by Stephen Tall on February 3, 2013
I’ve an interview with Lib Dem president Tim Farron in the February issue of the party’s Ad Lib magazine.
I met Tim in mid-January. It had been a controversial 24 hours, as I noted here:
… the previous night he had lined-up with the Conservatives – alongside most, but not all, his backbench Lib Dem colleagues – to vote for the Government’s Benefits Uprating Bill which will increase welfare payments by a below-inflation 1% for each of the next three years. For someone who was politicised by Cathy Come Home, Ken Loach’s gritty TV docu-drama about homelessness, how does he feel about such Coalition compromises? How many times have his ‘red-lines’ been crossed?
“All of us are dealing with the culture shock of being in government. We over-use the phrase, ‘red line’. We have to accept some compromises we just don’t like. But I’m sure of this: it was a damn sight thinner red line on welfare than the Tories originally proposed because we were there. I went through the lobby with the Government because I knew we’d fought tooth and nail to stop it being an awful lot worse.
“We’re in a much stronger negotiating position if we have few red lines, though our anti-tuition fees stance should have been one of them. But I’ll say this: every one of my red-lines was crossed
every day for 24 years when we were in opposition.”
To read the whole interview — including Tim’s answer to whether he wants to be Lib Dem leader next time there’s a vacancy — why not subscribe to Ad Lib? Just click here.
And to whet your appetite still further you can read Matt Withers’ interview with Eric Lubbock, now Lord Avebury, here.