Tim Farron Video and transcript from Green Lib Dems 2020 Conference
By Tim Farron
Keynote Speech at GLD Conference Sat 20th June 2020
Tim Farron MP - Co-hosts: GLD President Martin Horwood & Cllr Jane Brophy
Lloydie: Martin and Jane it's over to you, thank you very much
Jane Brophy: I unmute myself yeah there you go hello everyone ...All right we're unmuted
Martin Horwood: very impressed by the technical thing and especially the little thing you get when you're a panellist that says you've been promoted to a panellist, I've always liked being promoted
Jane: it feels quite important don't you think although not compared to Tim Farron of course absolutely right
Martin: I'm not sure Tim needs a huge amount of introduction...
I mean he first stood for parliament when he was I think something ridiculously young like 21. Member of Parliament for Westmorland and Lonsdale from 2005 and unlike some of us managed to hang on to his seat through all the vicissitudes of the last few years
Leader of the Lib Dems of course from 2015 to 2017, and then a variety of different spokespersonships ever since then, but currently the Lib Dem spokesperson for work and pensions.
But as Keith pointed out throughout this period a very green MP and a good friend to the Green Liberal Democrats. And of course we shouldn't of course forget the most impressive thing on his cv which is that he is the forward at the former lead singer of the Preston based band Tim Farron and the Voyeurs - not sure that's really stood the test of time
Jane he's also our only north north-west parliamentarian now so, welcome from the north west
Martin: and there's a good bit of the north west in your background Tim
Tim: Jane the reality is this is a picture of a piece of my constituency about two miles of the road I didn't realise I had a background on because actually I've got a picture of Frank Sidebottom right behind me in reality just for you.
Jane: Frank Sidebottom is literally five minutes along my road if you are
Tim there's a statue worth fighting to defend
Jane yes in my ward in Timperly ward because you were there when we put him up there because absolutely Frank Sidebottom is from temple where I live
Martin for those of us who may not know who Frank Sidebottom is - who is he ?
Tim: well he is what can we say he's a kind of indie post-punk comic phenomenon real life named Chris Sievey and he passed away a few years ago sadly but he was from Timperley and he based his act on being from Timperly and there is a statue of him outside a coffee shop in Timperley and I have a picture of me defending that statue during the general election when I went to go and help Angela in the in the election there.
But anyway look I'm happy to talk about Frank Sidebottom more in the Q&A if you really want
Martin: I think that's probably not the main topic that we're looking at which is of course how we manage to emerge from the coronavirus crisis without compromising our stand on the even greater crisis, even though a slower burning one, of climate change and in biodiversity crisis and in the broader environmental disaster.
So Tim this is something that's always been I know very close to your heart so I think we should probably not delay you any longer but hand over to you
Tim: Brilliant well it's great to see you Martin and Jane and Keith and Lloydy and all the others of you who are out there too. Thank you very much for having me.
There's only 11 of us, you've got four of us today, and luckily I'm the only one not running for later so I hope that I will be able to talk perhaps without quite the same pressure of being in an election campaign, but I'm looking forward to hearing what the three candidates have to say later on from me.
There's been various reshuffles and when there's only 11 of you, you know it is a bit of a kind of spin the bottle moment.
But I actually speak for the party these days on a whole bunch of things: environment, food, rural affairs, and also local government communities, housing and the north. As Jane alluded to, between Oxford and Edinburgh I am the only member of parliament for the time being.
So when we're talking about intensive care for the planet, which I know is the strap line for this conference, I think we're allowed to be concerned about intensive care for our party, because when all said and done I don't think there's another vehicle in British politics that either cares about sustainable politics and the green agenda and the environment in a holistic way, and at the same time gets the practicalities about how a country operates, how an economy operates, to actually make those green policies come to life.
So intensive care for the Liberal Democrats is critical for intensive care for our planet
We have always been as a party over the years an engine of ideas, and at particular peaks during our history I'd say if you go back to the post-war period in the mid 50s onwards, anyway under Joe Grimmond you saw the party becoming that kind of internationalist group that stood aside, a kind of a sense of intellectual purity and radicalism that challenged the two-party system and that brought so many people into political activity who wouldn't have otherwise.
Those people who rebuilt the party at local government level in the 60s and especially in the 70s were the kind of people who were inspired by those lofty ideals of the Grimmondite revival at the back end of the 50s, and then in the 1970s early days, the 1970s, those same people brought out the politics of the community, the community politics agenda the Liberals recovered under.
