Tim Farron’s seven campaign priorities

Just before heading off on holiday, Tim Farron has announced his seven campaign priorities. As they cross departmental boundaries, he’s put together a campaign team to lead on each issue. It’s a sign of how much importance he attaches to housing that he has taken the lead role on that issue himself.

The team will be responsible for taking our campaign messages and making sure that they get out on the ground. The seven priorities and the lead people responsible are as follows:


Chaired by Greg Mulholland MP, the Parliamentary Campaigns Team will consist of:

    • Rural Communities and Vice Chair – Mark Williams MP
    • EU referendum – Catherine Bearder MEP and Lord Jim Wallace (Deputy)
    • Mental Health – Norman Lamb MP
    • Immigration – Shas Sheehan
    • Civil Liberties – Alistair Carmichael MP
    • Green Economy – Baroness Susan Kramer
    • Housing – Tim Farron MP

Tim said:

These are the core issues I want the Liberal Democrats to stand out on and take a lead on.

Sensible, liberal and evidence-based views are already being woefully ignored by the Tory government – so it’s up to Liberal Democrats to make this case.

Whether it’s helping young people in rural areas find work, or ensuring those with mental health difficulties have effective support, our liberal voice is needed now more than ever.

Whether it’s investing in green energy, building the homes we need; understanding the plight of refugees, or ensuring the state can’t snoop on our emails, my party will offer that liberal alternative.

And with David Cameron’s hokey-cokey diplomacy on Europe, the Liberal Democrats will  stand up for our country and make the passionate case for Britain to lead, not leave the EU.

This team will work alongside Lib Dems in all chambers, Parliaments and offices to drive forward strong and signature campaigns. I can’t wait to get started.

There is a three week window of opportunity before the new Labour leader is elected for Tim after his return from holiday to get himself known and make the weather on some key issues in the way he has done this week with his visit to Calais. It’s a good chance for him to make his mark and set the agenda in the same way Willie Rennie was able to do when he took over as Scottish leader in 2011 which won him significant respect from journalists.

With a diverse team of spokespeople and a diverse campaigning team, we are now starting to see how the #libdemfightback will continue.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Kevin White 7th Aug '15 - 6:15pm

    I’m disappointed that scrapping the £100billion Trident programme and defence issues don’t feature.

  • EU referendum: it makes sense to have Catherine Bearder, but this is an opportunity to give exposure to prospective MEPs. Are you sure you have the right Lord Wallace? Isn’t William the expert?

  • Peter Hayes 7th Aug '15 - 6:45pm

    Ian, electoral reform is a waste of time for the GE. Other parties will not support it for their own reasons and the last referendum vote lost on a combination of kick Nick and people who said it does not go far enough. Let’s start by trying for PR on regional mayors if the Tories go for areas like Greater Manchester.

  • Richard Underhill 7th Aug '15 - 6:55pm

    Kevin White 7th Aug ’15 – 6:15pm “.. scrapping the £100billion Trident programme ..”
    A change of policy should be decided by conference in a democratic party.

  • It looks like a soft campaign that gives priority to areas where the LibDems are seen as the good guys. Civil Liberties, EU (which should be sorted at the referendum), Green Economy, Mental Health etc are not the big issues in a GE. Most parties will be concentrating on the Economy, Business, Welfare, Pensioners, Law and Order, Defence, Health, Education, Tuition Fees etc as well as Immigration. Not sure it will work or not, but it does look very lightweight. Also there doesn’t appear to be any “big idea” that will capture the mood of the people. Perhaps the party is being realistic because they are now so much smaller than just a few years ago, but there’s nothing there that would attract me back to the party. It’s a shame because I like Tim Faron and hoped for something more.

  • malc
    You may have a point. Depending on how Susan Kramer, Norman Lamb and Shas Sheehan interpret their job, the 4 big issues of this parliament economy, health, immigration and Europe will be addressed and new ideas on specifics developed or we’ll leave the big arguments to others.
    I feel just as uneasy as you about the second possibility.

  • Genuinely sorry to say this – but we could have done with a good communicator on the Green Economy. A pity we don’t have somebody of the calibre of Caroline Lucas. who looks likely to outgun us.

