Rennie and Williams back “brilliant communicator and outstanding campaigner” Farron

Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Willie Rennie, and Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Kirsty Williams, have today endorsed Tim Farron to be the next leader of the federal Liberal Democrats.

In a joint statement, they said:

Thursday’s results were devastating for the Liberal Democrats.

Our pain is eased by the knowledge that our liberal gains in government will endure.

Despite our loss our party remains optimistic, hopeful and confident about what we can achieve on behalf of Britain.

However, we now have to earn the right to be listened to again.

To move forward we need a fresh start. With that in mind we call on Tim Farron to stand to be our next Federal Leader. We believe he is the right person to rebuild our Party, inspire and lead us into next year’s election campaigns. We will wholeheartedly support him if he decides to put himself forward.

Tim is a committed liberal, a brilliant communicator, an outstanding campaigner and an inspirational leader.

With him as leader we can show that we are a compassionate, tolerant, internationalist, reformist party that looks beyond sectional interest to the greater good, to our children’s future not just ours, that believes in partnership home and abroad not division, that is liberal and democratic.

We urge Tim to step up and lead our party to recovery.

Read more by or more about , , or .
This entry was posted in News.
Advert

50 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 11th May '15 - 2:09pm

    Farron is good, but saying things like “The Tories are wicked” is not brilliant communication, but a way to deter half of the party’s target market.

    Maybe Lamb will have problems of his own, but I know who I think is better at appealing to a wide base. Glad to find out he is standing.

  • “We now have to earn the right to be listened to again”. Hear hear to that.

  • Eddie Sammon, the Tories ARE wicked. Should our leaders be afraid to speak the truth?

  • Well someone had to start the ball rolling and getting support from the leaders of the Scottish and the Welsh LibDems is about as good a start as you could get. A great start for Tim Farrons campaign.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th May '15 - 3:00pm

    Phyllis, I have no problem with calling the Conservatives selfish and things like that, but when we hear silence about Labour on the other side then it makes us look like that Labour Party satellite.

    Of course, we shouldn’t sound hateful about the tories, but we should criticise both parties. I’ve seen people literally fall out with people (not me) over the election result just because they voted Conservative. Hate exists on both sides.

  • Phyllis 11th May ’15 – 2:17pm
    “…Eddie Sammon, the Tories ARE wicked. Should our leaders be afraid to speak the truth?”

    Hearing the news that Iain Duncan Smith has been reappointed as Witch Finder General in the Department for Benefit Sanctions and Food Banks one can only conclude that Phyllis is correct.

  • Willie Rennie has just lead the Scottish party to its worst result in UK election history. His endorsement is therefore very double-edged. If he himself is allowed to continue as leader into 2016, it will be great news for Nicola Sturgeon.

  • Will any former MPs want to become MSP candidates in 2016?

  • Al – not sure what planet you live on if you think the result in Scotland is down to Willie Rennie? It’s clear that UK-wide issues were the major reasons for people voting in this election – not what was happening in Holyrood!

  • @Phyllis saying people are WICKED demeans us. By all means point out what is wrong with their policies and the potential effects of them, but that sort of language just puts people off us.

  • The trouble is that Norman Lamb voted in favour of tuition fees… We cannot afford a pledge-breaker leading the party or it will just come back to haunt us yet again. That narrows the possible field of leaders to 4 as far as I am concerned. And Tim Farron looks like the only one of those who wants the job.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th May '15 - 4:11pm

    Andrew, Cameron has broken plenty of pledges and he is Prime Minister. All of the people who want the party to be “more left wing than Labour” want Tim Farron to win. And that is a problem. In my opinion it is a bigger problem than the Orange Bookers.

    Best regards

  • Bill le Breton 11th May '15 - 4:14pm

    tom – perhaps Al is wondering why the Lib Dems abandoned their ‘Home Rule’ policy for Scotland – in effect Devo Max – to join the Better Together Unionist brigade.

    Someone must have advised the Party to use its influence in the Westminster Government to block a third option on the ballot.

    Of course in the end the Unionist junta had to ‘vow’ a hasty commitment to Devo Max, having given the SNP the torch that actually we should have been carrying all along for the Scottish people.

  • Steve Travis 11th May '15 - 4:20pm

    If Tim wins the leadership as expected he needs a balanced portfolio around him.

  • markfairclough 11th May '15 - 4:28pm

    I hope Alistair Carmichael stands for the party leadership

  • @ Bill Le Breton
    Totally agree. How did the Lib Dems allow themselves to become lumped in as part of the Unionist bloc and not shout out load as the original Devo Max party.

