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.