Tim Farron: I’ll be a distinctive voice as President

The Liberal Democrats are getting a huge amount out of being in government: protection for the lowest paid, the most ambitious political reforms since universal suffrage, restoration of civil liberties… in fact the only thing we’re not getting is the credit we deserve!

That’s why I’ve decided to run to be President of the Liberal Democrats.

It’s not easy being in Government. As part of the Coalition, our distinctive message has often got buried, what we stand for has got blurred and our ability to campaign is blunted.

I’m not having that.

I joined the Liberals at 16. A Focus leaflet deliverer in Lancashire, then a student activist in Newcastle, a councillor in Lancashire, a couple of stints as a parliamentary candidate in unwinnable seats, then candidate for Westmorland – my home – and eventually success. We won Westmorland and Lonsdale from the Conservatives for the first time in 99 years in 2005 by a majority of just 267. This May we held the seat by 12,264.

Ros Scott has been a truly outstanding President. She’s accessible, she’s an activist, she’s not part of the establishment. Despite being an MP – which is a pretty ‘establishment’ thing to be – I’m not part of the establishment either. I find Westminster a peculiar place – I’m much more at home standing in a market square in Westmorland, fielding questions, talking to people and taking their ideas on board. The only way to learn anything new is to listen to others. If you only ever talk to other politicians, you will be an immensely dull and stale person. Sadly, Westminster is full of people who hardly ever talk to a normal human being – that’s why they don’t sound like normal human beings!

My focus will be to inspire Liberal Democrat members to be proud of our party, to work their socks off for the coming electoral contests and the AV referendum, and to inspire a new generation of members and activists to believe that they can make a difference by joining us. My focus will be on campaigning in the country and in the media – making it clear what we stand for, and talking to people in a human and accessible way.

My job as President will be to be an unwavering supporter of Nick in his role, to be a critical friend of the coalition and to get out there and make clear what the Liberal Democrats are for – why we are distinct from the coalition, why you should vote for us, why you should join us, why the Liberal Democrats should not just be a junior partner in government, but a party that can aspire to power in our own right.

If that’s the kind of President you want, I’m all yours.

If you want to help the campaign please email: [email protected]

My Facebook campaign page is here or I’m on Twitter as @Farron4Pres.

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25 Comments

  • A very interesting and strong candidate for president . I am rather waiting for the time when Nic and others will beome ‘critical’ freinds of the coalition. It all seems to be a bit of a luv in at the moment with every one elses opinions left out in the cold. Not quite clear if Tim is saying we should be more critical when required or just follow with things as they are

    If your reading these posts Tim , does you ‘unwavering’ supprt extend to Nick (reported) comments in the Times today that the state should not ‘compensate the poor for their predicament . Or will you allow yourself a bit of ‘wavering’ room at least now and again.

  • @ Andrew
    when you called the Tories ‘toxic’ and ‘ugly’

    The Tories have been both those things in the past and are showing signs of still being so . The unemployed making ‘lifestyle choices’ etc. A bit of robust rhetoric at the right time does no harm at all . It is a working partnership not a sharing of ideals. I assume you dont share their ideals Andrew ??? (please say you dont)

  • Liberal Neil 16th Sep '10 - 12:59pm

    I’ve known Tim for almost as long as he has been active in the party and he is a very strong candidate for President.

    For me the phrase ‘critical friend of the coalition’, along with personal support for Nick and his role, is the right one for the President and a role I think Tim would fulfil well.

  • Calling the Conservative Party “toxic” and “ugly” isn’t half rude enough, in my estimation. Paddy Ashdown once dubbed them “this sleazy gang”, and I think that’s pretty close to the mark. How about: “this tawrdy collection of self-satisfied, public school educated, rich-worshipping, neocon chancers”?

    Tim Farron sounds and looks good. In thinly coded language he is telling us that he regards propping up Cameron’s right-wing Tory government (sorry, the coalition) as a short-term necessary evil, that the party must not remain silent while the propping up goes on, and that we have to be ready for the moment (hopefully soon) when we throw off Cameron’s unnatural embrace.

    I don’t, however, think we can take any pride in Cameron’s proposed constitutional changes. Reducing the number of MPs, and thereby weakening Parliament? Redistricting, without the right of appeal, so as to marginalise the Liberal Democrats and advantage the Conservatives? And a voting system designed to fragemnt the opposition and keep the Tories in power forever? A pretty rotten package, all in all.

