Greenwich Borough Liberal Democrats have been bursting with energy and excitement since the May election. An influx of new members of the local party have brought shedloads of fresh ideas and enthusiasm. They shared some at a recent party “development day” and we no doubt will hear more as the summer rolls on, whether at LibDem pints or other informal gatherings. All members will soon have a means of proposing get-togethers on subjects and in venues of their choosing. Watch this space.
After the post-election shock and disappointment, another space – the aching void left by the resignation of Nick Clegg as our party leader – has at last been filled, by Tim Farron’s election on 15 July. Tim’s passionate first speech as leader lifted hearts, and his vigorous campaigning style and focus on grassroots issues promise to invigorate new and old members alike. On the face of it, the contrast between Nick and Tim could hardly be greater: privileged childhood versus council-house childhood, calm demeanour versus passionate one, appeal to rationality versus appeal to emotion, atheism versus strong Christianity. But they are both staunch liberals, fighting, as Tim puts it, “for the freedom of every single individual to be who they wish to be”.
Tim is the most recent in our party’s gloriously mixed assortment of leaders over the decades – old Etonian, council-house lad, promiscuous bisexual, gung-ho marine, great athlete, Welsh, Scottish, English, half Dutch, half American, intellectual social democrat, gregarious, calmly rational, Christian, atheist – the list could go on and on. They differed in countless ways, but what united them – what unites us all – is liberalism.