Following on from a very difficult general election result, the leadership election is on to see who will take the Lib Dems through this tough time. Despite only having eight Members of Parliament, the Liberal Democrats have fielded two fantastic leadership candidates, Tim Farron and Norman Lamb. Both of these candidates are miles ahead of anything on offer in the Labour leadership election.
During our party's time in Coalition with the Conservatives we were undoubtedly a moderating influence on the Tory right. From raising the tax threshold, to the pupil premium, to restoring our civil liberties, to ensuring same-sex marriage, to defending workers rights, the Lib Dems achieved many progressive policies. However it is clear that during our time in Coalition we lost trust and we lost identity.
The party might only have a handful of MPs but it's vital that we choose a leader who is able to inspire Liberal Democrat supporters and regain the trust of those millions of voters that we have lost. The party needs a radical vision and a reassertion of our progressive liberal values. Beyond everything else we need a leader who is going to challenge the status quo of British politics and challenge the inequalities of British society and Britain's political system. I believe Tim Farron is the man to achieve this and to revive the cause of British liberalism.
Tim Farron has grasped a fundamental truth of modern politics, which is that in order to enact change you need to create a movement. A movement from the grassroots to the green benches of the House of Commons. A liberal movement committed to liberty, equality and community. A movement that understands that people need to be free from an overbearing state but also free from poverty and social inequality. Tim Farron has correctly identified the need for a house building revolution in Britain. Such a mission should be at the heart of any liberal movement along with tackling climate change and protecting Britain's human rights, civil liberties and EU membership.
For the last two decades millions of people across the country have become disillusioned and alienated from mainstream politics. This has resulted in the rise of nationalism in both Scotland and England. Those most alienated by British politics have been the most vulnerable members of society. I for one hope that Tim Farron can give a voice to those who have often been left voiceless. A hundred years ago, the Liberal Party was at the heart of a campaign to achieve social reform and to tackle the extreme poverty of the industrial age. Today the Lib Dems need to rediscover the spirit of the new liberals and restore a sense of community and compassion to British politics. The Lib Dems must champion hope over fear.
For any party or movement to succeed it needs a strong campaigning spirit. The community politics of the 1970s proved that even a small party with a few MPs can make a big difference. Tim Farron is a committed and experienced campaigner. He understands the importance of community politics and grassroots campaigning. I've seen first-hand what a committed campaigner Tim is in Westmorland and Lonsdale. He's taken what was a Tory safe seat less than two decades ago and transformed it into the safest Lib Dem seat in the country.
Britain needs radical liberal activism. It needs a liberal movement committed to liberty, social justice, the environment, house building and the EU. It needs the Lib Dems to spearhead this movement in Parliament and at the grassroots. The Lib Dems need a committed experienced campaigner leading the party. We need someone who can restore trust in the Liberal Democrats. We need someone with values, vision and with liberalism in their heart. It’s time for Tim Farron!!!