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Lib Dems are Britain’s best vehicle for political change – Tim Farron

March 19, 2017 10:20 PM

Tim FarronWhere will liberal pro-Europeans, a group that includes people, even MPs, from across Labour, Conservative, Green, Lib Dem and no party, end up at the next general election? Will they be split ineffectually across many parties, will they coalesce around a new party or will the Liberal Democrats be the magnet which draws them together?

It's a question notably on the minds of, for example, many formerly generous political donors to different parties who are now looking for whether there is a plausible vehicle for liberal pro-Europeanism before they open their chequebooks.

For them, and for many others who would bring political experience and activity with them, the Liberal Democrats are not (yet) the straightforward answer to that - which is why this was a major theme of Tim Farron's very well received speech to close the party's conference in York:

All you generals without armies, here's your army. You want a vehicle. Get on board. You want a movement. Move. Stop waiting for something to happen. Join us and make something happen.

The political strategy running through the speech is about remaking British politics around the open versus closed, liberal versus authoritarian spectrum rather than left versus right. And for the Liberal Democrats to be the fulcrum of the open, liberal end, gathering in support from those who currently support, or even are in, other parties:

The old debate between left and right, capitalism versus socialism, has been overtaken by a new debate about the sort of country we are. Open or closed. Internationalist or isolationist. Open-minded or introverted. Excited by change or threatened by it.

You can read the full text of Tim's speech at: http://www.markpack.org.uk/148849/tim-farron-speech-york-conference-2017/