A real sense of ideology, a belief system, something that gave us a purpose both electorally but also ideologically and brought in a whole new cadre of people and activists into our movement
And then at the back end of the 80s early 90s under Paddy Ashdown the situation undoubtedly was rectified and rescued for us by the work done on a document called "Our Different Vision" which very much gave the party that sort of intellectual heft, a reason to be a values-based reason to be,
Now I've picked those three examples those eras in our past because they do stand out as the three kind of bright spots in terms of our creativity in the battle of ideas, but there's something those three times in our history have in common and that is they are near-death experiences, these are times when the party faced existential threat.
Now you could argue that we as a party have probably faced more near-death experiences than the entire cast of Flatliners, but all the same undoubtedly moments of peril for the party can provide us the opportunity to create a space for ourselves that gets us out of that mess, and actually gives the country hope at the same time.
So being an engine of ideas, and the Green Liberal Democrats being critical to that, is something I think we absolutely need to be as a movement
But ideas are important, but one of my most overused phrases but it's mine so I'm allowed to recycle as often as I like, being an environmentalist,
"We have never lost an election because our manifesto wasn't long enough"
and the simple fact is that your message and your brand dictates your electoral success.
Now it's possible that being a party of ideas, of creativity, and a place where radical beliefs come from might help to populate that brand, but let's not forget that what wins elections is "Stronger for Scotland", it's "Get Brexit Done", it's keeping in touch all year round, not just at election times: things like that would ring true to people, that move people here, and that chime with what's up here as well, that's what moves people electorally.
And we not need to not forget that. In our battle to have the best possible set of policies on the environment and other matters, let's not forget that all of those policies are utterly and totally pointless if we lose elections, and I don't know about you, but I am fed up of being right, and losing.
It's time that we understood that there is a path for us to be part of the government of this country again, and part of a transformation as to how we operate as a campaigning organsation.
So I'm going to say this to you not as just as Green Liberal Democrats but as Liberal Democrats who want to win : the trait we should avoid the most, the trait we should most despise within ourselves, is self-indulgence, you've seen what that did to Corbynite Labour.
Let's remind ourselves that winning is the passport to being able to change people's lives, and in this case it's the passport that we need in order to be able to rescue the environment and build a cleaner environment that our children and those who go beyond them can inherit and inherit safely.
So I'd say all those things as a kind of warning, but I'd also say that the politics of today gives us a huge space to actually develop a brand, more space than you might have imagined on the morning after the disappointing election in this December which could have been so much better, but it's done so we move forward.
The first thing I identify, and let's be honest if you're not one of the main two parties which fortime being we're not, you are dependent to a degree on the other parties leaving you some space, and you have to look for that and you have to work with it.
The Conservatives have chosen to be, it would appear, emotional, populist, and a vessel for one side in the culture war, and by the way, that means that to a degree they will have to quite regularly leave the space where they have been seen as the party of economic competence and the friend of business, and that gives us space for sure.
And they're choosing to take a side in the culture war is seen via all the nonsense about statues
I mean I do love the new euphemisms that the Conservative party has given us, indeed the right of the culture has given us in recent times you know an appalling excuse for being late, or you know having various things that have stopped you doing what you were meant to do, is you know "I was testing my eyesight"
And then also you've got the wonderful thing, if you know, the euphemism for going out and getting absolutely blathered and drinking even more beer than William Hague can manage is: "I'm off to protect a statue" which is a wonderful euphemism to use in the future.
But more seriously the culture war worries me hugely because it means bad decisions are taken for even worse motives.
So all the stuff about statues to one side completely but the abolition effectively of the department for International Development this week has been appalling - it's a wrong decision but far worse than that is made for the wrong motives.
I want to look at that for a moment so we understand what it is we're playing with and who it is we're fighting.
The decision to merge the Foreign office and department for international development is essentially a decision to stop giving money to people irrespective of whether they deserve it, but to give graciously to those people in need because we're a compassionate country and we want to be that kind of people, and indeed potentially to even compensate for some of the damage that we have done in the developing world through our time as an imperial power, but rather than to do something graciously without strings attached, now, we won't have people who we give development funding and support to because we seek to be kind, we'll do it because it's in Britain's interest.
This will be a client funding basis, very much like China operates its development model, and that's deeply worrying and wrong in itself.
But it struck me that the announcement came later on in the day the government had keeled over on the free school meals over summer issuem and had bowed to the power of Marcus Rashford.
And it strikes me this, that you have a whole bunch of people the government is trying to appease and appeal to, and I guess what it said that afternoon was all right, I guess we should feed our own kids, our own poor kids, but we'll make sure we don't feed any foreigners.