  • Eddie Sammon, doesn’t that issue depend on how left wing Labour is? I mean, I don’t want the party I’m a member of to just go marching off endlessly to the left, but if Labour’s response to its election defeat is to cuddle up close to Tory positions on our key issues, we might end up being to the left of them standing where we are now.

    Also, a side point for the general discussion – leaders in the devolved assemblies should be judged on their performance in those assemblies. Willie Rennie was leader of the Scottish Party when we lost 10 our of 11 MPs, yes, but unless we move to a much looser arrangement between the English, Welsh and Scottish parties, it makes no sense to demand his resignation over that. Now, personally I favour doing exactly that, but we shall have to wait and see what comes out of the EVEL+Devolution proposals before we know how much of a rethink is needed.

  • Bill:
    I have expressed previously my incomprehension of Lib Dem politics in Scotland. I was assured that SNP is a very authoritarian party, but the evidence was not that persuasive, leaving me wondering how it might be considered less Liberal than Labour and Conservatives.

    I suspect there are elements of tribalism that is lost to those outside Scotland. Like you I think it did us no favours.

    I also worry about a forthcoming EU referendum. Do we really want to stand alongside Cameron? If Cameron does get anything out of his ‘renegotiation’ it could include things we fundamentally disagree with, such as reduced security in the workplace. As we have seen, referendums open a can of worms and very likely a strong backlash of which we need to be very wary.

  • Martin, yes that perplexed me too but the answer I was given by Caron is that the SNP are responsible for armed police on routine patrol in the highlands. And stop and search.

  • Phyllis

    “the Tories ARE wicked. Should our leaders be afraid to speak the truth?”

    The Tories have bad policies, they often result in very poor outcomes for certain people, that is what needs to be stated.

    The use of terms “wicked,” “nasty,” or “evil” don’t really help matters on a number of levels:
    They firstly make parties using them sound hyperbolic, it may “rally the troops” but it damages credibility with floating voters;
    Secondly it allows the Tories to portray policies that are simply bad as being “hard headed”/”tough but unavoidable,” providing the Tories an undeserved impression of credibility;
    Thirdly for voters who have sympathy with certain policies will take that sort of criticism as an attack on them, it isn’t normally best to attack voters.

    My initial though is that Tim Farron would be the best leader at this point, but I imagine that he has previously made these comments in a “rallying the troops” capacity and understands making them in a leadership capacity would create an exposure to these risks. I imagine if leader his rhetoric would be more carefully targeted.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th May '15 - 5:48pm

    T-J, yes it does, but at the end of the day if the party goes further left than Ed Miliband or tries to ape him then they will get the same result.

    It’s nothing personal, but I don’t think these people want to win a general election. Their dream is to change the electoral system and get at most 25% of the vote and perhaps sit in a coalition with Labour. That is not my ambition.

  • Eddie

    “All of the people who want the party to be “more left wing than Labour” want Tim Farron to win”

    I would wait and see once people start declaring who is for who. Anyone advocating a “labour lite” approach obviously didn’t notice that Labour went in to the election talking (gently) about renationalisation and price controls and lost seats from their previous 2010 low.

    Aping other parities will result in disaster (as is “splitting the difference”) the LibDems needs genuinely liberal policies, some of those would be comfortable to many in the Labour Party some comfortable to many in the Tory party but they all need to be about liberal values. Some good ideas can be found among old policies and many will need to be completely new (the world has moved on and faces new challenges) but the milder version of another party is a recipe for disaster.

  • Eddie Sammon 11th May '15 - 5:58pm

    Hi Psi, I just think on foreign policy economic liberals tend to go either too tough or too weak. It is this urge for radicalism that I think misses the mark. The middle of the road strategy might be boring, but it is what I believe in and has been proven to work when done by the best.

    Good point about waiting for the declarations first though.

  • Eddie Sammon,

    As far as I know, David Cameron never got himself photographed in his constituency signing a big piece of paper saying “I promise to vote against XXXX”

    It is the fact that so many party members and MPs deluded themselves into thinking that a manifesto promise carries the same weight as a pledge to the electors which is what has got us into this mess. The pledge was something that the public understood would ALWAYS be in the power of each MP. That is what made it such a powerful vote-winner in university seats. It was not a pledge to “stop fee increases”, but to vote against them, and 21 MPs honourably stuck to the pledge. The breaking of that pledge has damaged us far beyond students and university seats – most voters just did not listen to what Nick Clegg promised from that point on because they knew it was pointless.

