Friday, October 15, 2010

Caron decides: Tim Farron for a "stardust" President

The thing about sitting on the fence, is that it's pretty uncomfortable. I knew I'd have to make my mind up at some point, but I didn't expect that the decision would be as clear as it has become. And, to be honest, I'm surprised at the decision I've made. At the start of this, if you had told me I'd be voting for Tim Farron, I'd have laughed at you. The thought of electing an MP to the position of representing the grassroots was one that was difficult for me to reconcile, but I think this week has convinced me that Tim is the right person for the job at this time.

Here's why:

  • He keeps his word - and this tuition fees issue is not an isolated example. He's done it before as he was one of the three who resigned from the Shadow Cabinet over the slightly weird position we took on the Referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
  • He knows about campaigning - turning a majority of 200 ish to one of 12000 takes some energy, knowledge and commitment.
  • He knows about fundraising which is something the Party really needs to focus on now we don't have Short Money any more.
  • He's been right there in the story of tuition fees this week, on every news programme that would have him, saying he's going to honour his pledge. I don't think a non MP President would get as much coverage.
  • I think he would make sure we were positively in the story on other issues - he'd be hunting down Nick Robinson et al, not waiting for them to come to him.
  • We need someone pretty forceful and terrier like to take on Labour and all their assorted nonsenses. Tenacious Tim is best placed to do that.
  • He's willing to take a risk - his intervention in the most controversial debate at Scottish conference shows integrity and good judgment.
  • He gave me direct answers to questions that bordered on rudeness
We have the most challenging few years ahead for our party that we've had in my political lifetime. We need an exceptional person, someone with a bit of political stardust to be out there fighting our corner. I'm willing to take a bet that Tim is that person. He had better not let me down.


lizw said...

I haven't made up my mind yet, but I will probably vote for Susan, because I really don't think the President should be an MP.

Quite a few of the things you mention here don't seem to me to be part of the role of representing the grassroots - campaigning, TV appearances, getting coverage and taking on Labour are all about representing the party to the outside, not about representing the grassroots to the leadership. It's the latter I want the President to focus on.

On tuition fees specifically, I think all the MPs who signed the NUS pledge have shown rather poor judgment by giving such a hostage to fortune. It's a huge mess; I think for ethical reasons the MPs who signed the pledge do need to vote against the plans in the form that's currently being suggested, but I don't think that's anything to be proud of on their part, and the more noise they make about it, the less favourably I'm going to view them.

Unknown said...

I asked him about representing the grassroots and blogged about it earlier in the week.

I asked him how he'd take the temperature of the party on big issues like, for example, the child benefit thing. He said that he'd continue to stay accessible on the web and he'd keep a close eye on what was going on there, but he knows that that's not the whole story. He intends to be out there meeting members and finding out face to face what we think and he can then feed our views back to Nick.

Having spoken to him at length,I have absolutely no doubt that he'll do that.

One of the reasons Ros stood down was that she felt the job was changing to require a more demanding media role. I think she's right, so I think we do have to consider who is going to be out there in the media fighting our corner. Both are able communicators, but I think Tim has that extra edge and drive and will demolish the trite arguments advanced by the Labour Party.

I'm aware that I'm putting quite a bit of trust in Tim, but what I hear from people who have known him for years is that it is not misplaced.


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