And that's if you look at Facebook comments on funding for international development you will see that kind of theme of the uncharitable ungracious hateful racist, as well but utterly mean spirited comments and that is out there, I don't know what proportion, but the Conservatives are clearly to play have chosen to play to that crowd.
That's where the culture war is.
That's not enough to win you an election, but it's enough to give you several million votes that helps to boost you in that direction.
So you're up against a party that's chosen not to do virtue signalling but vice signalling, and that is who our opponent is.
But that does mean that they cede some territory, particularly when it comes to an intelligent relationship with the world of business and enterprise, and Liberals shouldn't be afraid in fact we should be very proud of being a party and enterprise.
What is the entrepreneurial spirit?
It is the one that is creative, that wants to make its own way, that wants to create opportunities for others, that is indistinguishable I think from the Liberal spirit.
And so we need to take that gap that the Tories are broadly leaving: and they're doing so in spades over the anti-business decisions they're going to be making over Brexit, and the deals that are to follow
So there's space there for us, and an enemy to be very careful of, and to be intelligent about trying to b.e
I won't say much about Labour but my observation is that Kier Starmer is doing exactly what I would be doing, but probably better, if I was the leader of the opposition at this time, and we had the past that Labour had, they're being careful and competent, and incredibly precise in their language, and doing everything they can to appeal to what we'll call a centre ground
I think that's incredibly intelligent for the Labour party to do, that's the right thing to do: look competent versus the Tories, try to eschew the kind of culture war baggage and all the kind of ideological stuff and all the what about-ery, just be a competent leader of the opposition,
And that means he will be doing things that we don't approve of
We really wish that he was being more vociferous or indeed onside at all over the extension of the of the transitional period, but I understand politically why he's not doing it, because he's trying to appeal to a broader group than just those people who want us to remain or to rejoin the European Union
So Labour being careful that's intelligent, however it creates space for us, it creates space for us to be radical and creative.
Now I think we'lve got to be very careful, let's not just jump into the space that Corbyn has left us, that will be idiotic, frankly, but the opportunity for us to talk about radical policies, about environmental issues, about how we tackle climate change but in a very practical way, and indeed economically as well, that opportunity is absolutely there, not so we can embarrass the Labour party particularly, but so we can set a lead, and that's massively important and it's an opportunity that we need to take.
Now I'm not going to do cliche bingo about Covid19, except to say it's turned everything upside down, and whilst there are many many tragic and appalling facets to this pandemic, and it goes without saying, there clearly are opportunities that come out of it, and I just want to look at some of them
I think the first is, I mean who knows how society is going to respond in the months and years going forward, but I do think that materialism has been revealed as bogus and unsatisfying, to million dollars, that our hopes, and we may not have thought of ourselves as materialists, but you know people acquire things, people look forward to holidays, it's about career, it's about things, about the things that we own, and the things that we want our children to achieve, and all those sorts of things, that materialism has I think been unveiled as bogus, unsatisfying, as something of a false god that we've all been worshipping for the last several decades.
that's totally different
so we can speak into a space that 12 months ago just wasn't there and wasn't interested
Secondly public intervention has been normalised
The kind of things that we would potentially talk of as being completely normal now, you've got billions of pounds of public money being spent on subsidising wages, on bailing out businesses, and it may still not be enough by the way there's a big debate to be had as to whether the government holds its nerve on public investment in our economy, or simply lets it collapse at the end of the summer, because it's worried about getting into too much debt
Quick parenthesis there: we're going to end up in colossal debt whatever happens, and the question is: do we end up in colossal debt whilst keeping people in work, or do we end up in colossal debt whilst millions are on the dole?
But that's an aside
Public intervention has been normalised, and I think an understanding that a small state equals weak citizens, and a, I don't to say a strong state because we're not socialists, I'm not a socialist, but we believe a state that is active and ambitious and Liberal to its core, can help citizens to be strong, and to withstand and be resilient against the kind of winds that we are amongst now, and that may get of course much wilder. So materialism being perhaps considered to be more bogus in the minds and a false hope to many people, the fact that public intervention has been normalised.
Thirdly I think a sense an emotional sense that I feel, and I'm sure millions of other people including people wouldn't normally vote for us, but may in the future, a sense of you know have we really gotten through all this, made all these sacrifices, just to go back to how it was before? The sense of what was before being unsatisfying, we've been through all this we made these sacrifices, are we really just gonna go back to how things used to be?
I think a party and a movement that can inspire the British people to believe that something better is possible out of the ruins so to speak, I think that is a party with a great future and I want us to be that party.
Very very cautious about wartime analogies, but of course we remember that in 1945 that is exactly what the British people chose to do, having got through that appalling tragic tumultuous time, the decision was not to you know reward a leader who was far more competent than the one we have of our country at the moment, they didn't reward him, they chose to build back better, they chose to do something different, and to go for hope and for a movement of the time, a Labour government, but based very much on Liberal principles written by Keynes and Beveridge, for a post-war ideology, a post-war plan, that was totally at odds to the kind of misery that effectively led to the second world war in 1920s 1930s Europe.
So all those things give us hope, there's space there for us politically, materialism is viewed with more suspicion maybe now, public intervention seen as much more normal, and there is that sense that we must have something better as a result of all this,
But of course recession also can create desperation.
I mean I see in my own constituency, in my surgeries, and all the conversations I have by zoom, and by distance, we've seen a huge huge increase in unemployment here, we have the biggest percentage increase in unemployment in the country last month, I very much see furloughs, for many people certainly in hospitality and tourism but other industries as well, as a kind of waiting room for redundancy and unemployment
So let's be honest, people who are desperate, and there are millions of us out there, and may actually be desperate to return to normal, despite the fact that that's not very attractive, but just to be able to feed themselves, pay the rent, and look after their families
And of course that allows populists to use emotional palliatives, and to create bogeymen.
So we've got to make sure when we're smarter than them, if the Conservatives in particular had chosen to, not so much start, but to utilise a culture war to embed themselves in power, our job is not to be out thought by them, but to out-think them, to be smart, we have to offer hope which is tangible.
We have to approach this with common sense. Don't speak to ourselves so here we are the green Liberal Democrats and talking to one another, we will agree with one another on most things
As a party if we only talk to the seats we won last time round, which predominantly were you know anti-independence in Scotland, and pro-remain in broadly speaking the south of England, with this place as the one island exception, and then we're not going to get anywhere, and if we are serious about connecting with people and serving people, and changing the debate so that we as a country tackle the climate emergency, then we have to avoid the culture war.
We have to spot the trapped sectors for us by Cummings, the right-wing paper editors and so on and don't fall into them.
There's a whole bunch of traps out there with big neon signs saying this is a trap, don't jump into them, don't jump into them: you can see your cultural alarm bell should be ringing every time that happens, don't jump into it.
To be fair Kier Starmer's broadly speaking managed to do that so far, and again self-indulgence is the enemy within, make sure that you mortify it
We need instead to immerse ourselves in the people's needs, isn't that what community politics is all about?
This is why have people voting for you in your communities whose politics are not identical to yours, but they appreciate the fact and they they believe in your authenticity, Why? because you're immersed in that community, you understand it, you feel it, you're part of it they trust you
And that's what we need to do on a national level, we need to immerse ourselves in the people's needs. People who have, or are on the verge, of losing everything, those people by the way can see the need for a universal basic income: it was a theoretical sort of lefty Liberal greeny talking point a few months ago, now it is of a tangible understandable value to millions of people who are on the verge of, or experiencing economic desperation.
Secondly those people can also see the need for Keynesian investment, they might not call it that, but they can see the need to invest, to build, to create economic activity, to keep people in work, to boost the economy, and to stave off the poverty that might come otherwise.
And people who experienced the post 2008 austerity since the economic crash, see that cutting our way out of a recession is deeply unattractive to say the least when you look at what is to come.
And I say all these things because they're massively important from a green perspective, because core to a Keynesian economic boom or survival package recovery package is the environment.
And we've got to be very specific about what we're talking about: it means renewable energy, it means making sure that we don't go back to burning coal, or other fossil fuels, that we decide we're going to keep all of those fossil fuels in the ground as a way of preventing us even being tempted to move back in that direction.
We've got to make sure that we take advantage of, for example, the fact that the United Kingdom has after Canada the world's largest tidal range, and yet we're using nearly none of it when it comes to tidal power, or within our land mass hydro power on other waterways, or marine power out on the seabed in between the islands and the deep channels that we have around this country.
We are almost set up to be an economy based upon renewables, we've seen the growth in wind power offshore, there's clearly room onshore as well, there are so many things that we can be doing, and in doing that investment you create an economic boom which is a massive value.
