Saturday, 6 November 2010

Why I'm backing Tim for Lib Dem Party President

I voted for Tim Farron for Lib Dem Party President because first and foremost he is a campaigner and as a campaigner I wanted to vote for someone who is prepared to fight for what they believe in and not "go native" in government.
I've known Tim for a few years now. I first met him in 2004 just before he was elected. I had only just started getting involved with the Party at that point and I found him down to be earth and friendly - happy to chat to ordinary members like me and listen to what we had to say.
A couple of years later after his stunning victory in Westmorland & Lonsdale, we invited him to speak to members in Reading, and his passion, plain-speaking and wit went down really well with people. Tim has a great way with words and we need that in the age modern communications.
Tim understands that as Lib Dems we are different from councillors and activists from other parties. We practice community politics and Tim gets this. When I was chosen to take part in the Next Generation 3 Programme for talented Lib Dem councillors a couple of years ago, Tim acted as a sort of mentor to me and my fellow NG3ers - popping up at Party Conference receptions where he would pull our legs remorsely about the need to avoid 'going native', and regularly reminding us our jobs as councillors were to represent the people to the Town Hall (not the other way around). Tim understands the need to campaign and knock on doors - he has never rested on his laurels and he won't let the Party leadership do that either, I'm sure.
It's worth mentioning that I also have a lot of time for Susan Kramer (the other frontrunner in the race who recently came to speak at a Pasta & Politics event down the road in Woodley) so choosing who to vote for was not an easy decision.
However, in government, particularly in a coalition government, we need someone who can help get our message across in the media and by that I mean get our message across to the public. But we also need someone who understands the Party, what makes Lib Dems tick, and can motivate members and activists. I'm confident Tim can do all those things.
At Lib Dem Party Conferences for a few years now Tim has spoken as a warm up act for various party leaders. Something tells me he won't have a walk-on part for much longer. Good luck Tim!

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