Interesting choice by new Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron to choose to write for the Mail on Sunday about Labour’s leadership travails and what it means for the Liberal Democrats.
Although the Mail, both Daily and Sunday, is very unpopular with Liberal Democrat activists, it is actually rather popular with people who vote Liberal Democrat (see this data from 2010 showing the Mail was the second most popular newspaper amongst Lib Dem voters then).
As well as the choice of the Mail, it is worth noting the continuities as well as the discontinuities with what Nick Clegg used to say. Farron talks about change, being on the centre-left and appealing to disillusioned Labour supporters. He also talks about being in the centre ground, prioritising economic credibility and using different words repeats the strong economy and fairer society mantra (“fairness and economic probity”).
Here’s what Tim wrote:
With just 20 days before Labour chooses its new leader, many who believe Britain needs a strong Opposition are holding their heads in their hands…
Mail on Sunday readers may ask why they should worry about Labour tearing itself apart, or why I, the leader of a rival party, should care. It’s because Britain needs effective and credible opposition.
Our country needs a party to speak up for decent, centre-ground politics, offering hope and change as well as economic credibility.
The Corbyn-style politics of placards and megaphones may generate a lot of noise, but as the miners’ strike and the poll tax riots showed, only one thing keeps governments in check – the prospect of electoral defeat.
So whatever route Labour chooses, I promise that the Lib Dems will offer a serious, responsible alternative to this Government.
Yes, the Lib Dems suffered at the ballot box in May – there is no denying that. But we are the responsible opposition. And people recognise that our membership is increasing at an unprecedented rate.
Now, I don’t expect a flood of immediate defections from Labour MPs and supporters. But my message to anybody who cares about both fairness and economic probity is simply, join us.
You can join the Liberal Democrats here.