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Thursday, September 24, 2015

At least somebody thinks the Liberal Democrats are still needed!

Tim Farron's speech at the end of the Liberal Democrats Conference yesterday was a resounding success on several levels, but don't just take my word for it. The Guardian's editorial has validated it and underlined how the country still needs the Liberal Democrats:

His (Farron's) talk at the start of the conference of Labour MPs ready to defect, and the possibility of a return to power within five years, had sounded more like a wish-fulfilment programme than a faithful account of recent events. Yet an opportunity has now opened up on the centre ground of politics, and in his speech Mr Farron sounded ready to try to take it.

In his campaign, Mr Farron had pledged to speak up for the migrant and the refugee, and nothing has happened since to lessen the need for an effective defender of their plight. As he spoke, EU leaders were gathering to discuss again Europe’s response to the overwhelming question of the hundreds of thousands of Syrians seeking asylum, and less than 24 hours after European interior ministers had taken the highly unusual step of imposing refugee quotas on reluctant member states with a qualified majority vote – leaving Britain, which is insisting on its opt-out, as the only state not taking part in the scheme. The Lib Dem leader’s unqualified offer of support is, on a personal level, entirely authentic and, for his party, the stuff of political aphrodisiacs. It will resonate too with the large minority of people beyond Bournemouth who are deeply unhappy with the government’s position.

But for the party activists whose doggedly cheery mood this week has defied the terrible election result, his biggest triumph was to send them off on the long and rough road ahead with a renewed sense of confidence in their importance on the stage of national politics. His formulation, that the party had had five tough years in the coalition, but that the country had had five tougher months since they left it, is an effective endorsement of the case for accepting the responsibilities of power. Even the most vocal critics of the Lib Dems’ role in government cannot deny that it is worse without them. As much as it ever has, the politics of Britain needs the strong and cogent voice at its centre that the Lib Dems can provide.

The speech can be watched in its entirety here:

The Liberal Democrats fightback starts here.
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