Tag Archives: lib dems at 30

The reason Tim Farron didn’t vote for merger

Ten years ago, the lib dem blogfather Jonathan Calder wrote an article for the New Statesman about the party’s first 20 years.

But if Liberal enthusiasts for merger were to have their hopes crushed, Liberal sceptics were to be confounded too. There were many who feared the new party would see Liberalism submerged within Social Democracy or junked in an enthusiasm for all things new.

He shared it on Twitter yesterday, saying that he had been one of the Liberal Party members who had opposed the merger.

His tweet prompted a confession from Tim Farron:

I actually came to the new party from the SDP. I had been very much in favour of merger and told Bob Maclennan so in no uncertain terms on the day after the disappointing 1987 election.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 9 Comments

Lib Dems at 30 – let’s be bold, confident and radical

It’s a wee while since I hit 30 but I’ve been thinking a lot about how I felt at that time in my life.

My twenties had been pretty turbulent in many ways and had taught me quite a bit about the world and how it works and where things needed to change.

By the time I hit 30, I not only felt surer of myself, I felt more impatient even than I had at 16 to change the world. Why? Because so little had changed. Because we were still having the same arguments about power being concentrated in the hands of too few white men. Because opportunities for progress were being missed.

It’s a bit the same for the party. When it hit 20, it had 63 MPs and was in many ways at the height of its powers. Charles had been right on Iraq, Vince had been right about the financial crash which was only just starting to unfold. Actually, Paddy, our leader for the first 10 years had been right on social justice, right on Kosovo, right on Hong Kong.

As we hit 30, we are still right on the big issues of the day – housing, Brexit, inequality, climate change. We are much smaller in terms of MPs and councillors, but we have more members than we had 10 years ago. We had about 75000 members around the time Nick Clegg won in 2007. We broke the 100,000 barrier last year.

It is not easy being a third party in a bonkers electoral system that is built for two who want to keep it that way.  It wasn’t until our 10th year that we broke through, doubling our number of MPs to 46. It wasn’t until our 11th year that we had nationwide representation in the European Parliament. 

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 20 Comments
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  • User AvatarDavid Raw 12th Dec - 10:35am
    Is it too Machiavellian to suggest that Mrs May was the 48th Tory MP to send in a letter ?
  • User AvatarAndrew Melmoth 12th Dec - 10:23am
    I hope she gets 52% of the vote.
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:15am
    That should have been "I will be out in Bedale on Saturday"!
  • User Avatarpmknowles 12th Dec - 10:14am
    I have been campaigning for a Peoples Vote and will be out in Became on Saturday morning. I don't want a Peoples Vote though because...
  • User AvatarMartin 12th Dec - 10:05am
    At any other time, a PM in this position would not be able to continue. Joe Otten's assessment that roughly three quarters of Conservative MPs...
  • User AvatarBill le Breton 12th Dec - 9:51am
    Am tempted to write, "It's the DUP, st*pid". I wouldn't like to predict this vote, but for Conservatives remaining in office is the absolute priority....