    I don’t regard Clegg as the villain of the piece. He was ill-prepared to deal with Machiavellian operators like Cameron, Hague and Osborne, and has been stung damned hard. Whether or not his reputation will ever recover, history will tell.

  • Mike Hartley,

    (1) What did Murdoch throw our way during the General Election campaign other than a torrent of lies and misinformation?

    (2) What did Tony Blair do to curb Murdoch during the period when Murdoch was supporting the Labour Party?

  • “My job as President will be to be an unwavering supporter of Nick…”
    With that, Tim, you just lost my vote. We need a president who is an unwavering supporter of the whole party from bottom to top, not of one particular individual. Unwavering loyalty to a leader is a trait of fascists not of liberals or social democrats.

  • Christine Headley 16th Sep '10 - 3:58pm

    @Al
    My vote was lost with the second word – ‘will’. There is an election, others may stand, he is not certain of election (I hope) – ‘would’ please.

    And of course there is more to the party than Nick. The grassroots need a listening ear and the coalition needs a critical rather than an unswervingly supportive friend.

  • Tony Greaves 16th Sep '10 - 4:00pm

    “the state should not ‘compensate the poor for their predicament’ “. This is not an accurate description of what NIck said. He said a “fair society” is not one in which this “simply” happens. I think it was not too judicious a way of putting it but the Times has distorted and over-hyped it.

    As for the Presidency I think that as a rule the President should not be an MP. But we live in unusual times and I will back and campaign for Tim Farron (who a long time ago I used to sit next to on Lancashire County Council!)

    Tony Greaves

  • Liberal Neil 16th Sep '10 - 4:12pm

    @Christine – in the context of this piece I think we can take the ‘if elected’ bit as read!

    And Tim very clearly says that he would be a ‘critical friend’ of the coalition.

  • Colin Green 16th Sep '10 - 5:26pm

    Christine Headley,

    “My vote was lost with the second word – ‘will’. There is an election, others may stand, he is not certain of election”

    Oh please. Do we have to couch things in endless caveats to appease the pedantic? “Will”, at hustings and in manefestos is taken to mean “Will, if elected”. Whilst style and accuracy are important, the roll of president is important if we are to get the message across that we are different to the Tories. Please try to choose on more substantial matters than this.

  • Christine – Pledging what you plan on doing if elected doesn’t mean you are ignoring the fact that there is an election first

  • Christine, fair point – ‘would’, not ‘will’! That was poor grammar – not arrogance – I promise!

  • I must confess that I’m strongly influenced in these contests by “the company they keep”. So, yes, it is worth producing those endless lists of Candidate xx is supported by :

    427. Cllr Bill Brown, deputy leader, Muddsley on Sea Town Council.

    (Though two members of the Lords are probably the strongest influence on my vote ….)

    Since Tim obviously scans this site, can he clarify the issue of fitting the President’s workload into an MPs hectic schedule?

  • I guess this contest will be exciting and the result close. Four or more good candidates of which two are prominent ! Roll on the hustings – Kramer or Farron OR another ? They are all good Liberals – not like the last London Mayoral Selection – whatever happened to one of the defeated candidates who defected to the Tories ?

  • Always been impressed with Tim Farron – hope he wins – but who else is standing? Couldnt Paddy be brought back into the limelight?

  • In answer to Keith and Crewegwyn… I am now a humble backbencher, in the last Parliament I was in the Shadow Cabinet, covering Defra and attempting to track, respond to and provide a critique on every utterance of Hilary Benn, his junior ministers and the whole Defra administration (not to mention the various quangos e.g. natural england, environment agency etc. and the various EU directives on Defra issues). Thats a massive chunk of time that I now want to devote to preventing the Party getting the pasting that the media predict, and instead emerging inspired, and energised to win the AV referendum, the elections in Scotland and Wales and English councils next year.
    Just as the Leader did before he began running the country, I would often be away from Westminster fighting campaigns, standing alongside candidates and councillors, attempting to inspire voters and give renewed confidence and energy to our campaigns.
    I don’t want to give away careless words on a public website, but we all know what a huge risk (as well as an opportunity) it is for us to be in the coalition. I’ve been a Liberal since I was 16, I’m not prepared to let it get dashed to pieces now… I have the time and more important I’ve got the energy and the passion to be a different kind of President for markedly different times.
    Cheers
    Tim

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