Guest post: Nigel Quinton on why he believes Tim Farron is the best choice for leader

farronforleaderNigel Quinton was the Liberal Democrat candidate in South West Hertfordshire in 2015, and you can find out more about him on his own site. If you want to write a guest post about why you’re supporting Tim for leader, please get in touch!

It is difficult isn’t it? Reduced to eight MPs after the worst election result since I don’t know when, and now I have to choose between the two MP’s I admire most (no offence Nick, Alistair, Tom, Greg, Mark and John). Tim and Norman are both exceptionally gifted campaigners, and both exceptional role models, and both very definitely true liberals.
But that says it all doesn’t it? The fact that I can list all of our MP’s in one short parenthetic note. The party faces extinction if we do not work incredibly hard to survive and re-grow. Many have already written us off. Thankfully, 20,000 new members this year tells a more positive story, but we should not let that fool us. It will be a hard road back.
And actually it is not just about the 2015 result. It was the same in 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011. The scale of our decline through the years in coalition is truly disastrous. I sometimes think that it wasn’t until 2014 and the loss of all but one MEP that it dawned on some in Westminster how great was the scale of our retreat, but as an aspiring PPC who looked at applying for a number of seats around the country in 2012/13, it was shocking how much our bedrock of activists had hollowed out.
So I have to say that my choice for leader is going to be governed by who I believe can turn this around. Who can motivate, who can enthuse, who can communicate our message, who can truly lead? Who can see beyond the Westminster bubble, understand what needs to be done in constituencies where we no longer have any councillors, let alone an MP. So in truth, it is not that difficult a decision after all, because when you think about those priorities, Tim is the standout choice.
He also ticks my boxes on the policy priorities, although both men have strength in this respect and I hope that Norman will be a huge part of the team going forward, not least for the passion and energy he has displayed in fighting for parity of esteem for Mental Health services. Norman has argued in hustings that the party needs to win the intellectual arguments, and he is probably right, but ultimately Tim is the more realistic when he talks of the need to speak to the ‘gut’ rather than the ‘head’ if we are to regain voters’ trust and support. Just getting heard at all will be the first challenge, and we will have to campaign on issues that really mark us out and identify our values. The two that Tim has identified with which I most agree are Housing and Climate Change, both areas we could have had a far more distinctive voice in the past five years in government, and both issues on which we could and should be leading the fight.
Despite my high regard for Norman his campaign has disappointed me. The negative attacks on Tim’s Christian background are truly awful, not to mention illiberal, and as for the ‘only true liberal’ line – please don’t get me started! My father founded the Humanist and Secularist group in the party and he signed Tim’s nomination papers so if he thinks Tim’s Christianity poses no threat to our liberalism that is good enough for me. I also count myself a Humanist, but I value the views of people of all faiths and none, and the idea that someone of faith cannot lead the party is completely illiberal and nonsensical.
In contrast Tim’s campaign has shown tremendous energy, positivity, and effectiveness – just what we need to give us the best chance not just to survive but to thrive. Please join me in supporting Tim Farron as leader.

Claiming Tim Farron isn’t a ‘strong liberal voice’ is only possible if you don’t have a clue what liberalism is

Tim-Farron-007Ian Birrell is one of the Guardian’s occasional Token Tory commentators, and someone not averse to churning out a bit of clickbait when required. So it should be no surprise that just as ballot papers are going out in the Liberal Democrat leadership, he pops up with a hit piece on Tim Farron.

Some of it is banally predictable, with rehashed attacks seemingly borrowed from dodgy phone polls about Tim’s stance on LGBT rights and abortion. Rather than go into detail on those issues, I’ll just point out that you can find out Tim’s positions on those in his own words on LGBT here and on abortion here. But hey, when does anyone let a few actual facts get in the way of a bit of clickbaiting?