    I argued this point with Simon Hughes and others in 2010 but was unsuccessful. Hence I resigned (one of the worst days of my life) until Nick Clegg was no longer leader – now I have rejoined

  • I don’t want the party to me “more left wing than Labour” I want it to be more Liberal than Labour (which is easy!). And more Liberal than the Tories (which is also easy!) We have to get away from this linear definition of politics where there is some mythical “centre ground” to be occupied in between two illiberal parties

    I suspect Tim Farron believes the same

  • “The Tories are wicked”

    Incredibly childish and a not very smart way to try and win back support.

  • @Phyllis psi makes a cogent argument for why this sort of language is counterproductive.

    I would simply add that the law of unintended consequences is not the same thing as a provable causal link. Politicians balance many competing interests and have to consider the wider picture. They are only human.

    If we’re considering the human collateral from political decisions, there are plenty of examples to cite from politicians of all stripes. Labour’s decisions on Iraq signed the death warrant for hundreds of thousands of iraqi civilians, for example. Does that make labour exceed?

  • Labour *wicked*

  • Time in government was good for Lib Dems. The party had influence and achieved results. Many of these results could not be achieved in any other way by a small party in opposition.

    The party also gained experience of government. This included responsibility towards the country which is never a feature of opposition. The party was unused to government. The Ministers did well, but they also made mistakes.

    One of the consequences of the responsibilities of office is to make tough decisions. It involves considering many points of view, including the needs of all citizens, not just the vested interests of the party activists.

    I agree with TCO. I would go further. It is not helpful to see a witchhunt of those who did their best for the country in office but in doing so, fell foul of some party members who now bear a grudge.

  • Suffice to say that in terms of what Blair et al did in relation to Iraq, and particularly what happened to David Kelly, yes I would also class that as ‘wicked’. whilst I normally do not use such words lightly I think for certain actions, which are especially heinous, there are no other words which can describe the level of ‘badness’. Describing it as ‘ a poor outcome’ is I am afraid, an insult to the people who have been driven to desperation and paid the ultimate price, for ideological ly-driven sanctions. I expect in the next five years, there will be, sadly, many more such acts.

    When the government makes policies which have such terrible consequences that they can only be described as ‘wicked’ decent and fair-minded people should I hope, say “not in my name”.

  • @Phyllis
    I could possibly agree with you about the treatment of David Kelly by particular politicians. However, attaching the label “wicked” to whole parties or ministers without very specific and damning evidence of evil intent is irresponsible.

    Sometimes difficult decisions have unintended consequences and hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  • If nothing else using terms like “wicked” or “evil” has religious connotations that I don’t feel comfortable with.

    Simply stating a policy was wrong and explaining why without making value judgements about intent is sufficient.

  • Peter, in the case of welfare sanctions, it is well documented and yet still the Tories are carrying on with these measure and even planning 12b pounds more cuts. If you scroll up to one of my earlier comments, I specifically said that the reason the Tories are ‘wicked’ is because they know what is happening and STILL carry on and even go further to hammer the poor and the vulnerable.

    And when wicked things are happening it is ‘irresponsible’ not to call the people out on it.

  • I dont understand why Eddie Sammon doesnt just join the Tories.

  • Alistair

    “I dont understand why Eddie Sammon doesnt just join the Tories.”

    I don’t understand why people like you can’t discuss issues sensibly without telling others they should leave.

  • Tim Farron’s intemperate statement that ‘the Tories are wicked’ is probably rooted in his deeply held religious beliefs. While I am happy to defend anyone’s right to hold whatever religious or other superstitious beliefs they wish, I do worry when religion, of whatever flavour, is brought into politics. So before I consider supporting any particular leadership candidate I would want to know how any religious belief held is going to affect the direction of our party.

  • @Psi agreed. Purges and expulsions are a particular feature of a certain viewpoint.

  • Eddie Sammon 12th May '15 - 9:13am

    Thanks Psi and TCO. I saw that comment last night but had said enough. I think the Conservatives still have a long way to go when it comes to reforming and building a better brand. The £12 billion of welfare cuts is just one thing that puts me off and I think makes them toxic among many people.

    I would probably be more tempted by a more modernised Labour Party, but to be honest regardless of whoever wins the Labour leadership I think it is going to take them more than a weekend to change the party, so it is still the Liberal Democrats for me at the moment.

    Try to stay on subject.

  • peter tyzack 12th May '15 - 9:26am

    Psi and Andrew are needed on the Federal Policy Committee, I do hope they will step forward (and tell us who they are ..) their analysis is spot on…
    .. or to put it as Charles Kennedy did, we are not to the left of anybody nor to the right of anybody, but OUT IN FRONT.!. and we are certainly in front in terms of our ideas, why else do others keep adopting them.?
    If our position changes over time it is only marginal, it is the other two parties who will change their policies as they change their socks in simple pursuit of power. We base our policies on our principles, and as Peter Lilley once said ‘who cares about principles if you don’t have power’. We need to identify ourselves by our core principles, first and foremost and not foolishly try to ‘position ourselves’ anywhere, let our principles and policies do that for us.

