As Lib Dem activist you would expect me to be loyal to my former party leader – and loyal to him I am.
I met Tim shortly after joining the party at the Brighton Conference last year, informally at the LibDem Pint and more formally at various other sessions and speeches. I was more of a Nick Clegg Lib Dem and hadn’t really paid that much attention to Tim until I met him. I was amazed at how much sense he made and at how humble and pleasant he was. I found him to be an excellent politician, consistent, intelligent, caring and eloquent.
We’ve had discussions about several issues and I was very impressed.
I don’t share his religious views but I judge him on his voting record and his very treatment of the many gay people around him. I wish the media had done the same. By attacking him so vigorously on this point – probably on orders by the Conservatives and Rupert Murdoch – they discredited one of the few integer politicians we have, and I’m saddened that people fell for this deflection from our actual policies.
I don’t think it has necessarily prevented the party from a break-through at the GE 2017. While the political spectrum in the UK screams out for a centre party, our message simply didn’t resonate with the public as much as I think we would have deserved. We had the backing from the Economist and had probably the best manifesto around.
Maybe this lack of penetration is Tim’s fault a little for not having the right type of charisma. I’m puzzled that we didn’t attract larges crowds.
Maybe in times of increased “showmanship politics” the ‘X-Factor’ plays a key role, and Tim didn’t have that.
This is something not just the LibDems learned last week. Paul Nutall ran Farage’s party into the ground with his laughable campaign and Theresa May could not fool people enough either to secure a rock sure majority.
I want to thank Tim for all he has done in the name of the party and liberalism, for getting our membership up to record numbers, leading the Brexit opposition and working tiredlessly and relentlessly for an open, tolerant and united society.
I hope we can find a successor that has more impact on the electorate to claim the centre ground for the LibDems which is so desperately needed in the current political climate of extremes. I don’t subscribe to the re-nationalisation of services and the extreme spending plan of Corbyn but I feel we need to give some peopel a break after seven harsh years of austerity. Small businesses need our support but businesses and the rich cannot be the sole beneficiaries of our society. We need a middle ground and a move away from the polarised ‘either-or’ politics. We need cross-party consent, compromises and indeed a “Britain that works for everyone”. TM and JC won’t deliver it on their own.
Let’s all pull together to get us out of this mess we’re in.
Once again, thanks Tim for your great leadership and dedication to facilitate this.
You will be missed.