'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Friday, 15 May 2015

Why I'm supporting Tim Farron to be the next Leader of the Liberal Democrats

We're incredibly lucky in the Lib Dems that even when we have just 8 MPs, we still end up with 2 fantastic leadership candidates like Tim and Norman. Pity the poor Labour members, who are struggling to find any enthusiasm for the names currently appearing.

Norman would be a wonderful leader for the party - intelligent, well informed, incredibly hard working, terrific experience, steeped in liberalism and I hugely admire his work on mental health. If he wins, I will gladly follow him.

But I am supporting Tim Farron for the leadership.

There are 3 broad reasons.

1. Tim represents my own views

We justify the the last 5 years by crying (and endlessly listing) "look at all the brilliant things we've done". And that's fair enough. We have done many many fantastic things. But like the errant husband, betrayal is a bitter pill to swallow, no matter how many times you say you're sorry and point out that you've mowed the lawn beautifully and taken the bins out on time every day for 5 years. And many people still feel betrayed - and not just outside the party - by Lib Dem MPs supporting tuition fees, signing off on the original NHS white paper, secret courts, the bedroom tax...

I think to some degree, I'm one of them. I love that we're a party where members dictate policy - and I still can't shake off my disappointment, despite everything else, that too many times our MPs trooped through the wrong lobby, against party policy.

Tim largely did not do that. He largely voted the way I hope I would have done. Not every time by any means. But enough to make me feel he best represents my views.

2. Tim is not a conventional politician

I suspect he's had a lot of media training. I'm sure he chooses his words carefully. But there is a sense with Tim that what you see is what you get, that what you hear is really what he thinks. That there is no hidden side to him. He is distinctive , different, unusual even - and I want that in a leader. He is cut from a different cloth to most political leaders. And we need that.

3. He can unite the membership

I doubt there are many folk reading this blog who haven't either met Tim, seen him talk, had a direct e mail or a tweet from him. He's even had a pint with me in my local. He feels like one of us. He's a natural communicator. That's why so many members love him. And the country will love him too.

And then I have a fourth reason.

And it's this speech. Which outlines Tim's philosophical and intellectual position on liberalism. I believe him, it's what I believe. And imagine how dull Ed Miliband would have been making the same sort of speech

And in a nutshell - that speech is why I am supporting Tim Farron to be the next leader of the Lib Dems.

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