Monday, October 11, 2010

Tim Farron's answers to my blog questions

You might remember that a week ago last Thursday I had a bit of a strop about the forthcoming party presidential election and posed 4 questions I wanted answering by the Presidential candidates. Although at the time I did tell you that he had replied by e-mail 3 hours and 23 minutes later, I haven't yet got round to publishing his answers.

I never did hear anything from the Kramer camp, but I can't really hold it against them that they don't read my trashy little blog. This morning I've e-mailed that post to them to see if they want to answer the questions too and if I get a response, I'll publish that.

Anyway, here are my questions and Tim's answers. 

If the Party membership is uneasy about action taken by the Government, what will you do?

Firstly thanks for the opportunity to answer these questions.  In terms of question one as any good politician I am going to argue with the premise of the question.  I am a Liberal Democrat – I am not the Tories or the government, my job will be everyday to argue our distinctive case and why people should vote Liberal Democrat.  I will regularly meet with Nick Clegg and government ministers and make sure that members are heard loudly and clearly.

My job is to be the voice and soul of the party and this is what I want to be.  This campaign will show what kind of president I will be if elected – hardworking, proactive, high profile and constantly listening to members.
We all know that the Liberal Democrats are distinctive and independent but how will you work to get that message across to the voters?

Ros stood down ( I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank her for the all she has done and agree with you that she has been a fantastic president) because she felt that the nature of the role has changed.  The party president needs to be a winning campaigner and strong media performer – I believe I am both of those.

I will work with the press office and the campaigns department to make sure members regularly know the rebuttal lines for the doorstep and hear a positive Liberal Democrat voice in the media.  I believe I am best placed to be that person.

What will you do practically to support Scottish Liberal Democrats between now and their elections next year? (and the same could be said for Wales, too)

One of the first things I will do if elected is to sit down with the campaigns team and devote our time and effort to winning these elections, the AV referendum and the local elections over the UK.  I want to re-energize local parties and make sure that they feel that the party is there for them and they are being listened to.  But I want to be the party’s campaigner-in chief.

I will be knocking on doors from Inverness to Cardiff.  We have a strong and positive message to sell – I want to get out there and do that.  

How will you improve diversity in our representation at UK level?

Diversity is a key issue within our party – we are well behind where we need to be if we want to demonstrate that we are a truly representative party. I want to bring in a region by region strategy to make sure that we  improve BME representation and the number of women MPs.  I also want to make sure where BME and women candidates stand they get the support, mentoring and encouragement they need.  Finally they need money and I want to see the party financially support women and BME candidates so much better than they currently do – I’m good at raising money, and the campaign to ensure that BME candidates are selected and then elected will be a top priority.

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