Tim Farron made his first speech as party leader to a packed hall at the Bournemouth International Centre today. Tim’s speech was rousing, defiant and everything you could have hoped for in our new leader who along with us faces the momentous task of rebuilding the party and making us a force in British politics again. Tim started his speech paying tribute to all the MP’s who have lost their seats at the election and in particular to Charles Kennedy. He recalled the speech Nick Clegg gave on the Friday.
“And then Nick made that speech. I can honestly say that no political speech has ever moved or motivated me more than Nick’s words that bleak morning.”I am not going to write about his speech in depth. You can read it here however, I have pulled a few key lines out that I think accurately sum up our new leader, what inspires him and what drives him and where as a party the Liberal Democrats will fight and campaign to make a real difference.
“When I was 14 I saw a repeat of a film called ‘Cathy Come Home’. The film was 18 years old when I watched it first, but it still felt raw. It’s not a feel-good movie, it doesn’t have any CGI, but I can vouch for its special effects. It’s a film about a young woman whose life gets gradually and brutally torn apart for lack of stable housing. Eviction follows eviction until the council eventually take away her kids. All because they couldn’t find a decent home at a rent they could afford. Now that was 50 years ago but not nearly enough has changed.”
“Access to affordable housing affects us all because it is the entry ticket to society, to security and stability, to work, health and community. Because without secure, affordable and stable housing how can you be sure that you can send your kids to the same school one term after the next? How can you be confident you can keep your children safe and warm? How can you apply for and hold down a job to feed and clothe them? And, without this confidence, how can you have the peace of mind to concentrate on anything else?”
“All too often the people of Westminster live in their own little Westminster echo chamber. They’re not bad people, but they see the world only through Westminster eyes.”
“It is often said that the other parties have vested interests, but that we have none. Not true. We have vested interests too. They are the people in our streets, our towns, our villages. The people in Britain who have no one to speak for them.”
“It is unambitious for the government to power down the Northern Powerhouse by stalling promises to electrify the Transpennines route.”
“The Liberal Democrats are proud of our economic record in Government and we will build on what we have achieved so far to develop a strong and clear liberal vision for the British economy into the future. That’s why we remain committed to the abolition of the structural deficit. Our commitment to clearing the deficit by 2017/18 is right.”
“But what is equally unfair is to place the burden of ending that deficit on the backs of the poorest and lowest paid – we must all play our part, based on our ability to pay. That, George, is what 'being all in it together' really means.”
“But what is the government doing? Dismantling at breathtaking speed every policy Liberal Democrat ministers put in place to support green industries. Driven by dogma and an obsession with short-term cuts, they are cutting off at the knees a sector which grew at more than 7% a year from 2010 to 2013, compared with less than 2% for the UK economy as a whole. When Al Gore, John Gummer and the boss of the CBI all warn you you’re doing the wrong thing – which is what happened yesterday – that chance are, you’re on the wrong track.”
“Winter is coming and the risks and hardships faced by those seeking sanctuary will only increase. If you are shocked by the pictures on our TV screens today, just think how much worse they will look when the snows come to the Balkans. If we don’t act now, many more will die.”
“If you reject the politics of blame and separation. If you say Britain is best when Britain is together. If you say Britain is best when it is outward looking, modern and inclusive. Then guess what? You’re a liberal.”
“Leaving the European Union would damage every community in Britain. It would be a killer blow to our prosperity, our security, our stability, our relevance. It would be staggeringly unpatriotic.”
“Today, with four and a half years until the next general election, the Official opposition seems to have left the playing field.”
“As Jo Grimond said, ‘in times of war, in times of doubt Generals were advised to march their troops towards the sound of gunfire’ Well, troops I hear gunfire.”If you agree with what you read then why not join us and help fight for a compassionate, fair, free and progressive UK. That leads in Europe and doesn't turn it's back to the world. www.libdems.org.uk/join