The main thrust of Birrell’s post, though, is the rather bizarre claim that Tim “seems to lack a driving spirit of liberalism”, which would make you wonder if he actually knows who Tim Farron is until you see what his definition of liberalism is. Birrell’s version of liberalism appears to be a version of social liberalism that’s somehow represented by ‘the great Labour reforms of the 60s’ and ‘small-state economic liberalism that found an echo in Margaret Thatcher’s Tories’. It’s a liberalism that’s little more than the modern centre-right consensus: slash the state, but don’t be too beastly to minorities and ignore anything that’s happened in the last twenty=five years. It’s a liberalism with all the sharp edges filed of so its safe for conservatives to play with and pretend they’re actually liberal, but with no danger of making them actually want to challenge anything. Birrell’s effectively calling for liberalism to be little more than a reincarnation of the National Liberals. There’s a bitter irony in him invoking Jo Grimond for his vision of liberalism, when it was Grimond who led the party away from alliances with the Tories on the right.

Coincidentally, Tim gave a speech at the IPPR today in which he set out more of his vision of liberalism which is centred around “liberty, democracy, fairness, internationalism, environmentalism and quality of life.” It’s a lot more detailed and nuanced than the ‘be generally nice, but don’t challenge anything’ idea that Birrell seems to think liberalism is.

Of course, Birrell’s not alone in portraying liberalism like this. As James Graham pointed out the other week:

For years the senior party line informed us the history of Lib Dem philosophical thought was this: a century of unbroken tradition in the vein of Mill and Gladstone; something something welfare state (shrug); 20 years of social democrat muddle and confusion following the party merger in 1987; a return to our liberal roots with Nick Clegg’s election in 2007.

As James says, this pushing of a very restrictive view of liberalism under a variety of different names (‘true liberalism’, ‘classical liberalism’, ‘four-cornered liberalism’, ‘authentic liberalism’ and others) is an attempt to ignore much twentieth century thinking about liberalism and pretend that there’s some Platonic ideal form of liberalism that was discovered in the 19th century which we all should be judged against.

Purely coincidentally of course, this version of liberalism is the one that challenges the status quo and the powerful in society the least. It has very little to say about power, and when it does it pretends that the only potentially dangerous power in society is that of the state, which must be shrunk and controlled while corporations and other institutions are assumed to be perfectly fine and needing nothing like the same level of control and oversight. While other forms of liberalism are concerned with controlling power, especially unaccountable power, the one thing I always find missing from ‘economic liberalism’ are any notions of power outside of the state, especially ideas of challenging it or making it accountable. Birrell’s vision of liberalism is one that keeps things safe and cosy for those in power, and I’m very glad that’s not a liberalism Tim Farron represents.

Tim Farron’s ‘festival of ideas’: the way forward for Liberal Democrat policy?

unconferenceIf I didn’t have enough already, Tim Farron gave me another reason for supporting him for party leader today, with his proposal that the Liberal Democrats should introduce a regular ‘festival of ideas’:

The festival will take place over a day and will be open, inclusive and egalitarian. It will consistent of a series of, say, twenty simultaneous sessions, each lasting no more than an hour, maybe in excess of hundred different sessions throughout the day.

And here’s the trick: the topics and format of the sessions will be set not centrally by the party or its leaders but by the participants themselves.

The Liberal Democrat Festival of Ideas will be open to all to attend. And once registered, any paid up member of the party will be free to propose a session in fifty words of less. It might take the form of a lecture, a panel debate or a facilitated discussion.

It will then be up to the participants which sessions they wish to attend, drawn by the topic, the speakers or the organiser. Some sessions will no doubt attract hundreds, others perhaps not more than half a dozen, but that’s not the point: everyone will have the opportunity to contribute on an equal basis, from the party leader to the newest member.

