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East of England Liberal Democrats

Tim Farron's fourth letter to members

July 2, 2015 2:24 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

I love this party because in my heart and in my soul I am a liberal.

I believe in a society in which we are all free to make our own choices and live the lives we want. But freedom means very little when the only choices we have to make are whether to feed our children or heat our homes.

I am therefore proud - really proud - of our work in government defending people from having to make such impossible choices: the pupil premium giving every child a decent start in life; lifting millions out of tax- that is a record of real achievement.

But too often our role in Government meant we were muzzled.

Now we must be the voice for the poor and the disadvantaged, the underdog and the despised. We must defend fundamental human rights and freedoms from Tory attack; it falls to us to make the unequivocal economic and moral case for immigration; and I will proudly make the case for Europe in the forthcoming referendum.

Because while our party maybe smaller today than it has been for years, never has there been such a need for a liberal voice in this country: brave, vociferous, uncompromising.

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I have tried to run a positive campaign talking about how we rebuild and how we stake out a positive liberal vision for our party. My vision is: This has always been the great cause of Liberalism, a creed which is now needed more than ever. We must stand up for:

Freedom - the right of people to live their lives free to say what they think and protest against what they dislike, free of a controlling state.

Equality - because poverty, and ill-health, poor housing and a lack of education are all the enemies of freedom, because an unequal society is weaker not just for those at the bottom of the pile but for everyone.

A new economy - low-carbon, high-skill and resource-efficient, because this is what we need to make and keep the UK competitive and successful, to generate jobs, prosperity, opportunity and wealth.

Quality of life - because some things, like the beauty of the natural world, like music and poetry and art, matter more than profit or growth.

Internationalism - because cooperation with and in Europe is needed more than ever, for peace and security, for environmental leadership, to stand up to corporate power and international people-trafficking.

Reform - to lead the calls to save the United Kingdom, deliver a new federalism and a new voting system where parties can't win power on just 37 per cent of the vote.

I have tried to stake out bold and liberal policies on immigration, house building, arms controls (working to stop selling weapons to dodgy regimes) and on drugs.

Now, let's look to the future. Let's work together to act on our Liberal values. I'm confident that together we can make a fresh start.

To read more about my values click here

To read how I want to rebuild the party click here