Party members have been receiving emails today from Tim Farron and Susan Kramer setting out their pitches for party president. Of course, the emails can only go to party members for whom the party has an accurate email address. So I’ve reproduced the emails below – and if you’ve missed out but would like to get future party emails, get in touch with Membership Services on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If reading these messages moves you to want to ask the candidates a question, don’t forget the online hustings coming up.
We in the Liberal Democrats are facing a time of great opportunity but also great challenge.
The Coalition in Westminster is giving us scope to implement policies we believe in from civil liberties to the pupil premium and taking low income workers out of income tax.
But the Coalition is also, by definition, implementing policies which are not those of our party and in which our role has been to make such decisions fairer than they would have been without us.
It is with this background that I ask you to elect me as President of our Party. In the past so many of you have come to help me with my in my various campaigns. As President, an unpaid but pretty much full-time role, I would have the opportunity to give back to you.
My pledge to you is to make the members and grassroots of the party my priority:
- I intend to criss-cross the country to listen to you and make sure that you are heard by the leadership with whom I intend to meet regularly on your behalf
- I will rebuild our internal communication system so that you know what the party is achieving in Parliament from the horse’s mouth rather than through a biased media
- I will use my profile to keep the party strong and unified despite the efforts of other parties and the press to divide us
- I will strengthen our federal organisation’s ability to support you in recruiting new members, fundraising and developing modern campaigning techniques to match our rivals
Although the General Election is 5 years away, Scotland, Wales and many local councils have elections in 7 months and we will have a critical referendum on Fair Votes next year.
I have met with many of you over the last few weeks and if elected I will continue to travel to meet you. But the listening process is so important that I ask for your participation now.
That’s why I’m inviting you to fill in this short online survey about the Coalition Government, party communication, campaigning and about the future of the party – it will only take a few minutes. [Survey now removed]
I ask for your vote in the election for President so that I can serve you. We Liberal Democrats can seize the future.
Candidate for Liberal Democrat party President
PS. Grassroots activists and members like you are the heart of our party. If elected you will be my priority.
Our Party now faces its greatest opportunity, and its greatest threat.
We have the opportunity to put our liberal values into practice in government, but we risk losing our distinctive voice. Our next party president must help seize this opportunity and defeat the threat by making sure that our voice is heard.
That is why I am standing in this election.
When I joined the Liberal Party at 16, the thought that we would be in government seemed a fantasy. Now it’s a reality and we are making a real difference.
We are right to be in the coalition. Britain’s economy is in a real mess and we’re ensuring it’s sorted fairly. But our separate identity is being blurred, our message blunted and too many of our supporters feel confused and nervous.
I’m not having that!
If you choose me to be your president, I will be a strong, persuasive and distinctive voice. Ministers can present the coalition’s arguments. I will present a Liberal Democrat view. I’ll explain what we stand for and what we are achieving in power. I’ll spell out what is wrong with Tory policies.
As your president, I will actively listen to your views and put them to Nick and our other ministers.
They need to know what you think about tuition fees, the spending review, Trident and other key issues.
I’ll publicly promote, with passion, our Liberal Democrat principles, inspire our supporters and reassure our voters that they were right to vote Liberal Democrat. I’ll use my campaigning experience to help Liberal Democrats win across the UK, especially as we face next year’s Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and local government elections – and the crucial fairer votes referendum.
With our leader in government, the role of the president has to be more media focused. I believe I have the energy and ability to use the media to spell out our distinctive identity.
We also need distinctive messages and policies. During the Iraq war, remember how Ming Campbell made us all proud to be Lib Dems. During the banking crisis, Vince Cable spoke for Britain and made us all feel proud too. Think of how you felt as a Lib Dem when Nick won the leaders TV debates – I was so proud I almost burst!
I want that pride back.
I want more people to join us, especially young people. We’ll do it by spelling out clearly and consistently what the Liberal Democrats are doing to bring greater fairness and freedom, and to make Britain greener.
This is a crucial time, and it calls for a strong and bold voice that will lift our party’s spirits, our morale and our electoral chances.
If that’s the kind of President you want, then I’m all yours.
Thank you for your support,
TIM FARRON MP
PS. For more information about my vision, about me and who is supporting me go to http://www.timfarronforpresident.org.uk/ – or you can email questions to me at email@example.com