  • malc,

    Agree I’m sure that these issues will excite the Lib Dem core vote, but are of little interest to your average voter.

    Maybe it’s a core vote strategy to avoid losing further support ?

  • “There is a three week window of opportunity before the new Labour leader is elected for Tim after his return from holiday to get himself known and make the weather on some key issues in the way he has done this week with his visit to Calais”.

    Just occasionally something seismic happens in politics – we saw it in Scotland over the last few years. Having watched the video coverage of the Corbyn campaign I can sense something quite profound is happening there. Don’t underestimate JC. Tim’s going to have some competition for the radical idealistic vote.

  • SACHA GRIFFITHS 7th Aug '15 - 8:29pm

    I sense the strong disappointment and it is not surprising. The Lib Dems are signing their own death warrants lapsing into their comfort blanket. The Lib Dems need to stop slowly riding into the political valley of death and start being bold, distinctive and different on tangible issues to the GE. Looking at the party logo, the leadership need to do their Burton/Eastwood bit and go only where eagles dare. Should be looking at deficit reduction and deep tax cuts across the board paid for, by overhauling tax reliefs and draconian Stalin not Mr Bean Tax avoidance measures.. Ear marked taxation to pay for education and NHS . A Tobin tax to pay for an investment fund to provide an income for public services as well as debt reduction currently and in the future.

  • @malc

    Re: the big idea – we are just weeks into Tim’s leadership and months into this parliament, seems fair not to have a big idea in place just yet (especially after a bruising GE and than a leadership election).

    I agree that we will need a big idea but I’m not worried there isn’t one yet, I;d be more worried if we had made up our minds before we had even time to think, reflect and debate at conference.

  • Stephen Donnelly 7th Aug '15 - 8:46pm

    I’m not sure how mental health issue cane divorced from the challenges facing the NHS. It seems we are continuing to avoid the main issue.

  • SACHA GRIFFITHS 7th Aug '15 - 8:54pm

    A radical overhaul of our constitution and administrative state. An English parliament with an English First minister and reforming of Whitehall departments more devolved outside London. To galvanise the anti politics vote, compulsory voting with a box at the bottom saying none of the above. If that gets the most votes in that constituency. Then just randomly select somebody from the electoral register. Reform of public enquiries with citizens’ juries . Separate elections for parliamentary legislature (based on PR) and executive government based on French X Factor style presidential elections with elimination voting. In 2010, Nick Clegg would have won the election on this basis

  • Graham Evans 7th Aug '15 - 9:29pm

    @ Sacha Griffith’s The French Presidential voting system in which all but the top two candidates are eliminated before a second round of voting is much
    better than our system of mayoral elections where voters have to indicate a first and second choice. This is because both your votes are potentially wasted if neither of your preferred candidates makes first or second place. Many voters simply do not understand this. By having a second round of voting every voters is faced with a clear choice.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 7th Aug '15 - 9:54pm

    @David Raw: Ok, I’m going to call it. I may end up with egg yolk dripping down my neck in a few weeks’ time, but Jeremy Corbyn is not going to win. I expect Andy Burnham will. And then Labour will be split and have nothing worth saying that anybody wants to listen to. Burnham’s campaign team is still pretty confident that they can pull it off.

    @Martin: It says Jim on the press release which I lazily copied and pasted. It would not be the first time those two had been mixed up, though…

  • Not only will this list of priorities go down well with Guardian readers in North London, but it also includes something for rural areas. A win-win!

  • I’m very pleased that Tim is taking a lead on housing. I was appalled at its absence from the front of the manifesto.

  • SACHA GRIFFITHS 7th Aug '15 - 10:43pm

    @Graham Evans mostly my point and something that the GE can identify with. Allowing the Lib Dems to fight on with popular intent as the forward thinking party . JC may win the Labour contest. But I suspect he wont. The interesting thing about the growth of Lib Dem support under Ashdown and Kennedy was that although the party was seen as occupying the centre ground overall, it grew most when it adopted distinctive positions often to the left of Labour. Almost on a par with JC. Listening to Clegg’s Sunday Politics interview with his advisors it is quite clear that Farron needs to adopt a more muscular approach, especially to media operations which have been largely invisible or just plain awful. Barely a mention of raising tax allowances which was the key fiscal boost to household driven economic growth.