In effect, Tim’s proposing a Liberal Democrat Unconference, and unconferences are something I’ve been interested in since attending one in 2013. This proposal gets to the heart of something I’ve been thinking about and writing about for a while – we shouldn’t be content to just look at tweaking the way the party works based on structures created to smooth over post-merger squabbles, we should be pretty much starting again from scratch and building structures that suit a political movement in 2015. It’s why I think the whole ‘one member, one vote’ debate remains a huge distraction as it still limits involvement to those with the time, money and ability to actually get to Conference, and still keeps a very formalised policy-making process in place.

A ‘festival of ideas’, conducted in the way Tim proposes, would be something different, and a much more interesting way of getting members involved in talking about ideas and policies, as well as showing that we’re serious about being a party run by our members and open to contributions from everyone. The current political party conference model is looking very stale across all parties, and we shouldn’t be afraid to try some radical alternatives to it. Indeed, I’d go further than Tim’s proposal and suggest that the party ought to be a holding a series of regular festivals of ideas all around the country, and also providing support and training for regional and local parties to hold their own. Running a local unconference open to all with the aim of coming up with ideas to improve your area, town, county or whatever would be a great way of reinvigorating our commitment to community politics and finding new ways to involve people in improving their communities.

A festival of ideas shouldn’t be just a one-off event – and I suspect Tim doesn’t expect it to be – but something we can make a fundamental part of the way the party works: fully involving people at all leels in developing their ideas for the future. It’s not just about saying people have the power to determine policy – it’s enabling them to use that power.

Leadership candidates respond on the big question: Cat person or dog person?

So, this all started when Chris Brooke decided he wanted to know which side of the ‘cat person/dog person’ the Labour leader candidates fell on:


He then tweeted all five Labour candidates to find out their position on this, but is yet to get an answer.

Deciding that this was an issue that had importance across parties, I decided to ask our candidates their stance on this:


And answers came back very quickly:


(Sympathy to Norman, as I know how sad it is when a cat dies)

But there we have it – very quick answers from our candidates, while Chris is still waiting for the Labour ones to respond. Speculation about hastily convened focus groups attempting to work out which pet is more aspirational is probably not misplaced.

However, the last word should go to YouGov, whose profiler (thanks to Matt Sanders for the link) tells us that people who like Norman Lamb are more likely to be cat people, while those who like Tim Farron are more likely to have a dog. For once, it seems polling may have accurately captured public opinion.

Guest post: Simon Banks on why he’s supporting Tim Farron for leader

I mentioned in my previous links post that I’m happy to take guest posts for Tim Farron here on the blog and Simon Banks was the first to respond. If you’d like to follow in his footsteps, then get in touch.

About Simon:

Simon joined the Liberal Party as a Cambridge History undergraduate in 1966 and the Liberal Democrats at their foundation. He’s stood in four parliamentary elections and for twelve years was a Waltham Forest councillor representing Leyton wards: for five of these he was Group Leader and handled “balance of power” for four.

He’s worked in Kenya and Finland, in race equality and for the last ten years before retirement for Essex County Council, most recently in the Voluntary Sector Unit. His voluntary interests include birds, history, the Campaign for Real Ale and the Society of Friends (Quakers). He’s a published poet.

After moving to Harwich, Simon contested two local by-elections there and he’s now in his second year as Chair of North-east Essex Liberal Democrats.

Why I’m supporting Tim Farron

After the loss of confidence and clear identity in the last few years, and the disastrous elections of 2014 and 2015, we Liberal Democrats need to rethink our approach, rediscover our essential Liberalism and come out with fire and fighting spirit to prove wrong those who say we’re finished.

We have two excellent candidates to choose from who both have a lot to contribute to the rebuilding of the party, but I believe Tim Farron is the man for the job.

He’s passionate in his love of liberty and Liberalism and his hatred of injustice and oppression. He can communicate this passion, excite and motivate. We need that. He’s a fighter and he has huge energy and charisma.

Like Norman Lamb, he’s thoughtful and perceptive. I heard him defend the role of democratic government in the modern democratic state at the SLF annual conference and I believe he understands the relationship between the state, individuals, communities, equality and liberty well in a balanced way. If there was one thing that hurt us deeply from 2010 on, it was the dishonouring of the pledge on student finance – not the issue so much as the ease with which we abandoned a firm promise. Tim Farron voted against the government on this. That makes him much less vulnerable to criticism.

But above all I expect him if he becomes leader to emulate Paddy Ashdown and go on the attack.

Bloggers for Tim: A collection of posts backing Tim Farron for Lib Dem leader

farronforleaderI thought it would be useful to bring together all the blog posts written in support of Tim Farron’s leadership campaign into a single post. I’ve gathered these from Tim’s site, the Lib Dem Blogs aggregator and others I’ve seen links to. If you’ve written a post supporting Tim and it’s not linked here then please let me know about it, either in the comments or on Twitter, and I’ll add you to the list.

One of the earliest blogs to back Tim was Jack Davies. In his post, Why it’s #time4tim to be the Liberal Democrats’ next leader, he talks about how Tim supported him in his efforts to become a Parliamentary candidate, and how Tim’s standing up for liberal values has inspired him.
Another early Tim backer was Richard Morris. His post, Why I’m supporting Tim Farron to be the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats talks about how he shares Tim’s views, how Tim’s not a conventional politician and how he can unite the membership.
Some bloke called Nick Barlow also wrote a couple of posts backing Tim here and here. They’re probably worth a read.
Stephen Tall notes that he hasn’t had a good record in predicting leaders, but in his post on why he’s supporting Tim, he says that Tim is a ‘gut-instinct liberal’ and ‘exactly what the party needs right now’.
Jennie Rigg gives us a list of reasons why she’s supporting Tim, all of which are great including ‘I have seen him change and learn; every time I have seen this happen he has been consistently, instinctively Liberal about how he applies new information.’
Chris Whiting gives us a bit of anticipation about who he’s going to be endorsing, but his presence in this list probably gives away that he endorses Tim for leader as ‘the best choice we have of rejuvenating the Liberal Democrats’.
Will Wilshere began the campaign as a Norman Lamb supporter, but he’s since switched to supporting Tim because of Tim’s ability to inspire campaigners and his views on foreign policy.
Sean Ash gives us 1906 reasons to support Tim Farron. Luckily, that’s not a very very long list of reasons but a link between Tim and the great Liberal general election victory of 1906.
Rich Clare is supporting Tim because we need a lion in the party leadership who can ‘explain complex issues in simple language, somebody who doesn’t sound like all the other voices in Westminster.’
Paul Walter writes that he’s supporting Tim because he’s a ‘lode star of liberalism’ who can ‘re-establish our identity as liberals’.
Stephen Glenn is proud to be supporting Tim as leader because he’s ‘the general to lead us into the sound of gunfire’.
Hannah on The Liberal Queen blog believes that Tim is the right man to lead the Liberal Democrats because he ‘will stand up for Liberal values and will help the Liberal Democrats rise again.’
Cllr Tony Robertson of Sefton Focus blog is supporting Tim.
The LibDemFightback blog has made Tim their choice for leader because of his record of rebellion during the coalition.
Joe Young urges a vote for hope and change in his endorsement, saying that Tim is ‘the best bits of what it is to be liberal all tied up in one package.’
David Shaw’s post, Looking into a Liberal’s soul, looks at Tim from the perspective of another Liberal who’s also a Christian.
Simon Foster’s Get Tim comes from someone who first campaigned with Tim at Newcastle University and says we now ‘need a liberal radical who will lead the rebuilding of our party.’
Simon Banks has backed Tim in a guest post on this blog, saying that Tim is “passionate in his love of liberty and Liberalism and his hatred of injustice and oppression. He can communicate this passion, excite and motivate.”
Also on this blog, Tony Hutson has shared in a comment the endorsement he wrote for Tim on the party’s CIX chatroom. He believes that Tim is “someone who instinctively ‘gets’ the campaigning base of the party.”
Veteran blogger and long-serving AM Peter Black uses his blog to tell us he’s backing Tim because he’s the best placed to repeat what Charles Kennedy did for the party and “has the best chance of changing the narrative quickly.”