We see the opportunity in terms of zero carbon homes, and of a radical renewing of how we approach the places that we live in terms of energy sources, in terms of how we live within those buildings,
And then of course on transport, a radical step change absolutely needed, move to electric vehicles and the massive improvement that we need in public transport investment, recognising that look, if Transport for London needs a 700 million a year investment to make it wash its face, then you're gonna have to accept that public transport for many communities, if not all communities, is never going to be economic in and of itself, the point is it's an essential investment to make the economy work, and environmentally, to shift people from private to public transport.
If it isn't reliable frequent and affordable, people will not use it, and that's going to be an understanding, that's going to be part of that kind of investment that we should be behind.
So a national patriotic endeavour is what I'm I'm talking abou.t
If we're up against a, and let's be honest one of the bogeymen in the culture war from the right so to speak, are you know, out of touch do gooder environmentalists who probably are hypocrites, but either way they don't understand what normal people have to go through in their daily lives you know that's one of the traps we have got to walk around, and indeed avoid, and find an answer to,
Because put simply, not just electorally but in terms of the future of our planet, if the only people are who are convinced of the importance of the environmental imperative of fighting against climate change and making sure we become zero carbon as soon as possible, the only people who care about this are the likes of you and me, people who read the Guardian and the Independent, we're knackered, the world's over:
the only way we save the planet if people read the Express think "I need to do that to, put bluntly
and so that's why our approach to tackling the climate crisis has got to be one which is utterly inclusive, a sense of almost a national patriotic unifying endeavour behind the big tangible things that we see, whether it be marine, tidal, hydro, wind on and offshore, solar, all of those things that would help to rebuild our economy, be tangible things they can see, be British built and designed here, and by doing that you can take millions with you who would otherwise sniff at talk of climate change.
We've got to watch our language, not use the buzz words that excite one small part of the culture wars and inflame everybody else
I want to tell you this as well, but what Covid 19 has also taught us is the importance of individual actions
All of us in our darker bleaker moments over the years may have thought "oh gosh you know so I've cycled a bit more, so I've turned the lights off, so I've changed my boiler, I've done you know, but what difference does what I do or my family do, what difference does it really make to this colossal issue of the greenhouse gases that are out there and the global warming that is happening?"
Covid 19 has shown us that when millions of people individually choose to follow a plan and choose to, you know respect distance, to stay at home, to do all those things you can massively, massively reduce infection rates.
Now yes of course all the evidence says that if we'd locked down a week, two weeks earlier, let's be honest maybe 20 000 or more of those who died wouldn't have done but it's a reminder of how many more would have died had we not locked down at all.
It's very clear that individual choices amalgamated together, aggregated together, have made a colossal difference to the NHS, to individuals, to families, and therefore eventually to the country as a whole, and the same surely then goes, and has always gone, for our personal responsibility when it comes to the planet and our environment.
Maybe the lessons we learned personally from how we have behaved during Covid 19 can then be translated when it comes to sustainability and protecting our planet, and understanding that if we all do those little things that added together, make a massive massive massive difference.
So look I've just said before we need to, as I bring my comments to conclusion you'll be delighted to hear, we must take people with us, there's no point having fine ideas, and being right, and losing elections.
It's about moving people towards the Liberal Democrats so that we can win elections, so we can do these things, and more broadly about winning people to understand that we need to take these huge and important decisions and choices as a country, that will help us to tackle the climate emergency, and indeed protect air quality and all those other hugely important things like biodiversity that are so essential to our environment, and to our future, and that means you've got to take people with you, that means you've got to be careful with your language, we're not going to sound like we're disapproving of the country, or anything of the sort.
Remember you're not just talking to people like you, you're talking to the wider country
So one of the things I was very interested to hear Keith talking about the ways in which this virtual conference is going to be like the normal conferences, you know our lunch together, we have polls and all that kind of stuff, and it's really great and of course one thing probably gloriously there won't be at this conference is the Liberal Democrat disco, which I have proudly done on a few occasions and being a contestant.
If you don't know how it works, there's normally four people within the party MPs, Peers, MEPs, others, who are given a DJ slot, and their job is to pick four tracks, four songs, and then at the end the dance floor decides which of the four contestants with four songs each, ends up being the disco queen or the disco king for that particular conference.
Now there's a point in making this, there's a point I've made before, but I'm going to reiterate it. It is this. So Jo Swinson has won the disco Lib Dem disco title on at least one occasion. I've been I've taken part at least twice, I think maybe three times, and I have never won
I have never won
And I want you to understand why Jo Swinson won the Lib Dem Disco, and Tim Farron has never won, despite multiple opportunities, and it's simply this: Jo Swinson won the Lib Dem disco because she picked the records people liked.