  • Eddie Sammon 7th Aug '15 - 11:10pm

    This is alright, but I think Tim should consider the “big gob” strategy, which is basically what I do and many Lib Dems anyway. As it says on the tin: it basically involves having a big gob and sounding off on whatever the issue of the day is. People always want to know opinions on the days biggest stories…

  • A list like this is always going to disappoint some people. But remember these are PRIORITY campaigns. It doesn’t mean we have ‘abandoned’ constitutional issues, or any of the other issues not on the list. With 8MPs (and the consequent reduction in staff, don’t forget) we have no choice but to make some very hard decisions, and we need to pick areas where we can make real headway. I think the list is about right, and while understanding some peoples disappointment at the omissions, I’d say lets all get behind it and try to make it work. If in a year’s time we want to change it, then maybe we can do that. But we’ve just elected our leader, and lets face it none of us would envy his task: lets give him our backing rather than dismissing his plans right out of the gate.

  • Clare Brown 8th Aug '15 - 6:36am

    I am a new member, so probably naïve and missing something….but the list makes sense to me right now.
    Seems to be a good mixture: 2 things that will be in the news a lot where we can offer a distinctive/strong voice (immigration, EU), 2 things that *should* be in the news a lot and need us to fight for them (Green economy, housing), 2 areas where we already have a strong voice and which mark us out as liberals (mental health, civil liberties) and then rural communities, which is woefully ignored by most of the political/media bubble.
    As others have said, we are right at the beginning of a 5 year parliament and we are a small party. I think Tim is right to develop a disinctive Lib Dem voice on a few areas at this point. It is not credible to think we should be sounding off about Lib Dem plans for the economy etc because as far as most of the electorate are concerned, we will never be near real power again. It is more credible to develop ideas and campaigns on some ‘smaller’ but very important issues.
    Of course none of this means that Tim and his team won’t have opinions or ideas about other topics! And presumably as the months and years go by the priorities and team can develop as appropriate.

  • John Roffey 8th Aug '15 - 7:38am

    Ian MacFadyen 7th Aug ’15 – 6:05pm
    “Is this the first ever that constitutional reform has not been a priority for Liberal Democrats/Liberals/Social Democrats? Have we abandoned an elected senate and federalism? It looks that way.”

    Yes – this does seem a serious omission. I would like to see a, regional based, elected HofL on the agenda at least – and to give this body the right to call a referendum on any bill they were not satisfied with at the third reading. This would enhance the Party’s reputation, since it would have much to lose. It would show {Corbyn style] that the Party’s representatives were in politics to benefit the nation and its people – not for their own self interest.

    Plan to ennoble wealthy Lib Dem donor prompts more claims of cronyism in the honours system


  • John Roffey 8th Aug '15 - 7:59am

    I came across this yesterday on attachment or greed [one of the ‘Three Fires’ in Buddhism – along with anger and ignorance]

    “Or as an example, my favourite story: the way people used to catch monkeys in South India:

    One takes a coconut and makes a hole in it, just large enough that a monkey can squeeze its hand in. Next, tie the coconut down, and put a sweet inside. What happens next is pure attachment. The monkey smells the sweet, puts his hand into the coconut, grabs the sweet and … the hole is too small to let a fist out of the coconut. The last thing a monkey would consider is to let go of the sweet, so it is literally tied down by its own attachment. Often they only let go when they fall asleep or become unconscious because of exhaustion.”


  • Clare Brown 8th Aug '15 - 8:14am

    John Roffey
    I like that story, but it would help if you explained what you think our ‘sweet’ is at present!

  • John Tilley 8th Aug '15 - 8:21am

    I agree with Keith Watts . Putting housing in the list is excellent. If Tim Farron campaigned on nothing else I would be happy if he continued with the priority of housing as it lies at the root of so much else that’s going wrong with life in the UK.

    I also agree with Kevin White on the need to scrap the wasteful and useless Trident — but maybe that is included under campaigning for a Green Economy?
    Look at the pictures of Hiroshma and Nagasaki from 70 years ago this week — not much green in those pictures, not much economy.

