Saturday, March 12, 2011

Tim Farron kicks Conference's backside as only he can #ldconf

I knew that things were quite challenging for our party at the moment, but I didn't really think we needed to channel the spirit of Neil Kinnock.

Irrepressible party president Tim Farron did just that last night in his speech at the Conference rally:

So this is the Sheffield Rally. And you know what normally happens when a party holds a Sheffield rally? Well, traditionally, some ginger bloke gets on stage, makes an absolute prat of himself, and completely wrecks his party’s election chances. And I’m a great believer in tradition, so here goes…

Mind you, I'm sure he tried to spin himself to me as a strawberry blond during the Presidential election.

Anyway, those adorable people at Liberal Democrat Voice have published his speech in full, cos presumably Tim's people send them stuff, but I wanted to give you a summary of what I thought were 
the best bits.

On what the world would have looked like without us in Government:

 We could have sat on our hands, and you know exactly what would have happened then. A second election in October, a Conservative victory, no electoral reform, no tax cuts for the poor, big tax cuts for the rich, no banking levy, no pension increase and billions wasted on replacing Trident. And what about the Liberal Democrats? Would we now be being praised for keeping our hands clean at a time of necessary cuts? Not a flaming chance. We would have been the lilly-livered Lib Dem bottlers, the first time in 40 years when the parliamentary arithmetic had given us the chance to take responsibility, and we walked away from it. Too chicken to go into the big league. Our credibility would be shot to bits. Our electoral standing in tatters. That’s what the parallel universe looks like. It’s not pretty.

On the importance of the AV Referendum:

We are just eight weeks off the most important ballot for our party in living memory. The fairer votes referendum. I do not have enough hyperbole in my vocabulary to express how incomparably essential it is that we win the referendum. This is it. Electoral reform within our grasp – for the first time in our lifetimes… and, if we lose, for the last time in our lifetimes. It looks to me like we are marginally ahead in the referendum. You know, 1-0 up with 5 minutes to go – which is a frightening place to be. You can sit there, hold your breath, pray that the other side don’t scrape a jammy goal, will the ball away from our own net net, panic and feel like a spectator, utterly passionate about the result but utterly powerless to affect it. Or you can realise that you are not a spectator, you are a player.
You want to win the referendum? Then we get out there and score the second goal and put it beyond doubt. So please fill in the form on your seat now and hand it to the stewards as you leave. Because yes, we may be 1-0 up, it’s ours to lose – but make no mistake, we can lose. And Hilary Stephenson and I were talking last week and we decided. We’re not having that.
And for those of you who are still not convinced – and you know who you are, the STV ultras – just look at AV as the semi final.
The gratuitous Lembit jibe:
Alternatively – the No campaign are positively Z list. They asked Lembit and he wouldn’t touch them with a bargepole. He said they’d damage his credibility.
Please, please, Cowley Street, don't ever let Tim have ideas for fundraisers again. Although there might be people who would pay not to have this happen:
We are extremely lucky to be here in Sheffield. Home of the full monty. Home of Nick Clegg…. now then boss, I’ve just had a fantastic idea for a fundraiser…
On the protesters - although there's no doubt that some of them are Trots:
But outside this conference centre there are people protesting. It’s not good enough to just label them as trots. And even so, is it a crime to be angry at cut backs, to be fearful about austerity to resist the pain that is to come? The kind of people who shrug and say they rather like the cut backs are the kind of people whose families are not personally affected.
And you know what? I’m angry about the cuts. I am angry about the reason we are making these cuts.
Labour’s enduring legacy, far worse even than Iraq, is their decision in 1997 to deregulate the banks, to out-Thatcher Mrs Thatcher. To idolise the markets, to make greed a virtue, to stoke up a fake boom. Then they left office and changed their tune. Labour spent 13 years in power behaving like Tories and now 10 months in opposition behaving like trots. And they deserve to be derided and ridiculed for both.
On what makes the Liberal Democrats tick:
We are fuelled by our passion for fairness, and our passion for the communities we serve. We nod politely at the big society, knowing that we’ve been doing community politics since before half the cabinet were born.

Buck off - the kick up the backside part
You know I told you last year you had to work your socks off to win at the general election? Well, the good news is that it worked – but guess what? You will have to out fight, out deliver, out canvass, out stakeboard, out spend, out think and out campaign your opponents this next eight weeks even more than before because if we don’t we will not win. We will have to answer for our performance in government, we will have to reconvince many of our supporters, we will have to deal with negative attacks, we will have to sharpen our messages, but we absolutely can and will be successful.
Do you look at the polls, look at the media and curse your luck? Well, don’t. Get out there and make your luck. There may be a trend, but trends are there to be bucked. Go home and buck them!

A typical Farron barnstormer mixing a kick up the arse to activists to hit the streets with a down to earth explanation of what makes us tick and doing the hot knife through butter thing with Labour. Just wish I'd been there to see it in person. It's fabulous to read, but this guy puts so much energy into the delivery. I hope somebody's recorded it for You Tube.


george said...

" We would have been the lilly-livered Lib Dem bottlers,"

So much in this post that is obviously nonsense but it's probably best just to nitpick a single comment.
You wouldn't have been thought of as 'lily livered' if you had refused to dump your principles and sided with the Tories.
99% of the electorate would have thought very highly of you.
Turning down the chance of power because of principles. Radical stuff. And when the Tory minority govt collapsed you would been able to step in and save the country from oblivion.
But unfortunately Nick decided to dump his promises and pledges and side with calll me dave.
All very sad but predictable.
We live in desperate times and have to put up with limp wristed politicians like Nick to help us.

( This post has been saved and will be put up on subrosas blog if it is deleted or ignored by you Caron.)

george said...

Sorry Caron. Chidish rant from me there !
Plus I've just noticed you have been posting some of my comments and have even been participating in other blogs.
I think the bit in brackets at the end was due to too much red wine. I certainly haven't saved anything. Not sure how to save anything actually.
But thanks for opening up your blog to more commenters. I like to read your blog although I don't always agree with it.
Well not very often ;)


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