This is an extremely difficult leadership election with two immensely capable and likable candidates. This is a point where we need a leader who is likable, personable, charismatic and unites everyone in the party. Obviously the only candidate with all of these qualities is me but unfortunately we are limited to choose solely from our MPs, of which we only have 8 men.
With Tim Farron we have someone extremely charismatic, likable, with a proven fan base and public profile. I have known Tim for a few years since meeting him in Kendal. I was amazed to see ten year old kids yell his name in the street and 20-somethings requesting selfies with him in a nightclub. As someone who is politically active, I barely recognise my own local MP. Tim Farron has a real fan base in Kendal and is clearly liked by thousands. His majority displays this beautifully.
Tim has also been brilliant on a personal level. Tim contacted me after I raised concerns about racial equality within the Liberal Democrats and racism on the doorstep. Tim was exceptional at discussing pastoral care of BME members and took my concerns very seriously.
With all of these points in consideration, choosing whom I should support has been extremely difficult. Tim has given some incredibly inspiring speeches and has transcended left/right divisions for years. But for a number of reasons I have recently warmed towards Norman Lamb.
Earlier this year I was invited to speak on a panel at a sixth form. Norman had also been invited to speak and he explained the liberal values towards drugs policy. It was incredible to see Norman inspire this room of young people solely by discussing liberal values. He made the room question so much more than their politics by articulating the crux of liberalism: that punishment is not a motivator. That free speech and free thought allows adults to make their own choices. I had never seen Norman and I was amazed by his ability to inspire not only the room, but me. Norman articulated the values of liberalism and reminded me why I’m a member. During a gruelling election campaign Norman was one of the few inspirational figures who reminded me why I was pounding on the doorsteps.
Since then I have read more about Norman Lamb, about Norman Lamb’s work towards mental health. About his family circumstances and his response to press instrusion. Norman has consistently stood up for freedom, liberalism and choice. Norman represents the liberal values that I believe in. That is why I am supporting Norman Lamb.
I think we haven’t seen enough of Norman. When I saw him in that school I was inspired and I believe if more people see Norman in action they will feel just as inspired as I was.
We are in an extremely privileged position to have two incredible candidates. It is with a lot of personal turmoil that I am not supporting Tim Farron, but if he was to win we would still have a charismatic and likable leader. For this election however, I back Norman Lamb.