I am delighted to have been able to interview the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron in one of my most high-profile interviews so far. I was very interested to hear why he became a Lib Dem and what he intends to achieve as the new leader of the party.
- How important is it that young people take an interest in politics?
“I joined the Liberal Party, as it was then, when he was 16 years old and to me young people’s involvement in politics is key to a well-functioning democracy. However, young people’s involvement in party politics is in “massive decline” and I believe that we must not make the mistake of thinking that young people are only involved in young people’s issues. We need to inspire people: nobody, and that goes for young people too, gets involved in politics unless you inspire them to do so. People vote on the basis of habit or calculation, but they join a party because somebody gets them in their gut.”
- Did Politics at Runshaw College inspire you to become a politician?
“I did yes. It helped me understand the world and more importantly what I could do to change it.”
- Why did you decide to join the Lib Dems?
“Because I am a liberal! I grew up in a terrace on a main road in Preston. I was brought up by my mum, often struggling to put food on the table. I was politicised by watching Cathy Come Home. I should have been a natural Labour man.
But I wasn’t. That’s because I saw that Labour were just part of the system, small c conservatives. 2 parties happy to collude and protect the establishment, locking out people like us. I was an outsider, I wanted a party that spoke for me, that let you think for yourself, that wanted to win elections so that they could change lives not just so that they could feel self-important.
And lives needed changing, a difference needed to be made. I learned at first hand that nothing robs you of your freedom more than poverty and poor housing. I also learned that dependency can stifle freedom just as much. I saw the potential of people to change their own lives, if only we gave them the freedom to learn, freedom to earn the freedom to be the best that they can be. I believe that Liberalism offers the solutions to fix the problems that Britain faces.”
- What would you like to achieve as Leader of the Lib Dems?
“I hope to rebuild the party and make the case for Liberalism as strongly as I can.”
- Do you have any funny stories from your time in politics?
“I mentioned my teenage pin up Wendy Smith of Prefab Sprout on stage one day at party conference and the next morning I find myself talking to her on Radio 4!”