though and put most of this down to them realising that Tim Farron’s message and appeal is to mainstream social and economic justice Lib Dem members and voters so, should they wish to turn back towards Jeremy Browne’s economic vision, they have but one alternative.

  • @Stephen Hesketh so that’ll be correct then.

  • @John Tilley “Your rather unique definition of “mainstream Liberalism” on past evidence would appear to attract [fewer than] 8% of voters. What future do you see for any party with such an ‘exclusive brethren’ approach?”

    A full economic and social liberal package is far more likely to be supported by a plurality of voters than some sort of niche semi-socialism, given that, in part, that is what they get from Labour and the Conservatives.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 11:17am

    Stephen Hesketh

    Dave, so many of Norman Lamb’s ‘over enthusiastic’ young supporters believe they speak for an entire generation and curiously combine this with ageism and being economically closer to 19th Century Classical Liberals rather than 20th and 21st Century Social Justice Liberals.

    No, people like this use an Orwellian technique to misrepresent the position of 19th century liberals. Real 19th century liberals were much more pragmatic about the role of the state than those who claim to be their true successors make out.

    We have just had a horrendous right-wing budget, which in particular attacks the young and their freedom, forcing them to remain dependent on their parents until way into adulthood. And yet, according to these key supporters of Norman Lamb, that’s not an issue. Oh no, according to them the main issue for “our generation” is that the economy is not right-wing enough, that it is too “statist”.

    Whether what they say is an accurate reflection of Norman Lamb or not, it is clear from how they have acted that if he got in, they would take control and push the party their way, as they have managed to take control of the Lamb campaign and push it their way.

    I started this campaign fairly balanced between whether I would vote for Lamb or Farron. I’m now at the point where if Lamb won, I would seriously have to reconsider whether I want to stay a member of the party.

  • Matthew Huntbach 10th Jul '15 - 11:26am

    TCO

    A full economic and social liberal package is far more likely to be supported by a plurality of voters .

    I see no evidence for that. In my experience, intellectual support for extreme right-wing economic policies that some call “economic liberal” is very small, and concentrated in the social elite. Most people who vote for parties who support that sort of thing do so on other bases, often because of the way it is twisted into something different to make it palatable to those lower down (the Daily Mail and THE Sun are experts at that – see how they differ from e.g. the Times and to some extent the Telegraph which push it straight).

    I think it still the case that most people who vote Conservative do so because they are socially conservative in mentality, and believe (quite wrongly) that that’s what the Conservative Party is about. It is now only in the distant past, that the Conservative Party was about social conservatism. There was a little bit of it left in Thatcher’s time, but that’s gone now.

    UKIP are the same but worse – gaining support on a supposed sentimental social conservative image, while in reality supporting far right economics whose practical effect is the opposite of that.

  • @Matthew Huntbach ” for extreme right-wing economic policies that some call “economic liberal” ”

    And in my experience the “some” are usually Social Liberals trying to build straw men to discredit Economic Liberals.

    Economic Liberalism is not the same as neo-Liberalism.

  • @Matthew Huntbach “I think it still the case that most people who vote Conservative do so because they are socially conservative in mentality, and believe (quite wrongly) that that’s what the Conservative Party is about. ”

    This type of thinking is why this party is in the mess it’s in.

    A great many Conservative voters are not socially conservative; they’re looking to vote for a party that appears to be competent.

  • Stephen Hesketh 10th Jul '15 - 1:13pm

    Matthew Huntbach10th Jul ’15 – 11:17am

    Matthew, what I should have said is more like, “and curiously combine this with ageism and being economically closer to 19th Century Classical Liberals rather than 19th, 20th and 21st Century Social Justice Liberals.”

    The distinction I was attempting to bring out was the difference between so-called Classical and Social Justice Liberalism rather than suggesting that Liberalism itself changed in 1900 or indeed ignoring the role of groups such as the Radicals in the development of our party and its philosophy.

    I leave any attempts to rewrite Liberal and Liberal Democrat history to those disciples of Jeremy Browne’s discredited economic vision clearly present among Norman Lamb’s supporters.

  • I’ve paid a sub to this party for nearly four decades, but I think I will just quietly stop if Lamb wins this election. I don’t say that as a threat. I say it as a disappointed person, who believed that Liberals could change the world and make it a fairer place.

  • @Stephen Hesketh “those disciples of Jeremy Browne’s discredited economic vision clearly present among Norman Lamb’s supporters.”

    Perhaps you’d enlighten us to what “Jeremy Browne’s discredited economic vision” might be. Then we can make a judgement as to whether (a) it’s been tried and (b) whether it’s been discredited.

  • Helen Tedcastle 10th Jul '15 - 1:37pm

    Matthew Huntbach
    ” I think it still the case that most people who vote Conservative do so because they are socially conservative in mentality, and believe (quite wrongly) that that’s what the Conservative Party is about. It is now only in the distant past, that the Conservative Party was about social conservatism. There was a little bit of it left in Thatcher’s time, but that’s gone now.”

    I couldn’t agree more. Evidence of that this week in the budget with the stripping of child benefit for families with more than two children. Even Thatcher wouldn’t have done that. They’re basically free-market nationalists.

  • @Helen Tedcastle “Evidence of that this week in the budget with the stripping of child benefit for families with more than two children. Even Thatcher wouldn’t have done that. They’re basically free-market nationalists.”

    That is a complete non-sequitur. How do you get from “stripping child benefit for [sic] families with more than two children” to free-market nationalism?

    Furthermore the two-child policy is not retrospective so no-one with more than 2 children currently is having their benefit “stripped”.

  • The Norman fans here are saying Tim is ‘the continuity candidate,’ ‘wants to turn the clock back’, ‘wants us to sit between the other two parties’. Making these statements without any explanation at all! No fair-minded person who has followed this leadership election would describe Tim like that. It seems to be projection by the Lamb people, because they haven’t got anything real to attack. I think this campaign has been great. We are very lucky to have two excellent candidates, both of them bursting with ideas and get strategic thinking. Tim is the right leader for the time, but Norman needs to be given a serious leading role – and I’m sure he will be.

  • Helen Tedcastle 10th Jul '15 - 3:39pm

    TCO
    ‘ How do you get from “stripping child benefit for [sic] families with more than two children” to free-market nationalism?’

    Matthew’s observation was related to the Tory Party no longer representing social conservatism. The Tories used to style themselves as the party of the family. It’s odd then for a party that believes in family values supposedly to stop child benefit for more than two children. The family values have been ditched for medium and larger families – for any families of more than two children.

    And I thought children – all children – were an investment in our future?

    The truth is the Tories are simply a free-market nationalist party.

  • @Helen Tedcastle “And I thought children – all children – were an investment in our future?”

    That’s a moot point, given what over-population is doing to the planet.

    However that’s not the rationale behind what’s being planned. What the Chancellor is trying to address (and we can debate whether he’s going about it the right way) is the following.

    When you decide to have children, you know that you are undertaking a long-term commitment that has a considerable financial impact. This measure is designed to address the issue that some people think very carefully about this question, behave responsibly, and have a family of the size that they are confident they will be able to support. Other people don’t think carefully about this and have any number of children without a thought about whether they can afford to meet the financial (as well as emotional) commitment. So the real question is whether it’s fair to make people who have thought carefully and concluded that they can only afford a small family (perhaps when they would have loved to have had a large family) pay for other people’s large families?

  • Tony Dawson 15th Jul '15 - 8:31am

    Ruth Bright is right.

    The only people who are ‘not serious about power’ are the people who made almost completely sure, throughout the last five years (when they had been handed power ‘gratis’ after an election which they had fought badly and not done too well in) that this Party would not be able to exercise power on a national level for a very long time indeed.

    “Geoffrey Payne:
    “Some of Tim’s supporters just want to turn the clock back”. What on earth does that mean?””

    It suggests a preference for sitting in a corner with a broken clock which cannot go back or forward. 🙁

  • Jayne Mansfield 15th Jul '15 - 9:58am

    @ TCO,
    There are a large families such as the ones you mention, and we know they exist because they make the headlines, but how many? Will reducing their family income change their behaviour?

    I agree with Helen, when children have been brought into the world, they are an investment. What are the alternatives to investing in them? What might be the consequences for society of not doing so?

    To suggest that more than a minority of people bring numerous children into the world that they cannot afford simply for extra benefits seems to me to be simplistic in the extreme, and he idea that you can stop the poor breeding by manipulating benefits seems to me to come from the same brain boxes as those that think that marriage allowance will encourage people to get married.

    Is there any evidence for your belief that giving less money to some people will make them sit down and calculate whether to have another child or not? When last I looked, large families tended to be financially worse off not better off than smaller families but I am happy to be disabused on this point. I’m all for evidence based policy.

  • @Jayne Mansfield that’s not the point and you know it. The welfare system in this country only works if, broadly speaking, those who contribute to it believe it is fair and equitable. We are hard-wired (in the main) to behave like this; groups require co-operation for survival and people who take without giving cause resentment and anger.

    I don’t confine this to the welfare system either; it applies to all selfish behaviour.

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