Tim Farron’s tribute to the Queen: New Elizabethans, casework and a maypole

Tributes to the Queen for becoming the longest serving monarch were made today in the House of Commons and provided the first big national occasion when Tim Farron spoke as Leader of the Liberal Democrats. When you are as far down the pecking order as we find ourselves these days, you just can’t say the usual stuff. Tim’s tribute was slightly unconventional, quite funny and very fitting. It also makes us at LDV think he’s overdue an encounter with a maypole. Here it is in full:

It is a great honour to be able to pay tribute to Her Majesty on this very important day. I have only managed to meet Her Majesty on two occasions; obviously in the years to come I expect an audience more regularly. On the first occasion I met her, she gave me advice on how to cope with casework. On the second occasion, on her visit to Kendal in Westmoreland, there was very nearly an incident when a very well-meaning local councillor, Councillor Walker, decided to—I can only say—lunge across a crowd of 30 or 40 people carrying a bar of Kendal mint cake to offer to Her Majesty, which she accepted with great grace, looking forward, I am sure, to enjoying it. I have to say that the security services were less excited—or rather very excited—by that lunge. I also thank Her Majesty for the occasion of her silver jubilee in 1977, when she gave me my first, and so far only, experience of being able to dance around a maypole.

We are, as a civilisation, very keen to categorise ourselves by our generations. Are we baby boomers; are we Thatcher’s children; are we generation X? The fact is that all of us here are New Elizabethans. We have all have lived through that age—those 63 years and 216 days—when Queen Elizabeth II has reigned over us all. The values that she has embodied, which stand for all of us here, are about decency, about service, about civilisation, about stability, and about family. They are things that underpin our civilisation. It is all the more important that we recognise that Her Majesty occupies the most senior position in our society—indeed, the most privileged position in our society—but her conduct is marked by humility and service, not claiming the grandeur of office. On this great day, on behalf of my party and my county, I pay tribute to her service and her humility. Long live the Queen.

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23 Comments

  • Richard Underhill 9th Sep '15 - 8:30pm

    The death of King George VI was a very sad occasion.

  • I think it would be enlightening to imagine our lives without a monarch as part of our nation.

  • Seriously? Expected more. Not sure why though. We need a republic and the Lib Dems ought to be leading the charge.

  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon SNP is a superb politician her paying a tribute to the Queen yesterday was an astute move and as well as saying the Queen would be the Queen of Scots of an Independent Scotland it will also garner more support for Independence from the pensioners.

  • My impression was how tough it was for Tim to speak over an ill mannered amount of quite deliberate noise from the Tory side. It’s not going to be easy for him and they’re obviously out to unsettle him. The other impression as what an awful lot of smug sanctimonious suckers up the Tories are.

  • John Tilley 10th Sep '15 - 8:08am

    “…When you are as far down the pecking order as we find ourselves these days, you just can’t say the usual stuff”

    It does not matter where you are in the pecking order if you have something worth saying.

    Tim Farron does have things that are worth saying.

    Whilst this was not an example of him saying something worthwhile, I understand entirely why he might feel pressured to take part in this sort of nonsense . One of the main reasons being that there are as many sheep in our party as the other who when the BBC press their adulation and sycophancy buttons some otherwise rational people drop on all fours and say “BAA”.

    We have written into The Preamble of our Constitution the words that echo 1789 and our principled opposition to inherited privilege. Maybe in future Tim might make a reference to that when there is another occasion for the BBC to tell us that the entire population is dancing in the street because an elderly lady in her eighties has done nothing more than stayed alive another day. I don’t know about your street but here in the so-called Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames there was no dancing and a fair amount of indifference.

    Meanwhile– I recommend Liberal Democrats join the organisation Republic.
    See –
    http://www.republic.org.uk/stopthereign

  • This tribute was the best I have heard and I’m happy it was on my behalf.
    I also agree with Will and David Raw.
    ‘Leading the charge’ to Republicanism. Too militant for me. Let’s continue to honour the
    faithfulness our Queen has shown to those promises made by her 63+ years ago.