Jenni Hollis says that if the party is to rebuild with ‘Operation Phoenix’ we need Tim as leader because he’s “the popular, media savvy, liberal man with a plan.”
Paul Hindley says Tim can deliver ‘values, vision and liberalism’ and knows “that in order to enact change you need to create a movement.”
James King says it’s time for Tim, saying that he can offer the party both “a reason for existence, and a means of getting that through to voters.”
Mark Valladares has chosen to back Tim, saying he has the boldness, integrity and passion we need in a leader.
New member and blogger Sam Willey is backing Tim after seeing him in action at the Newcastle hustings.
Ryan is another new member convinced that Tim is the best choice for leader after seeing him at a hustings – in Bristol this time. He thinks that “Tim has a natural gift on how he engages with people and inspires them to get involved.”
Jonathan Harrison gives a series of reasons for backing Tim, including his passion, his dignity, his ability to organise the grassroots and his commitment to radical policy for the party.
David Warren thinks we have two excellent candidates in the race, but he’s backing Tim because he’s “the better campaigner and therefore the best person to lead us in rebuilding this party”.
An early backer that I missed including in this update is Tom King. He wrote a long post at the start of the campaign looking at what kind of leader the Liberal Democrats need, concluding that Tim was his choice because he’s capable of “taking control of the party and helping us to create a new identity for ourselves.”
Gareth Epps makes his case for why Tim has to be the next Lib Dem leader on a number of points and concludes that “in the position we are in it just has to be Tim.”
Another guest post on this blog comes from Nigel Quinton, who explains why he believes Tim should be our next leader because of his energy, positivity and effectiveness.
Jonathan Calder of Liberal England, and famous for his role as Lord Bonkers’ amanuensis, has announced that he’ll be voting for Tim.
Keith Watts says now is the time we need a charismatic Liberal Democrat leader, and the person for that role is Tim Farron.
Dan Falchikov has also voted for Tim, but has words of warning that if the party wants to recover this is only the start of it.
Dipa Vaya set up some of the early Facebook groups for Tim. She’s now taken to the world of blogging to tell us more about why she’s backing him because he’ll given an energising and empowering rebuild for the party.
Neil Monnery has a long post on his decision in the election, but comes down to voting for Tim because we “need the person who’ll get the best out of the resources they have and put the party in the best position to grow and recover.”
I’d missed Ed Goncalves’ backing of Tim early in the campaign, so apologies he’s so late to the list. “I’m supporting him because his vision speaks to me. Because I believe he speaks for me, and for people like me. And because I strongly believe he is unequivocally the right leader at the right time.”
Chris Whiting has chosen to back Tim for many reasons, including because of the way “charisma and passion shines through in his speeches.”
Joanne Ferguson is a new member backing Tim because he has the ability to inspire people outside of the party, like Charles Kennedy did.
In a guest post here, Grace Goodlad explains her reasons for supporting Tim, saying it’s time for the party to have a fresh start with him as leader.
Another guest post endorsing Tim here came from several dozen Liberal Youth members who are impressed by the way his experience helps him connect with students and young members.
I’d missed Caron Lindsay’s endorsement of Tim, even though she’s not sure how to deal with a leader younger than her but she gives a detailed list of reasons for backing Tim.

That’s all the blog endorsements I could find so far, but if I’ve missed you out, please let me know and I’ll add you to the list. Also, if you want to write about why you’re supporting Tim but don’t have a blog or anything of your own then please get in touch with me, and I’m sure we can sort out a guest post for you here – and if any other bloggers are happy to take guest posts, let me know!