  • Dean Crofts 8th Aug '15 - 8:31am

    It is a shame Business and the economy are not in there (this could have included welfare issues too) – especially small business and our policies on the economy. It is the economy that wins elections, we have shown that as a party we are economically competent, we need to continue this and show how we are different to the conservatives in running an economy for the benefit of all.

  • I am with Malc and Kevin over this, but time will tell. As an aside, it is not clear to me why Greg Mulholland’s responsibilities in chairing this campaign team are going to be so onerous that he does not seem to have been appointed as a spokesperson for any specific area of policy – an omission all the more surprising when we only have 8 Members of Parliament.

  • John Roffey 8th Aug '15 - 8:36am

    Clare Brown 8th Aug ’15 – 8:14am

    I like that story, but it would help if you explained what you think our ‘sweet’ is at present!

    I think that the ‘sweet’ for most of the political class is the power and material rewards that electoral success brings – politics has become a career for too many – not the opportunities that it brings to improve the lives of the people.

    Let’s be honest – if the Lords were elected on merit [each standing as an independent] you could probably count on one hand the number that would find themselves back in an elected upper house.

    As we know, politicians are considered less honest than estate agents – and it is the reason that the group, generally, are against an elected body – it would be a ‘promotion’ blocked to the vast majority!

  • The focus on rural communities is interesting – how many Norfolk Norths and Westmorland and Lonsdales are there in the country? We should find out.

    The list of seven priorities itself is good enough. There are some things I care about that aren’t there, but its pretty clear that the sort of constitutional stuff I’d like to talk about isn’t interesting in the mid-term while alternative constitutional arguments about the European Union still need to play out.

  • @David Raw which is why it’s pointless trying the “left of Labour” strategy.

    Regarding this list, unfortunately “malc” hit the nail on the head with his “lightweight” comment. If we omit the core issues that are important to the majority, then we won’t get their votes.

  • John Roffey 8th Aug '15 - 11:07am

    David Raw 7th Aug ’15 – 7:29pm
    “Genuinely sorry to say this – but we could have done with a good communicator on the Green Economy. A pity we don’t have somebody of the calibre of Caroline Lucas. who looks likely to outgun us.”

    It might be worth considering asking CL to be the Party’s spokesperson in the HofC on the Green Economy.

    As you know, it is customary for MPs to have ‘friendly interruptions’ from members of their own party when the speech maker is starting to flag and to give them moral support. Since CL is the lone Green Party member – she does not have this back up. If the Party’s MPs offered to do this for her – it would link the Green Economy measures to the Party and demonstrate its support.

    Such an arrangement would, of course, extend no further than the HofC.

  • Paul Kennedy 8th Aug '15 - 11:25am

    I would have liked to see a bigger role for Kate Parminter in the Green Economy priority (especially given her spokesperson roles) – will this address productivity?

  • @ John Roffey
    So agree with your highlighting of the honours system. Dishing out knighthoods and peerages to donors does nothing for the party’s claim to be a radical reforming force…… but then… for the last five years it hasn’t been. There might (just) be a case for a working peer as a spokesman as long as the present House exists…… though frankly we seem to be a tad overmanned in the Lords………….. but a knighthood ???????

    What vanity in the 21st century.It’s a tendency that has crept into the Lib Dem M.P.’s ranks over the last twenty plus years. No doubt some psephologist can correlate stats on this, but I suspect each knighthood knocked a few votes off the Lib Dem vote amongst ‘ordinary’ folk.

    A bold announcement by Tim forgoing such tawdry baubles might not be popular with Sir…………….. (you fill the name in) but it would be a powerful statement of no nonsense from a radical party.

    Of course there is nothing new in this – LL.G. used to fill his boots on it… and before that the diaries of Jack Pease the Liberal Chief whip between 1908-1912 make interesting reading….. but we’re in 2015.

    The whole Honours system of vanity and patronage needs reform.

  • Rabi Martins 8th Aug '15 - 1:32pm

    This is a good mix of policy topics but am I the only one who has noticed the absence of any reference to Localism ?
    Have we given up on devolving power to the regions and local councils ?

