An open letter to Tim Farron

by Ray_North on July 18, 2015

UnknownTim Farron has been elected as the new Leader of the Lib-Dems.

Personally, I wish him well. If I had had a vote I would have voted for Farron too – not saying he is flawless, he isn’t, but he clearly has enough about him to make a good fist of leading a national party.

But, what a task he has. It’s huge. He is now leading a party that has been decimated by the voters, has little impact in parliament, but, worse still has seen its core philosophy eroded by years of intellectual and policy confusion.

There are things he needs to do. And, if I were him, I’d embark upon the following.

First, he needs to set up an ideological identity that he and his party are comfortable with – he is in a good position to do this, because the Labour Party are in just as big a mess and the other alternatives, the Greens and UKIP have not made a massive electoral breakthrough.

Farron, needs to work out where the Lib-Dems sit on a number of issues – the first is austerity. There are plenty of people out there who are opposed to the austerity being pursued by the Government and which was enthusiastically endorsed by the coalition – Farron wasn’t part of that coalition, he has the chance to say, ‘we did wrong, there is an alternative way of resurrecting our economy,’ after all, Keynes and Beveridge were both liberals and Lloyd-George was perhaps the first to really place the weight of the state into the lives of ordinary people with his budget of 1910 – Farron would be applauded by many for moving to the left on the economy and espousing a fiscal policy that would be progressive and modern and fair rather than falling in behind the Tories and their desire to dismantle the state.

Second, he also needs to position the Lib-Dems on Europe and membership of the EU. The Lib-Dems are traditionally the most pro-EU party, the coming referendum will almost certainly be an exercise in falsehood as both the Tories and Labour try desperately to appeal to the sceptics and the pro-europeans at the same time. Being pro-European won’t get the Lib-Dems a huge deluge of votes (and let’s face it the European Union is currently showing all signs of being absolutely flawed), but, the Lib-Dems can make the point that they are pro-European, that the EU is massively important, and that only an enthusiastic partnership can improve the project. They shouldn’t be ashamed of that – it might not be popular, but it will be coherent, and in the long run, that will only be good for the Lib-Dems.

More practically, the Lib-Dems must appeal to young voters – unencumbered by government, they are now in a much better place to visit the areas that young people are interested in, the environment, further and higher education, jobs, housing are all matters that the Lib-Dems can appeal to the young voters who don’t sign up to the Tory way.

They should also start the process of rebuilding their local base, in the 1980s and 90’s the Lib-Dems built up a strong and effective base in local governments, it gave the party impetus and policy making experience, sadly, they forgot much of it, when they decided to go into coalition.

Tim Farron has got a tough tough job, but, I for one, wish him well.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Nick July 19, 2015 at 8:35 am

The biggest problem he faces is that no one is going to believe anything the Lib Dems say for a very very long time – they are worst than useless & would again abandon their principles at the first whiff of power . They absolutely empowered the Tories by perpetuating the whole austerity myth & the lies that ordinary people should pay for the greed of an extraordinarily wealthy minority .

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: