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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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarSteve trevethan 25th Sep - 8:28am
    When was our country last well led?
  • User AvatarPhilip Knowles 25th Sep - 8:09am
    After just watching Sir Keir Starmer attempt to sit on the fence again I despair. When will anybody (other than us) put the country before...
  • User AvatarPeter Martin 25th Sep - 7:38am
    Tony Lloyd expresses a perfectly rational view when he says: "I want to be a full citizen of the European union ........on the same basis...
  • User AvatarMichael BG 25th Sep - 1:55am
    @ Nick Baird There are 1.44 million people unemployed all of which are looking for a job and don’t have one. There are about 2.3...
  • User AvatarJoeB 25th Sep - 12:59am
    It is only a decade since we had 8 Mps and 5 London Assembly members in London. The first Mayoral election in 2000 contested by...
  • User AvatarPeter Watson 25th Sep - 12:21am
    @John Marriott & Roland To be honest, my suggestion of a Hard Remain option in another referendum was somewhat tongue-in-cheek. But it does reflect a...