  • Richard Underhill 8th Aug '15 - 5:14pm

    “Sacha Griffith’s The French Presidential voting system in which all but the top two candidates are eliminated before a second round of voting is much better than our system of mayoral elections where voters have to indicate a first and second choice. This is because both your votes are potentially wasted if neither of your preferred candidates makes first or second place. Many voters simply do not understand this. By having a second round of voting every voters is faced with a clear choice.”

    No, the turnout falls in the second round because voters see no need to go to the poll again. After Mitterand was elected as President he honoured his manifesto committment by calling a parliamentary election immediatley, so there were four rounds of voting. Therefore collecting second, third, etc preferential votes at one opportunity is better.

    The Supplementary Vote was chosen by Labour, who were worried by an Independent Mayoral candidate called Ken Livingstone. He had been Labour leader in the Greater London Council, as abolished by Mrs. Thatcher after the 1983 general election. The official Labour candidate, Frank Dobson MP, was not elected.

  • Richard Underhill 8th Aug '15 - 5:23pm

    There is no constitution in the UK, although some Tories think there is,
    If anyone has seen one please provide a copy.
    What a senior civil servant says is probably a collection of historical precedents, some of them irrelevant or from 1974.
    There was a possibility of some progress in 2010 before the general election, but not much political support .
    Some progress was made in 2010 after the election.
    The “Variable Geometry” which is happening to local government in England now is an unprincipled mess.

  • Alistair Carmichael and civil liberties? Seriously?

  • John Roffey 9th Aug '15 - 5:13am

    On reflection, I am troubled that, although TF’s campaigning priorities are issues that are identified with the Party and approaches the difficulty of lack of resources wisely – making the best use of what resources are available – there are no issues that uniquely sets the Party apart from its rivals or, more importantly, likely to quicken the voter’s hearts.

    The rise of Jeremy Corbyn, although he may not win, has in his words ‘captured a public mood against austerity also seen in Spain, Greece and the US’. His misfortune, should he win, is that he will be obliged to use the Trade Union movement to help make his chosen changes.

    The Union movement has been thoroughly neutered by Tory legislation and is not seen by a significant proportion of the electorate as the vehicle to effect change – in fact the idea of effecting change through the withdrawal of labour, however subtly applied, is strongly rejected by a great many. That said, whoever does win the party’s leadership will be foolish not to take into account the public mood identified by Corbyn’s rise.

    The Lib/Dems do have a significant advantage over Labour insofar as the Party is not reliant on the support of the Unions – and are in a position to capitalize on this ‘public mood’ in a more progressive manner – and one more acceptable to the majority.

    Since this mood exists it will be harnessed to a lesser or greater extent by Labour and the SNP – the two largest opposition parties [also the Greens and UKIP to some extent]. The Party is likely to find itself impossibly side-lined if it does not find its own unique approach to harnessing this energy fermenting in the public’s mood.

  • So we’ve pretty much given up on the core issues of the overall state of the economy, industry, living standards and inequality etc.

    Sad to say but I’m deeply unimpressed by the new Lib Dem leader. He’s leading us off into a wasteland of irrelevance.

  • Eddie Sammon 9th Aug '15 - 11:11am

    RC will speak for a lot of members and supporters, but Tim won the election, so we have to be constructive. These campaigns don’t mean the party is abandoning other issues and Norman Lamb wasn’t promising much difference anyway, with similarly niche campaigns such as assisted dying and cannabis legalisation. Lamb didn’t even tweet about the British murders in Tunisia and just banged on about social issues for nearly the whole campaign, so I’m not that sorry he lost. No wonder the turnout was quite low.

    Tim has got a winnine record locally, but others think a 20% strategy under first past the post is a grand idea…

  • Eddie Sammon 9th Aug '15 - 11:13am

    winning record sorry.

  • I am particularly disappointed that environmental / green issues have been identified with “the green economy”, and even more disappointed that Susan Kramer has been given this brief. Her approach to economics has’ up to now, been very much neoliberal-lite, whereas I think people need to understand (yes, perhaps in a politically acceptable and moderate-paced way) that there will be marked changes in our lifestyle, our economics and politics arising from combating climate change, biodiversity issues / extinction, the marine crisis, conflict / mass population movement etc.

    If the only way we as a party look at this issue is through the lens of new economic opportunities, I think we are not taking this whole nexus of issues seriously enough, which will probably dominate the entire 21st Century – if humanity survives till the year 2100.

  • Richard Underhill 9th Aug '15 - 12:27pm

    Tim13 9th Aug ’15 – 11:14am https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

  • John Roffey 9th Aug '15 - 1:45pm

    RC 9th Aug ’15 – 10:45am
    “So we’ve pretty much given up on the core issues of the overall state of the economy, industry, living standards and inequality etc.

    Sad to say but I’m deeply unimpressed by the new Lib Dem leader. He’s leading us off into a wasteland of irrelevance.”

    This comment strikes me as extremely unfair. TF had been leader for just a few weeks before he went on holiday. He has published his initial thoughts on his campaign priorities and the teams to work on these. As can be seen by my previous comment – I am concerned that the Party will not be able to make a sufficient impact without some big, bold and fitting policies that greatly appeal to the voters. However, this will not be known for some time after the political season restarts in September.

    It has to be acknowledged that TF has inherited a much reduced Party at every level – so his task will be very difficult to create any impact – certainly in the MSM. His test, as is the case for any manager, is whether he can adapt his approach quickly – if it becomes clear that the current plan is not reaping the desired rewards.


    Disappointed to see no obvious mention of this in the priorities. As a former Cabinet member for Social Care in Scottish Borders I can tell you we are sitting on the edge of a volcano throughout the UK. Read, for example, the main lead in today’s Observer – first para below,

    “The chief inspector of adult social care has issued a damning judgment on standards in England, warning that a broken system is turning good people into bad carers. Huge cuts in funding in recent years, and a lack of political leadership in dealing with the realities of an ageing population, have left the social care sector under “stress and strain”, with demoralised carers working long hours in difficult conditions for poor pay, Andrea Sutcliffe told the Observer. Her warning comes as figures reveal that regulators are receiving more than 150 allegations of abuse of the frail and elderly every day”.

    Osborne has ditched the cap on care costs promised in the election, and local authorities (hit by reduced central funding) are being forced into a downward spiral of cut price contracts with (sometimes dubious) privatised providers – all of which conflicts with unfunded increases in the minimum wage. Our most vulnerable old people are on the edge of a precipice, victims of cut price care, and victims of the outcome of reducing the size of the state.


  • Eddie Sammon, you can’t reach out beyond your base to build an election winning coalition of support if you haven’t got a base. One of the most disastrous consequences of the coalition was that it shattered this party’s emerging core vote just as it was beginning to solidify and look like a credible base to build up that 35%+ election-winning bloc from. Now we have to start again. Picking up from where we left off in 2010 won’t work because we’re not in 2010.

    RC, how would you talk about the economy, industry, living standards, inequality? Would you pretend to be a government in waiting and appoint spokespeople on every aspect of the minutiae of government activity? Or would you pick some key themes within those broad areas to run visible insurgent campaigns on? Or some third way? Housing – there you go, inequality, living standards and the economy right there. Green economy – issues with the wider economy and with industry, plus a plan of action rather than just mithering about how bad it all is. And so on. Farron’s idea of how to manage the Liberal Democrats is a very different one to the way the party’s been run these past few decades, but given that he inherits a party much reduced and deposited into the wasteland of irrelevance by the verdict of the people, it is better than just going for business as usual.

  • Eddie Sammon 9th Aug '15 - 2:35pm

    T-J, thanks, but I just don’t buy it. I don’t agree with it or think it will work.

  • John Roffey 9th Aug '15 - 3:03pm

    David Raw 9th Aug ’15 – 2:11pm


    Well said – although I expect it will take a while for those scales to fall off entirely – not too long though – I hope.


    To add to my earlier posting about adult social care and the need for it to be added to Tim’s priorities, the following figures frankly make me ashamed of the party I joined as a teenager in 1959.

    In England alone, Adult social care budgets have been cut by £4.6bn since 2010 – a 31% overall reduction – according to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. The association estimated in June that councils were facing a £1.1bn shortfall this year. This at a time when the older population is increasing.