Why we need to make the case for liberalism as a whole, not just as a set of policies

Lib-Dem-logoTim Farron’s given an interview to the Independent outlining more of his vision for the Liberal Democrats if he’s elected leader, the gist of which is in this quote:

“You need to motivate people. People vote for a political party because of what is in their wallet or issues that they weigh up in their head. But you join a political party because something gets you in your gut and it’s time we went out there and got people in their gut.”

It tied in with a thought I had reading this post by Alex Marsh earlier. The problem we’ve had – and it’s exemplified by the General Election manifesto – is that we’ve made liberalism look like a list of policy demands rather than an idea. That’s why the Economist can make the bizarre claim that the Tories have “swallowed much of the (Liberal Democrats’) ideology” when they’ve merely dropped their objection ot a few liberal social policies like same sex marriage, while remaining fundamentally illiberal and authoritarian.

When we identify liberalism as nothing more than a set of policies (whether those policies come from centrism or anywhere else) we make it easier for others to adopt a figleaf of liberalism by borrowing those policies while ignoring the ideas that drive them. David Boyle makes the point here that we’ve often chosen “an ecstacy of positioning rather than saying anything clearly at all”. If we let people think that liberalism means “whatever is in the centre ground at the moment” then we shouldn’t be surprised when people claim there’s little need for a liberal party when everyone else is fighting over the political centre. Indeed, we shouldn’t be surprised about our election performance when we define ourselves solely in terms of what other parties are and what we’re not.

That’s why what Tim Farron is proposing for the party is important, and why I’m supporting him for leader. We can’t just be a party that talks about individual policies, we have to be one that links those policies to a liberal vision and liberal values and that’s something Tim does brilliantly. A party that exists solely as a Parliamentary think tank that puts forward a few policies that may or may not be adopted be other parties isn’t one that’s going to have a long existence in the current climate. We might have survived like that when politics was less fragmented, but now there are plenty of other parties for people to choose from, and we have to be the party at the head of a liberal movement.

This will be a new direction for the party, because it’s not just in the last five years that we’ve often retreated to the comfort zone of talking about policy rather than pushing liberal values. If we’re going to recover and grow, we need to show that we’re not just promoting certain policies because they’re good ideas but because they’re linked to our liberal vision and ideology and so if they support one of our policies they’ll like the rest as well. If we don’t make the case for liberalism, no one else will, but they’ll happily brand some form of pseudo-liberalism as the the real thing and claim that real liberalism isn’t needed any more.

Why I’m backing Tim Farron for Liberal Democrat leader

farronforleaderIt feels odd to recall that the general election was just two weeks ago. It was a campaign where nothing seemed to happen, and then an election that pulled the rug out from under a lot of us and radically changed British politics. Two weeks ago, I was thinking that we’d be arguing over coalition wrangling right now, not a leadership election. Instead, we find ourselves with the party in the worst position its been in for at least four decades and the question we’re being asked is now a simple one of how do we survive this?

Leadership elections are often focused on issues of policy, tactics and organisation, because they can assume that the fundamental questions of party strategy and survival have been answered. The election has shown that we can’t assume that the Liberal Democrats will remain around just because we always have, but the result has shown that there is a greater need for liberalism in the UK, and if we don’t fight for it, then who will? Other parties may occasionally adopt the odd liberal policy, but that doesn’t make their cores any less authoritarian, and some may adopt liberal rhetoric to argue for illiberal ends, imagining that freedom can be reduced to nothing more than consumer choice but saying nothing about challenging unaccountable power.

The temptation at a time like this is to turn in on ourselves, contemplate our collective navel for the next year or two and then gingerly step back out onto the political stage with a suitably tweaked message and image. We could do that, and find that while we were away the Government has swept away the Human Rights Act, introduced mass surveillance of the entire population, slashed the welfare budget, put Britain on the path to an EU exit, privatised everything that’s not nailed down, and set in place the break up of the country. This is a time that liberalism needs to be bold and out there, defending rights, standing up for a fairer and more equal society and championing internationalism.

