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 AvatarCassie 18th Jun - 10:32am
    Key point being that even if there is some amazing Brexit benefit for the NHS, it will be for England only. Either they think Welsh...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 18th Jun - 10:20am
    @Cassie "David Raw… And the relevance/usefulness of your remark to 2018, to Brexit, to TM cynically linking extra NHS cash for England (only) with Brexit…...
  • User AvatarSimon Shaw 18th Jun - 10:13am
    @Peter Martin "Dianne Abbot was widely criticised for attempting a similar back-of-envelope type calculation as yourself when she mentioned recruiting 1000 police officers who were...
  • User AvatarPaul Walter 18th Jun - 9:49am
    Thank you David. I wasn't trying to undermine you. I don't treat comments exchanges as a sort of game. I have plenty of other things...
  • User AvatarLyn N 18th Jun - 9:32am
    @Cassie Quite. The Lib Dem’s as a minor partner in a coalition are only ever going to be able to soften the actions of larger...
  • User AvatarGlenn 18th Jun - 9:30am
    Military spending is not just about defence. It's about selling arms and expertise. It can kill people, which I'm pretty certain is not a public...