Friday, 17 July 2015

To lead the political debate, you have to lead the intellectual debate

There is something bizarrely uniting about Lib Dem leadership elections, or so I realised last night.  Not for us the bear pit of the Labour leadership - which is more about uncovering the great chasms that lie between the candidates, and between the candidates and the people.

Norman Lamb managed to get nearly 44 per cent of the vote, and Tim Farron turned up the heat and produced an extraordinary performance last night. I felt hugely proud to be in the same party as both of them. And on top of all that, a 900 vote majority in a council by-election in Kingston the same evening.

I backed Norman Lamb because I believed he would shake up the party the most. But I became aware during the campaign that other people I respected were supporting Tim Farron for exactly the same reason.  I hope and believe he will.

Because I think we are poised for an exciting period, but - to lead political debate, you first have to lead the intellectual debate.

As they did in the early hours of May 9, the Guardian very kindly asked me to write a comment about the Farron victory shortly after it was announced, and I delivered as he climbed onto the rostrom at 7pm last night.

I'm always nervous about doing these things before I've had a chance to take the temperature - or at least think a little more deeply.  I don't know how I managed, but you can judge for yourself here:

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