by derekdeedman on 26 July, 2015
The first people Tim Farron called on becoming Liberal Democrat leader were his local paper, the Westmorland Gazette. Here are some highlights of his first in-depth interview as leader:
Turning his local success into a national phenomenon
This is a big deal. It will be a great responsibility and I will work tirelessly to fight for Liberal values.
There are real challenges ahead but we have shown in Westmorland how we can succeed and we want to make a difference all over the country.
“A fairer, greener, freer Britain”
I will make the case for a fairer, greener, freer Britain,” he said. “A liberal society is one in which diversity and individuality are not just tolerated but actively supported. This has always been the great cause of Liberalism.
We must stand up for freedom – the right of people to live their lives free to say what they think and to protest against what they dislike, free to live their lives according to their values, free of a controlling, intrusive state and of a stifling conformity.
Equality is important because poverty and ill-health, poor housing and a lack of education are all the enemies of freedom. An unequal society is weaker not just for those at the bottom of the pile but for everyone.
Out-of-control inequality is a threat to democracy and everyone is entitled to equal respect, whatever their characteristics or way of life.
Freeing our democracy from vested interests and money
Democracy is not just a dry mechanism for counting heads but much more than that: a spirit of equality, openness and debate, a coming together to decide our future together fairly and freely, without being dominated by entrenched interests or the power of money,” he said.
“A state that supports freedom has to be a democratic state, with power dispersed as widely as possible and built up from below.”
He went on to announce that he would ‘deliver a new federalism’ and hailed it as being ‘the only way to preserve the United Kingdom’.
A supporter of the Proportional Representation election process, Mr Farron stated that he wanted ‘a new voting system where parties can’t win power on just 37 per cent of the vote’.
On human rights and the quality of life
The Act lies at the heart of Britain’s commitment to human rights and must be defended because there are some things no government should ever be allowed to do to anyone, because the rule of law is the bedrock of freedom and prosperity and because people are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”
In addition, the father-of-four vowed to prioritise fairness and quality of life ‘because some things – the beauty of the natural world, music, poetry, art and popular culture – matter more than profit or growth’.
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