Tim Farron lost the Lib Dem Disco because he picked the records people ought to like
And that's a critical difference, and it rather sums up the Liberal Democrats to me, that we sometimes talk to people as if they are behind, or outside, the kind of correct bubble, when we talk about politics and issues, and certainly the Liberal movement as a whole, and the centre left in the western world has that problem, it's why Hillary Clinton lost for example: when you talk about people as a basket of deplorables, don't be surprised they don't vote for you.
So it's important that we remember not just, not to shed our clothes and put on clothes that are not ours, but to use language and postures, and have ideas and policies that will bring people with you, you don't need to play the worst records that you hate, you just need to play the records that will make people dance, and that's critically important, because I am fed up of losing elections, and fed up with seeing the bad guys, particularly now, the guys we've got in power at the moment, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Cummings,
I've often nearly always disagreed with the people who ran the government of our country, never have I felt so appalled by their motivation, and what brings them there in the first place, and I fear for what happens next, so I want to beat them. And you don't beat them by being furious and self-righteous, you beat them by being cleverer than them, and you save the environment by being cleverer than them.
So we have an opportunity as a country, as a party, to Build Back Better, a phrase bern used for months now by various various people across the party and beyond
That unique freedom that we have as a party that I set out at the beginning, to boldly state what building back better actually looks like, so we have the responsibility then to win, because if we don't we leave the stage for others, and otherwise Build Back Better just simply becomes another nice slogan and another missed chance.
How about instead we decide to take that chance.
thank you Tim that was absolutely fantastic to hear you. I've been unmuted now, and I can see on screen we've got eleven questions out there so I'm going to start with the first question I can see, and we'll take them in threes, how does that sound, all the questions I can see I've got one here from Clive Trussell I've got one here from Linda Johnson a very long one, and one from Laura Sykes. So I'll start off with Laura Sykes question, and you ready for this?
Tim: I am all ready
Jane: oh good stuff, it's great to get this feedback isn't it, so Laura Syke's question is:
Now that the Labour party has chosen Starmer, is there any mileage in a Lib/Lab agreement, if not an actual pact?
Jane: okay so Tim would you like me to do questions in groups, or do you want to just take one at a time ,
Tim : if we've got enough we can, I'm happy to do let's do
Martin we've got quite a few yeah
Jane: so that's the first question.
So question number two is from Linda Johnson this is quite a long one now and it says
how do we get building regs changed so that all houses are built with air source or ground source heat pumps with solar panels and battery storage with lots of insulation and A three plus windows
I don't know if you can see the question at the moment building regs only built, it's a very complex question but it's alright I think I think
Tim: I've got it yeah
Jane: and a very quick simple third question here from Clive Trussell you'll like this one because I like it it says
would a visual change from yellow to golden green help
How about that so far away with those questions
Tim: right, brilliant
I think first thing let's let's deal with Linda's question
During the coalition we were very very close to being, in fact we did bring in the idea of zero carbon homes, and this was effectively done via the planning system, and undone by the Conservatives after 2015, and the whole point of that is that so, you know my local council for example, and all planning authorities, can seek to try and persuade a developer to build a zero carbon home, and to have all those building compliances that Linda talked about, but the problem is that they won't get any houses built then, and so that's a real shame about this stepping back from the coalition's proposal and indeed the policy of zero carbon
I think the answer to all this is is twofold.
First of all you need to re-enact that, there need to be building regulations for, not just for the new build, but for retrofitting as well ,
that means that all places that we live in become sustainable.
But there is undoubtedly an issue in the short term at least that building greener their homes means often, not always, building more expensive homes.
So I think you should do two things at once: one have utterly rigorous completely sustainable zero carbon building regulations. Okay, and not just to offset the cost there, but because it's the right thing to do anyway we need to revisit completely, reform the land compensation act, so that you don't have this massively false inflated hope price of land, which means that you get houses when they are built that are far too expensive, particularly social rented housing is that much harder to develop, and indeed lower cost bought housing as well, so if you can take a huge chunk of the cost of building new properties out of that process, then you you've got a lot more room than just to make up a little bit, to use some of that spare money if you like, to make sure that all the homes we build are are carbon neutral, and are respectful of the environment in every other way
So it's a really good question I think that's what we should do
Not sure I hold out too many hopes this government doing it, but you know we will do our we'll do our best
Colour change, Clive. I mean, I've been around when the party couldn't make up its mind what its name was, that was a massive distraction and made us look silly and
I kind of think we're all right where we are I think the only part of the country where our colour is a bit of a problem is in Scotland where it's a bit similar to the SNP, otherwise you know yellow, orange, knock yourself out don't really mind, I don't think spending a vast amount of money on changing our colour is that important, although you know branding is significant, and I'm sure once we have a new leader looking at that kind of thing is not, I'm not being overly sniffy at it, but I think it's a thing that you you think about in the context of a kind of a rebranding of the party going forward towards the next general election
Which leading quite nicely to Laura's question
I think first of all, I think pacts generally speaking do you more harm than good.