  • Although I’m for replacing the monarchy with an elected head of state I think we have much bigger battles to fight such as the refugee crisis, reforming the House of Lords, modernizing the Misuse of Drugs Act etc.

    We shouldn’t get bogged down in a debate about an expensive tourist attraction.

  • peter tyzack 10th Sep '15 - 10:24am

    maybe, John Doran, but that would not have been the time to start the charge..

  • There is always something that seems more urgent than abolishing inherited privilege but that does not prevent people thinking about a strategy for ensuring that the current monarch is the last. She could easily outlast the current parliament but that still means that each day makes the task marginally more urgent. Whatever her virtues and good practice at doing what she has to do and is content to do, the Queen’s role stunts our growth as a country and distracts the attention of people and media from those other “urgent issues”. It is a pity that the significance of the opening of the Borders Railway and its length was somewhat obscured by the focus on the length of the Queen’s reign.

  • Have a look at John Crace’s sketch in the Grauniad today! HaHa!

  • Paul In Wokingham 10th Sep '15 - 2:10pm

    I once saw Nicholas Witchell buying water softener tablets in Wickes.

  • Matt (Bristol) 10th Sep '15 - 2:27pm

    Paul in Wokingham – Post Of The Day.

  • PHIL THOMAS 10th Sep '15 - 3:23pm

    It was 1 of the worst speeches I have ever seen in Parliament. MP’s were really bored with such a boring speech. Mr Farron needs to do better.

  • Caron Lindsay Caron Lindsay 10th Sep '15 - 3:54pm

    @Phil Thomas: I think it was more that the MPs weren’t listening to Tim out of rudeness than out of being bored.

  • PHIL THOMAS 10th Sep '15 - 5:29pm

    Caron…………………..The Lib Dems are now seen as irrelevant by MP’s from all sides. No one is interested in what he has to say. If the other Lib Dem MP’s cant be bothered to turn up for his speech ,what hope is there for the Party. Nick Clegg is an example. Hardly been there since the Election. Now only interested in making money on the Speaking Circuit. Where were the other MP’s ?

  • PHIL THOMAS
    It is ikely that Liberal Democrat MPs might have something better to do than listen to a load of sycophantic nonsense from Cameron, Harman etc. This sort of display is always the House of Commons atits absolute worst.

    Similarly, unless they have managed to get on the list to ask a question in Prime Minister’s Testosterone Time their presence in the weekly bear pit s simply a waste of time.

    As for Clegg, I was not aware that he is on any sort of Speaking Circuit. It is difficult to imagine anyone paying to hear him speak at the moment. Even his biggest fan might consider his best course of action for a year or so would be to do a good job as MP for his constituency. Appearances by him in The Commons would be a hostage to fortune.

  • Who is PHIL THOMAS ?

    I do not think it was sycophantic nonsense for Parliament to mark this occasion. It would have been incredible if they had ignored it, especially when the huge amount of nonsense which seems to preoccupy the membership, the absurd shouting and people continually bobbing up and down to ask silly questions and make even more silly comments.

    It is pretty obvious that other MPs like to embarrass and humiliate Liberal Democrats and their leaders. It has been going on for years. The more absurd the MP the more pathetic their behaviour. Maybe it is time to retaliate in some way ?

  • PHIL THOMAS…………………..Being utterly predictable must make your life quite exciting to yourself.

  • William Summers 12th Sep '15 - 3:23am

    It would have been nice to think the Lib Dems could have cut through the sycophantic nonsense and provided a reasonable voice for reforming our outdated governance arrangements, not least given the recognition about the post-election need to go back to liberal principles and be more radical. Pleased however that Tim Farron did not actually go as far as to say how great a system monarchy is, particularly as I understand he is a republican.

  • Catherine Jane Crosland 12th Sep '15 - 10:14am

    I realise that it would have been very difficult for Tim Farron to avoid saying something of this sort. But I wish the Lib Dems could be the first major party to have the courage to call for the abolition of the monarchy. Surely the concept of a hereditary head of state is incompatible with liberalism, and indeed with democracy ?

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