Tim Farron’s New Year Message: Don’t shrug your shoulders. Get involved.

2016 was a year when the unexpected happened.

Britain voted for Brexit. Donald Trump is going to be President of America. Leicester City won the Premier League.

So what you won’t get from me are any predictions for 2017.

We go into the New Year surrounded by uncertainty.

The Government has no plan for Brexit. No plan for life outside the Single Market.

Our NHS and social care system is in crisis.

We have a refugee crisis on our doorstep.

There is widespread insecurity in our economy, in our world and in the lives of too many of our fellow citizens.

If you believe, as I do, that Britain is at its best when it is open, tolerant and united, then 2017 is a year when you must make your voice heard.

So if you feel uncertain or anxious about the way our country and our world is going.

If you worry that the government is embarking on the most extreme, divisive version of Brexit possible, ripping us out of the Single Market with no regard for the impact on the lives and livelihoods of millions of our fellow citizens.

If you are fed up with a Labour Party that would rather fight with itself than hold the Conservatives to account.

Then join the real voice of opposition.

Don’t shrug your shoulders. Don’t look the other way. Get involved.

Every day, the Liberal Democrats are leading the opposition to the government – whether it is over Brexit or the under-funding of our NHS and social care.

Every day, the Liberal Democrats are fighting for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united.

And every day, people who believe what you believe are joining us.

So. join us. And together we can make 2017 a year for optimism.

Happy New Year.

* Tim Farron is Liberal Democrat Spokesperson on Agriculture and MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale.

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This entry was posted in News.


  • You are doing a great job Mr Farron – keep it up and do what you can to build up an even stronger media presence throughout the next year, as you are a great asset to the party. I speak as a new member who joined largely because of your leadership and I hope I speak for many in this regard.

    Only, please…keep the party as a dsistinctive CENTRE-LEFT one: don’t be side tracked by those who insist our future is in being a well-bred referee between Labour and Tory and on the mythical `centre ground`. Honour our Social Democratic as well as our Liberal heritage and also remmeber the rallying cry of Jo Grimmond all those years ago – build the party as a non state-socialist, but Left, opposition party to the Conservtives!

    I wish you a great and productive New Year!

  • Regina McQueen 1st Jan '17 - 4:56pm

    Mr Farron

    Posting under a nom de plume for work- related sensitivities but I just wanted to say as a Labour member and lifetime Labour voter I am about to join the Lib Dems to do what I can to fight the ongoing collective lunacy.

    The Tories are now full throated for brexit, apart from a few notable exceptions, whose bravery cannot be overstated, while Labour are operating under the assumption that the will of the baying mob must not be thwarted.

    So the Lib Dems it is for this household and for many others from erstwhile Tory and Labour households, from what I’m hearing.

  • Edward C. Absolutely “non-state socialist” Now I understand how the Lib Dems can face two ways and maintain a straight face.

  • Dermot Lynch 1st Jan '17 - 5:43pm

    I am a completely disillusioned labour voter. However I will never find it possible to vote libdem unless you give an unequivocal guarantee that you will not enter into a coalition with the tories. Your last coalition with them condemned us to years of austerity which has left the NHS and other public services on the brink of collapse. Utterly shameful!

  • Dermot: I dont think anyone can give categoric guarantees because if you are in politics to bring about the sort of society you want you may need to be in a position of influence. But even with that caveat, you can only live in the present and membership of and support for the ambition of the Liberal Democrats , is well worth the risk. After all if we as a party did consider an agreement with any other party that would have to go to a conference with one person one vote and I guess you and I would vote the same way

  • @ Dermot Lynch, I get a bit of flack for my frequent criticism of Clegg and his cronies behaviour in the coalition, but the ‘austerity’ of the coalition seemed little different to the one proposed by Labour. The chances of another coalition with the Tories is zero, the chances of one with labour not much higher. If public services are to be restored then it will require people to have solutions to the problems as they will be in 2020, not as they were in 2010.

  • Dermot – As others have said or implied, an unequivocal guarantee is political dreamland and political immaturity. I was never the greatest fan of the coalition, but what the Tories are doing now, without us would have been done 5 years ago. Labour are a spineless and hopeless opposition who have left the field open to UKIP. Britain needs a liberal voice. We are providing it.

  • Well said Regina 🙂

  • I can’t stand the Tories and Labour would be a joke if not having an opposition were funny. However I voted Brexit and would again. I consider myself a centre-left liberal but Tim Farron seems to have difficulty accepting the democratic will of many liberal people like myself if things don’t go his way. I am somewhat confused that a party that prides itself on wanting to hand power to the people and their local communities is at the same time obsessed with throwing our lot in with the European Union which is the complete antithesis of that. Ho hum…..

  • And what of the effects of mass immigration.

    I have watched my environment decimated by the numbers of people coming into the UK.