There are occasions where they do you a bit of good, but you need to remember I mean there's all this fuss wasn't the down in them in Canterbury where we said why are we standing against that nice pro-remain Labour MP and well (A) because we're Liberal Democrats we're not Labour so we should be on the ballot paper
(B) who seriously thinks that any of those remaining Tories would have crossed over Corbyn's candidate? no chance. actually we did at the most service by standing and soaking up some of those Tory votes.
I think we have a much greater purpose in British politics than that.
But the idea that Liberal Democrats, Labour, and Green are only fishing in the same pool is bogus.
The simple reality is that for many of the seats the seats we hold, the seat we're in second 80 to 90 seats where we're in second, where we're up against the Tories, the people who decide whether we win or not, are people who tactically vote for Labour, yep, and Green, but also moderate sensible Conservatives, however they vote in their referendum, but who believe in a more compassionate and moderate politics And so part of the Labour party completely repels those people,
So the second thing I say, is that let's remember, or let's not misremember what's happened in the past, we're not in exactly the same territory, possibly nowhere near the same territory, that Paddy Ashdown and Tony Blair were in in the early mid 90s
but it's still an instructive period of time to look up, and remember, there was no pact, there was no pact, there was sensible behaviour, where Labour was second, we kind of left them to it, and when we were second they kind of left us to it, and where you had three people on a discussion panel, you know Robin Cook would have a go at Michael Howard, and Ming Campbell would have a go at Michael Howard, and Robin Cook and Ming Campbell would not ever go to each other
So some subtle things like that, and that delivered the biggest Tory defeat since the war.
So let's be clever and not think that we can do this in just some simple mathematical way, because it'll do us no good.
I do however think that our conversations with the new Labour leadership, you know behind closed doors conversations, are very important, because I think there's no path to a Tory minority, to the Tories has been defeated nationally, without the Liberal Democrats,
But I think we have to accept after the December election, that we won't be the people leading that charge, but in a very large chunk of the country in England and Scotland, and now Wales actually we are crucial to them losing.
But we do that intelligently and that will probably mean not a simple, well it should be not a simple pact, because I think that makes us less than the sum of our parts.
Keith: great thank you very much
Jane: I really like golden, the question about the colours, because you can always see Martin your background is looking quite golden green there so it's like
Martin: golden green yeah maybe maybe there's an option there. We're now up to nearly 100 participants in this session which is fantastic, and I just want to point out to people if you've got the usual zoom format I know it differs a little in different on different platforms, but if you look at the bottom you'll see 95 participants, you can also see the chat button and there's some interesting comments like excellent speech, great speech, clap, fab Tim, I think we can be a little less kind of deferential actually, but if you want to make a comment as the session goes on, then click on chat, you can also click on the Q&A button on the right, and that's the place to post these questions that that Jane and I are picking up. And I've got three now. One from Kevin Daws one from Matthew Hulbert and a really rather evil one from Joe Dodd
Kevin says Covid 19 has had an effect on everyone's life, but how do we prevent a return to business as usual as the government wants (and that is their language) isn't its return to normality, and give an opportunity for a green recovery based on social justice, a just transition, and being delivered in partnership with trade unions and business, so how do we prevent that just business as usual becoming the narrative
Second question from Matthew Holbert wasn't an issue in the last election for us but, that we didn't talk anywhere near enough about bread and butter issues, I think this was partly the point you made in a speech about we have to reach out to readers beyond our bubble. Matthew says issues of concern to working-class communities in the Midlands and elsewhere
My final one is from Joseph Dodd who has picked up your your challenge to come up with succinct messaging, and has just asked: why is Liberalism the answer to the environmental challenges we face?