Whoever is the new leader of the Liberal Democrats, their main job for the next few years is to lead the fight for liberal values and build a liberal movement (not just a party) that can fight for those values. For me, the person who can do that better than anyone else in the party is Tim Farron. Watch his 2014 speech at party conference where he sets out the importance of liberal values in dealing with the issues we face now:

More than that, Tim understands that liberalism needs to be a proactive force, not just a reactive one. His call to build a new consensus is an important one and an understanding that politics shouldn’t just be about adapting to the current political situation and tacking from side to side within the current consensus, but seeking to redefine the tiny frame British politics is conducted within. If we’re serious about making liberalism relevant, the way forward isn’t to jump into the rapidly narrowing space between the other parties but to be proud and unashamed about making the case for truly liberal values.

Tim fits in with my vision of what liberalism should be and what it needs to be in the 21st century: an idea that stands up for people against unaccountable power in all its forms and an idea that challenges the assumptions of the political consensus, arguing for real change, and a better life for everyone. Liberalism should be out there challenging the status quo, insisting that there’s a better way, and building a wide movement to win that fight. As a party right now we need a leader who can campaign hard and push forward those liberal values.

Tim Farron is the right candidate at the right time for our party, and that’s why I’m supporting him to be the next leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Whoever wins, we’ll get good scenery

It occurred to me yesterday that I’ve never spent any significant time in the constituency of any party leader – I’ve passed through a few, but not been in any for a meaningful time – but that will likely change, assuming that Tim Farron or Norman Lamb is the next Liberal Democrat leader.

As MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim gets to represent a large chunk of the Lake District where I’ve spent plenty of time and will be back on holiday later this year. A constituency that includes Ambleside, Coniston, Windermere and Grasmere must be high up there on the list of constituencies most visited by tourists, but my favourite part of it is likely Langdale:

Westmorland from the Langdale Pikes
Westmorland from the Langdale Pikes

However, I’ve also been to Norman’s North Norfolk constituency several times recently, which contains some of Britain’s best-looking beaches, particularly the fantastic wide expanses of Holkham:
Holkham on a clear and cold day
Holkham on a clear and cold day

Whichever of them wins, I don’t think either of them will have trouble having good shots of them at home for the papers, or getting people coming to visit them in their constituency.

Farron-hunting season continues: Vince brings a blunderbuss

Tim-Farron-007Good news everyone! Party HQ have dropped the ‘shut up and deliver leaflets’ instruction to anyone wanting to do something other than election campaigning and allowed a special dispensation. Yes, you’re now allowed to drop your laser-like focus on the election campaign and discuss a whole other topic. Unfortunately, the topic HQ appear to have chosen as the only other one suitable for discussion is ‘why Tim Farron should never be party leader’.

Or, to put it another way, Farron-hunting season is officially open, and now Vince Cable’s decided to bring a blunderbuss to it. The first salvo of attacks obviously didn’t have the desired effect of making us mere members spontaneously denounce the Farronite tendency and resolve to redouble our efforts to promote maximum loyalty to the leadership, so Vince has now scattered buckshot across the sky in an effort to bring down the dangerously popular Farron.

Ignoring his own advice that using negative tactics against someone who’s popular tends to be counter-productive and that there’s no need to talk about leadership elections because we already have a leader, he told Buzzfeed that Farron wouldn’t be ‘credible’ as leader because he’s “never been in government and has never had to make difficult decisions” which means that every Lib Dem leader before 2010 wasn’t credible, and neither were most of the members of the Cabinet Vince joined in 2010 (including himself). If ‘being in Government’ is a barrier to becoming a credible party leader, it also makes the leadership a bit of a self-perpetuating oligarchy, able to veto any new entrants by not bringing them into the Government, then claiming they don’t have the experience necessary because they’ve not been in Government.

It’s nice that they’re already rehearsing their lines for the leadership election that they’re sure isn’t going to happen, but maybe they could refrain from speaking them in public for a few weeks? Perhaps they should listen to the wisdom of a former Party President: