When the sad news came through that Ros Scott would not be standing for a second term as Party President I did briefly consider standing for the position myself. My biggest reasons being that I don’t think that the President needs to be a Parliamentarian and should be more reflective of other parts of the Party and that Erica wants me out of the house when I give up the LGA leadership next year! Who knows where those thoughts might lead me in future years?
But I really decided not to stand when I heard that Tim Farron would be standing. I have known Tim since he was lad and clearly from my perspective he has two big advantages:
- He is from ‘oop ‘ere’ – no-one would accuse Tim of being part of a metropolitan elite; and
- He has experience as a councillor – it should be compulsory for anyone in parliament in my view!
So clearly he is a highly credible candidate. But I am not backing Tim because I think he is credible but because I think he is incredible.
Two things make me think so.
Firstly the size of his majority! From scraping in as part of a very tough contest to walking away with a massive majority five years later takes some doing. And he has done it by gaining and retaining control of his local council at the same time.
Secondly, the way he can inspire people. Tim has assisted us every year with the launch of our Next Generation programme for talented young councillors. I have watched how he captivated the audience on each occasion with his jokes, his earnestness and with the fact that liberalism just glows through in everything he says and does. It’s not only small groups that he can hold in this way. Just look at the speech he gave at the Liverpool rally with just 10 minutes notice. It was (sorry Nick) the speech of conference!
That’s just what we need at the moment. A person who can communicate to the heart of any listener and so imbued with liberalism that everyone can see that he will be representing a different party than that of our coalition partners.
We are lucky to have two good candidates so I am not dismissing Susan Kramer in any way but it does seem to me that Tim is the right person, in the right place at the right time and I hope that you will think so too.