    This ought to have been after 2010, unacceptable. In 1959 the party manifesto was titled “People count”. It ought to be unacceptable in Tim’s fresh start.

  • David Allen 9th Aug '15 - 4:25pm

    I like Eddie Sammon’s “big gob” theory. (It was the one thing that, all those years ago, David Owen did brilliantly.) If you can punch above your weight, in politics you grow.

    The way not to succeed is to shout about an issue when nobody wants to listen. That’s why the absence of Fair Votes in Tim’s priorities is absolutely right. Yelling about Fair Votes would only achieve “spike that article” or “old, boring, stale, tired”.

    The way to succeed is (1) go for what’s in the headlines, (2) say something original that the reporters will accept makes a story. Trip to Calais – dead right, Tim!

  • John Roffey 9th Aug '15 - 5:33pm

    David Allen 9th Aug ’15 – 4:25pm

    “The way to succeed is (1) go for what’s in the headlines, (2) say something original that the reporters will accept makes a story.”

    What like DR above might have posted this from the Guardian:

    Social care chief savages failing system for elderly
    Chief inspector blames poor leadership and cuts as fresh figures show 150 abuse claims each day

    “According to local authorities £4.6bn has been cut from social care budgets in the last five years. Leaders in the sector recently warned that George Osborne’s decision to raise the minimum wage to £7.20 an hour, and £9 by 2020, will only add to the crisis by increasing the cost of delivering care.”


    … and asking if whether Osborne was regularly bullied as a child and if he is now taking it out on the weakest in society – in some perverted act of revenge?

  • David Allen 9th Aug '15 - 6:00pm

    John Roffey,

    I agree with your choice of topic but not the way you propose responding to it.

    The article basically says “Social care chief lobbies for more money”, then tells us how much the taxpayer has been saved over the last five years, then goes on to quote different leaders who are protesting against the raising of the minimum wage. These points aren’t the best ones to win popular support.

    The article does also point out – much more damningly – that abuse claims have doubled over the last five years. It also makes clear that the Chief Inspector’s concern is for the quality of care, not the rise in the minimum wage. What needs to be said, therefore, is that Tory cuts are having a proven catastrophic effect on care standards. The Guardian quotes Burnham and Cooper making reasonable points along these lines. Why no Lib Dem, I wonder?

  • Peter Watson 9th Aug '15 - 7:00pm

    @John Roffey “According to local authorities £4.6bn has been cut from social care budgets in the last five years. ”
    @David Allen “The article does also point out – much more damningly – that abuse claims have doubled over the last five years.”
    Unfortunately references to “the last five years” are precisely what makes highlighting these problems difficult for Lib Dems.

  • @ David Allen… David glad you agree it’s an important issue and one the Partyought to pick up and run with. But….. on your points : 1. “how much the taxpayer has been saved over the last five years” and 2. “different leaders who are protesting against the raising of the minimum wage”.

    The Exchequer (not the taxpayer) saved a paper amount in Local Government Finance (Pickles’ in the past) – but there is a real cost to ‘taxpayers’ via the NHS because of increased emergency admissions and delayed discharge from hospital.

    b) There is no protest against raising the minimum wage – it should be raised. The protest is about Osborne imposing change without the means to deliver it. It’s like the Russian Army in 1916 – ordered to attack but without rifles.

    I hope this issue will be picked up at Conference in an Emergency motion. It’s about basic morality and how we treat old and vulnerable people…… and the many decent carers doing their best in a rushed and unappreciated way. If local authorities have to pick up the minimum wage, Osborne can’t at the same time slash local government finance.

    Embarrassingly it illustrates the blinkered Coalition austerity policy over the last five years.. It’s a fine mess and we’re ‘all in it together’.

  • Eddie Sammon 9th Aug '15 - 7:11pm

    Thanks David. Of course, people shouldn’t be noisy on issues that they don’t understand, but once you have the fundamentals then away you go…

    I also think if he is to go down the centre left route then he needs to win back the Guardian, which basically switched off as soon as he started talking talking about his religious beliefs.

  • Jonathan Brown 9th Aug '15 - 8:24pm

    I think Clare Brown (no relation) makes the point very well: this is a good selection of topics on which we have something distinctive to say. In some cases, we’ll be the only ones with anything to say.

    This doesn’t mean (or had better not mean) that we won’t talk about the economy or welfare. It does mean that we’ll use the limited air time we’ll get to focus on aspects of those large subjects where we can say something that matters on issues that matter. Housing and an environmentally sustainable economy are two incredibly important aspects of the wider debate on the economy that we can lead on, for example.

  • David Allen 9th Aug '15 - 8:33pm

    David Raw,

    I agree with all your comments. The point I was trying to make was that an argument has to be presented well.

    Talking about £4.6M cuts, as the Guardian and (quoting from it) John Roffey did, isn’t necessarily going to make everybody say “Oh how dreadful.” Some will say “Nice to see Osborne cutting out waste”.

    Telling people that the cuts have led to a huge increase in claims of abuse, and that the Chief Inspector is desperately worried about the quality of care, will more persuasively convey the message that the cuts have gone too far.

  • Simon Hebditch 10th Aug '15 - 10:35am

    I agree that the approach being taken, campaign teams to get messages out, is the right one but also disappointed that there seems no room for a fundamental rethink about the economy as a whole – unless Susan Kramer interprets the green economy as covering economic recovery, financial affairs as well. Also, it is still a mistake not to include fundamental constitutional change. No-one seems to be taking the idea of a constitutional convention seriously – which could lead to a restructuring of the UK as a federal entity, something we would welcome.

  • David Allen 9th Aug ’15 – 6:00pm

    “I agree with your choice of topic but not the way you propose responding to it.”

    David – what troubles me is that the L/Ds like most other parties [but excluding Jeremy Corbyn] have been caught up in the mean spiritedness of Osborne’s austerity measures – which would not be necessary if Osborne did his job properly and found ways of recovering the tax not paid by global corporations [and large businesses generally] that is avoided by, amongst other things, the many tax loopholes that he has left for these generous donors to the Tories.

    Osborne has all parties on the back-foot through his deficit reduction priority – I do believe it is time that he should instead be on the back-foot defending his significant failure in this most important aspect of his brief. Hence my questioning of the root of his mean spiritedness.

  • Simon Arnold 11th Aug '15 - 11:35pm

    I think Tim Farron, is, the way forward. He inspired me to join. The other parties, Green, SNP and UKIP, seem to be fighting a battle to appear, the most extreme, childish and authoritarian, as are, the Conservatives.

    What can Liberal Democrats do, to bring us back to a more sensible, less authoritarian and less extreme ideology. That serves people?

    Should we be as Green, as, the authoritarian greens? or,should we be looking towards, a more fairer way of promoting sensible, non-authoritarian Green values, that doesn’t force people into poverty, via Green Taxation?

    Should we be inviting untapped immigration, even though, movement in both directions, in and out, the UK, isn’t a negative?

    If we came at austerity, by cutting waste, via, the state, by making it more accountable and smaller, that would surely cut poverty?

    Mental Health, is it over egged? do we need to see some things as neurological, while others as mental health. Autism, Learning Disability, is it really mental health? I have noticed, that those, that ‘fall’ into the mental health label, also lose a lot of personal liberty. Surely, this needs to be looked at.? This also is part of civil liberties.

    Rural areas need protection from Green, vandalisation.

    Housing, is an issue, that won’t be solved by building house, for sale, that wll increase personal debt, and lead to poverty.

    EU needs serious changes. The Euro, is stable, in some areas over a long period. The Euro needs to be under control of a central bank, that can control Inflation, Interest and Borrowing. There also needs to be a central Tax and VAT across, the whole EU including the UK, within a federal framework. After, that is sorted out, then we will have an EU state, on a federal foundation.

    In Scotland, we need to tackle nationalism, and, some areas of SNP. Greens, claim they will do very well, next May. Labour are becoming, more dangerous, the smaller they become. Conservatives, are riding on the crest of a wave, at the moment. Lets promote a federal UK, within a Federal EU. Peace, acceptance and tolerance of all.

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