Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Tim Farron: A work in progress

Last month I offered Tim Farron, the Lib Dem President, a little unsought advice:
Now that Tim Farron is being spoken of as a possible party leader, he needs to risk the odd unpopular speech. Someone in that class cannot always be telling people what they want to hear.
How is he getting on with this project? Judging by his speech to the Scottish Liberal Democrat conference in Dunfermline on Saturday, which Caron's Musings kindly reprints, he has some way to go before he will satisfy me:
Being really honest with you now - I envy you. I envy Scotland. I envy your values, your sense of community, of collective endeavour and basic decency. If you want to know my main, even selfish, reason for being utterly opposed to Scottish independence is because a Britain with your values is a warmer, compassionate and caring place to be.


Unknown said...

There is more to our Tim than this, though.

He has done what you want. Last year when he was running for president, he spoke in a debate at our conference on tuition fees, not knowing how it would go. His side of the argument won.

This year he waded into our diversity debate on the (just) losing side. I agreed with him on both occasions but even those who didn't admire the fact that he was prepared to take a risk.

We need crowd pleasing, barnstorming stuff at the mo, and Tim is great at arse kicking showmanship. But he is also prepared to take risks.

James King said...

The office of the presidency rather lends itself to 'oh look, how great we are' cheerleading, and this only increases when we're in coalition.. In the past, presidents have tended to be frontbench spokespersons who have to cut their own policy niche and so come into conflict with either their colleagues or the grass roots, but again, that's not the case in Coalition. Most politicians seek to flatter, but have controversy thrust upon them. As long as there is the degree of cohesion we have in the party at the moment, at least at the official level, Tim would have to look out for a controversial issue to pick a fight on, which would be barking - there are simply no divisive debates. I have a feeling that there will be some hard debates within the next 18 months or so about the economy, Coalition 2.0, and perhaps Nick's leadership style, and that will be Tim's opportunity.

David said...

Perhaps he should have quoted Burns to them:

"Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
Wha struts, an' stares, an' a' that;
Tho' hundreds worship at his word,
He's but a coof for a' that:
For a' that, an' a' that,
His ribband, star, an' a' that:
The man o' independent mind
He looks an' laughs at a' that."
or possibly:
" The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men
Gang aft agley, "

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Jonathan Calder said...

I have no reason to believe that Tim Farron is troubled by fruit flies, but thank you for thinking of him.

dreamingspire said...

Vernon Bogdanor, at his recent book launch, remarked that Liberals in coalition leads to a split in the party. Asked to predict what will happen this time, he declined - but he is a historian, not a prophet. So can Tim hold it together? With recent announcements of change at the Cabinet Sec and Perm Sec level, can it be that the LD influence is actually leading to LD cohesion on progressive policies (at last)?