  • peter tyzack 12th May '15 - 9:42am

    I was just chuckling at ‘Iain Duncan Smith has been reappointed as Witch Finder General in the Department for Benefit Sanctions and Food Banks’, my lodger in the next room asked what had amused me so I read it out to him.. his response: ‘very apt – everybody knows the Tories are wicked’.. and I hadn’t mentioned the word!

  • peter tyzack 12th May ’15 – 9:42am
    “…I was just chuckling at ‘Iain Duncan Smith has been reappointed as Witch Finder General in the Department for Benefit Sanctions and Food Banks’, ”

    Peter
    We have to laugh at such an appointment or we would cry. It is a bad day for the disabled, the working poor and pensioners who do not qualify for the full state pension. But I am glad I raised a chuckle.
    BTW — Have you signed up your lodger to the party? Sounds like his/her instincts are spot on.

  • Peter

    “we are not to the left of anybody nor to the right of anybody, but OUT IN FRONT”

    An excellent sentiment, too much of the memory of Kennedy’s time is dominated by the opposition to the Iraq war. He did try and have a team that was diverse (he employed Mark Littlewood). Principles set out the “what” is to be achieved the different views of people in a party give different “how’s” which should not be lost.

    “If our position changes over time it is only marginal […] We base our policies on our principles”

    I would say principles are the immovable, but you need to keep policies under constant review. The world is changing and if you hold too tightly to certain polices you end up in a position as time moves on that you may not choose.
    If I take two examples:
    One of the worst ideas the LibDems have had in recent years was to support Leveson. Technology is eroding the power of the press. Creating the infrastructure of a regulator (whose job is to be an ombudsman rather than a regulator) provides opportunity for the existing industry to suck in some of the new competitors and create barriers to protect themselves, while also leaving the system open to manipulation by the powerful. A liberal alternative would be to create a strictly codified and limited “right to privacy” which would provide protection but also be far more open and transparent view, while being universal not focusing on a particular industry structure.

    The Second is the sore point of the last 5 years, “free” university places. The cost of universities is rising all over the world as is attendance. The LibDem Policy always felt like something from a time warp of the late 90s. The attachment to the model that had gone before was clung on to so as to make it totemic. In the US MOOCs are looking like a challenge to the previous model (also was also already greater diversity of delivery which is often underestimated) and the UK had a number of scalable models which had started long before (OU and UoLondon External). Instead of taking what was new and seeing what could be used from what had been around for some time, the LidDem Policy looked like a focus on a specific “how” rather than the “what” of the principal.

    “Peter Lilley once said ‘who cares about principles if you don’t have power’”

    Uggggg, clearly he never really understood power is exercised in many different ways. Too many governments arrive and are confused that there aren’t some big metal levers in the office which just “make it happen”. I try and give an open a hearing to as many people of different views as I can, but he is one where I gag.

  • Tim was never in the coalition government – which is a plus. He also use the sense he was born with.

  • SIMON BANKS 12th May '15 - 4:49pm

    Norman Lamb was a good minister, is a real Liberal and goes well on TV. If Tim wins, Norman would be a brilliant Deputy leader and Shadow Chancellor.

    He was very close to Nick Clegg for a long time, though, too close to the party’s direction under Nick Clegg,and I doubt if he can bring enough change. I also doubt if he can inspire.

    Tim Farron is also a real Liberal and has enormous energy and passion. He can fire up the activists. Enthusiastic activists bring victories, because they work harder and because the enthusiasm communicates to the voters.

    Words like “wicked” may sound odd to practised politicians, but they strike home. The Tory voters who might vote for us, other than purely tactically, vote for strong government, a credible PM, opportunity for small business etc, but ARE uneasy about Tory policies which favour the super-rich and kick the poor. The ones who are unbothered by the most repugnant Tory policies won’t vote for us anyway, fortunately. I’m sure Tim can skewer the Labour Party too.

    He doesn’t seem to have declared yet. GET A MOVE ON, TIM!

  • Simon Banks

    I think you miss the point about language, using the emotive terms is not helpful to a party looking to be taken seriously.

    “Words like “wicked” may sound odd to practised politicians, but they strike home. The Tory voters who might vote for us, other than purely tactically, vote for strong government, a credible PM, opportunity for small business etc, but ARE uneasy about Tory policies which favour the super-rich and kick the poor. The ones who are unbothered by the most repugnant Tory policies won’t vote for us anyway, fortunately. I’m sure Tim can skewer the Labour Party too.”

    It is not about “Tory voters” it is just persuadable voters. Sounding hyperbolic has the ring of the “student politician” about it, a fate that Ed Milliband suffered from. A leader needs gravitas.

    Some voters will chose to use the term themselves, that is fine but party leaderships shouldn’t start down this route. I don’t think any of the possible leaders would, once elected, I think they would all know what they are doing. I also don’t think Tim would be judged for having said it in the past, I can’t imagine at the next election an interviewer saying ‘7 years ago you said the Tories were wicked…’ as it wouldn’t be a very effective question.

    I agree that Tim Farron’s strongest asset is his visible energy at this point. I agree if Norman Lamb is not leader he would be a good choice for the Treasury brief. The other thing to remember is the way any candidate is perceived will also be affected by who Labour elect and also who the next Tory leader is after Cameron. But until there is a full field and people start to set out their stall who can really judge.

  • Psi If we look at Nigel Farage many many people are won over by him calling a spade a spade and not being mealy-mouthed. So I suggest that Tim will win people over if he says what most right-minded people already think and indeed say out loud. Leaders – and all decent people- should call ‘wickedness’ out. Otherwise they are complicit in it.

  • David Allen 12th May '15 - 7:17pm

    Psi said:

    “The Tories have bad policies, they often result in very poor outcomes for certain people, that is what needs to be stated.

    The use of terms “wicked,” “nasty,” or “evil” don’t really help matters on a number of levels:
    They firstly make parties using them sound hyperbolic, it may “rally the troops” but it damages credibility with floating voters;
    Secondly it allows the Tories to portray policies that are simply bad as being “hard headed”/”tough but unavoidable,” providing the Tories an undeserved impression of credibility;
    Thirdly for voters who have sympathy with certain policies will take that sort of criticism as an attack on them, it isn’t normally best to attack voters.”

    That’s a well-argued piece. But when you pull your punches, the voters tend to deduce that you have a weak case. Miliband pulled his punches by giving a perfunctory defence of Gordon Brown’s spending record. Miliband was largely right, but nobody believed him, because the Tories had ferociously, repeatedly, confidently blamed Labour for the bankers’ crash.

    So if “wicked” is a bit too strong, “poor outcomes” is certainly too weak.

    Describe the policy, or even better its consequences, rather than making a direct ad hominem attack. Call food banks, or drowning migrants “a disgrace on the Tory government”. Leave it up to the listener to decide whether they think the Tories are wicked or just negligent.

  • Perhaps the libdems should consider being a truly secular party founded on rational evidence based decision making. Truly progressive and liberal… and compassionate. From abortion on demand through legalisation of drugs to voluntary euthanasia and living wills … freedom from religion….comprehensive state education (no private priviledge) … no unelected religious reps. … remove tax relief etc from religious institutions…. medical advance ..
    committment to scientific and technological research, engineering small high value manufacture and engineering.. committment to aid being directed and focussed on sex ed contraception abortion child mortality, all the stuff that genuinely encourages liberal democracy a solid raft of genuinely progressive committments clarity (non pc) brave and unhypocritical … a radical party more representative of the educated and sensible… the whys where and hows a sustainable stable ( and … happier )world could be. (priority free quality state education restate full committment no sell outs). Integrity … no weeny words (care,dignity,respect etc.) back bone.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarMatthew Harris 17th Sep - 10:22pm
    @Nom de Plume German racist pseudo-scientists in the 19th century spoke of German Jews as racially inferior "Semites", and they - the anti-Jewish racists -...
  • User AvatarYeovil Yokel 17th Sep - 9:10pm
    The Guardian News version on You Tube is better because it includes cutaways to see the audience's reactions.
  • User AvatarGeoff Reid 17th Sep - 9:07pm
    Paul Barker is surely accurate with his figures. But I am am probably not the only by-election nerd who is genuinely shocked by real votes...
  • User AvatarCassie 17th Sep - 8:41pm
    Peter: the only way we will get to enact Revoke is if we win a General Election. If 'The People' all want to leave, they...
  • User AvatarJohn Marriott 17th Sep - 8:37pm
    Yes, the Lib Dem brand does exactly what it says on the tin! Going for revocation period is a brave move. Some might argue that...
  • User AvatarRoss McLean 17th Sep - 8:21pm
    Peter - you don't need to wonder wistfully what Paddy would've thought. In August 2018 he said on twitter, "The argument against a People's Vote...
Thu 10th Oct 2019