    I feel no community any more, I feel threatened daily, and our schools and hospitals are overwhelmed – the only answer is statist, authoritarian action; how does that square with being ‘liberal’.

    Keep taking the drugs Tim – I’m completely beaten.

  • wg
    On my last visit to England the place didn’t seem devastated.
    On my first visit to Burma, a country that threw out its immigrants, I noticed it really
    was devastated. Crumbling buildings, pot holed roads, and broken sewers (under authoritarian statist rule). Of course it has started to change. It has opened up to foreigners.

  • @ wg – how lucky we are that the UK set such a good example and its people have never migrated to anywhere.

  • NO.
    “Britain” did NOT “vote for Brexit”.
    Stop saying that like it’s a fact.

  • Simon

    Having heard ‘we must respect the will of the people ,no matter how small the majority’ from a former Lib Dem leader on the eve of the referendum vote, to now trying to subvert the will of the people, you really couldn’t make it up.

  • In a few months, when Brexit negotiations begin, we will see what the current EU is really like. Is it open, tolerant and united as we are as Lib Dems? Doubtful. The EU might well prove to be United Against opposition, intolerant of a free-thinking alternative, and only open to immigration on its own terms. We need to be working, right now, on what sort of EU we want to be a member of. What changes we are looking for. Because the EU, on current form, is not going to look too pretty – come the negotiations.

  • Bernard Aris 2nd Jan '17 - 3:13pm

    Well put Mr. Farron;
    and exactly the central message our Dutch D66 party leader Alexander Pechtold (the fiercest and long-enduring parliamentary foe of Geert Wilders) is putting to the Dutch electorate.

    And it is succesful.
    The day after Trump got elected, D66 launched a week-long blitz of mini-advertisements on the front pages of all national Dutch newspapers, saying: if you want to support an optimistic, open-minded internationalist and environmentalist politics, stop messing about or delaying your choice, and become a D66 member.
    The result: jut about 1.000 new members inside two months; D66 is one of a handful of Dutch political parties who closed off 2016 on a (very) positive note: we keep increasing our membership in the past few years.

    And former D66 party leader Jan Terlouw (leader: 1974-1982, and famous for semi-political youth novels) caused a viral storm when he delivered without autocue or any other device a heartfelt plee for a return of Mutual trust and respect in Dutch society and politics. His 8 minutes plee (at 85 years of age) looking straight in the camera keeps resonating in the media. He’s hit a big well of people who abhor the bullying culture on social media, the unabashed parading of bigoted racism (Farage’s Brexit poster with Syrian refugees), and people like Farage and Boris Johnson who underestimate any fundamental change between EU member states (to the detriment of the British economy and consumer; good patriots and “Honourable men” all, Mark Anthony would say).

    A good and combative 2017 to all my fellow LibDem party members and activists; now that TUC support for Corbyn is faltering, we’ve got a chance of replacing them as the Opposition just as they did in the 1920’s with the Liberlals.. D66 is already bigger in the polls than Dutch Labour…

  • When the going gets tough ……. the tough get going ….. liberals and social democrats all over the world WILL UP OUR GAME 🙂

  • Tim Farrons comment “don’t shrug your shoulders” Sarah Olney didn’t and look where she is now 🙂 🙂

  • Tim

    We had a vote in the UK – 1 300 000 more people voted to leave the EU than to remain – think what that many people would look like – 10 times more than the entire crowd at Glastonbury! Rather than trying to make a name for yourself as ‘the lib dem that tried to stop the UK leaving the EU’, why don’t you back the government to help shape the UK after we leave.

    Many politicians seem to think that people who voted to leave are either racist or just dumb – most are not – they’re just not happy handing over more and more power to a European Superstate, they don’t want people in the UK to be long term unemployed because unskilled EU migrants will do the job cheaper, resulting in higher house prices and a shortage of affordable places to rent. We don’t want to pay into the EU for them to move jobs the EU (Cadbury, Texas Instruments, Peugeot Roots, Transit Production etc). Greece has made no noticeable austerity measures meaning that at some point, its economy will implode, dragging many other EU economies with it – we should be as distant from this as practically possible.

    The ‘500 million’ market is just as much pie in the sky as the ‘£350m a week’ – where are these people – Serbia, Bulgaria, Estonia, Greece…. What are these people buying from they UK – we should be dealing with countries like Canada through trade deals but, your beloved EU has blocked that because a small area of Belgium doesn’t like the deal!!

    While there are many ‘Nicey Nice’ reasons to stay in the EU, the reality is that if people like yourself who are in a position to influence things stood behind the democratic vote and supported a controlled exit from the EU, the UK economy would thrive

  • Daniel Walker 3rd Jan '17 - 3:14pm

    @Peter Rees “we should be dealing with countries like Canada through trade deals but, your beloved EU has blocked that because a small area of Belgium doesn’t like the deal!!”

    No, they haven’t..

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