Tim: super,, right, well there you are but three brilliant questions I think first of all so Kevin I think the business as usual stuff, so this is potentially one of those traps because, if you're dealing with people who are serving people,? or indeed you may even be one of those people whose livelihood has been turned upside down and you're desperate to get back to work of one kind or another, then that is what you're going to want to do and so we need not to be falling in the trap of of saying that people can't go back to work if it is safe to do
So I still think the British people are hugely cautious about Covid 19, particularly older people, and therefore we need to be those who are saying, we've got to be careful saying being led by the science
Yes we should be led by the science, but in the end politicians make decisions. So I think we don't want to be cast as the party trying to stop the economy getting back to business, and I would be very cautious if I was Kier Starmer about being in that position as well.
the simple fact is that the economy will ...
let's say there isn't a second peak anytime soon, or at all that'd be wonderful, but and then business does sort of get itself back into some kind of normality in the coming months.
That doesn't change the fact that we now for the first time since the early 1960s have a national debt greater than our entire GDP. and that is critical, and how that is related to in the months and years to follow is where the opportunity to do things differently comes
Are we going to start taxing people to the billyo to be able to recoup some of that money, or start being austere, or clamping down on expenditure, which many of the Tories donors and key people at the top will want them to do, or are we going to recognise that it's expensive, as I said earlier whatever we do.
It's expensive to let people rot, and it's expensive to keep the economy going, there isn't a third cheap option. And so we need to be on that side
and so I think "business as usual" which we're opposed to, maybe that isn't af phrase we should use
maybe it's how we rebuild society better, and that's going to happen over months and years, and it's not as though even if Covid 19 disappears in August and we never see it again, the economic challenge will continue for generations potentially
and it's how we react to that and the Conservatives won't react to it sensibly, or in a progressive way, we have to have options and proposals that that are
So maybe don't criticise business as usual because to some people that just means "I can't afford to pay my mortgage or my rent or feed my kids because I need to get back to my minimum wage job "
and we do not want to be cast on the other side of those people
Care for our environment cannot come at the cost of compassion for our people
Which I think moves me on to Matthew's excellent question and I think Matthew you and I understand what we mean by bread and butter issues, and it's about the simple stuff that keeps you going, that makes people get up in the morning, and that they may well relate to public service issues, like health and policing and the quality and extent of provision for schooling for your kids, and what have you ,
but they also about whether or not you can pay the bills, and so on, and I think we do need to talk about those things. If we're not careful though, for so many people, and emotional messaging, you know people get more wound up about a statue than they do about whether or not they're going to get a pay rise, and that is a bizarre situation we find ourselves in
So what we've got to not do at any point, whilst we talk about those bread and butter issues, we've got to be super careful not to throw petrol on the culture war fire at the same time, and I think these traps are easy to spot
For what it's worth, for all of his failings I do think Joe Biden and his team are doing a reasonably good job of trying to avoid those kind of flash points in the States
And so I just hope kind of the progressives around the western world are beginning to see, look what's the point in playing to these people's strong points, we may as well talk about, as you say, the bread and butter issues, and we need to help, so things like universal basic income which sound like some kind of like I say some think tanky idea which I know was our policy back in the 90s
I talked about the things that came out of our different vision back in the 80s early 90s that was one of them
but it sounded like these lovely sort of Liberal lefty greeny ideas
now it's of huge practical benefit to millions of people who can see what it would mean to them in their future, and not just enhance their economic and financial concerns right now but I guess if you've been, if you've had your hopes and dreams trashed, things were going well for you in February and then suddenly bang your children there on free school meals and you're going to the food bank, reminding all of us are only the two steps from the gutter which I hope is something we should probably all learn,
But I think even if you get back on your feet quickly, you know, because you've had that experience once, then it can all go pear shape like that.
And so knowing that universal basic income is there to be a proper safety net, I think is is a thing that will resonate, and that's, so I think that's both a compassionate ideological step in the right direction, but I think it is also an example of a bread and butter issue
Why is Liberalism the answer to the climate crisis
I think Joseph it's essentially, if you if you believe in individuals and you are a person who believes individual freedom, and Liberalism, and the best outcomes of people in their lives, then you want to do you do something which is going to be able to serve those people in generations to come, which is to preserve the planet upon which we upon which we live.
I think we shouldn't, I mean there's nothing more offensive to a non-welsh nationalist in Wales, to hear the phrase, the name, Plaid Cymru why? because it means party of Wales what a flipping arrogant assumption that they are the party of Wales, what about the Liberal Democrats, or the Labour Party, the Conservatives Party, that one might belong, to despite being proud and welsh and that says a lot to me
I had Mark Williams telling me that some time ago, don't ever call them Plaid Cymru, and all right okay I get it and I say the same thing about the Green Party, how dare you call yourself the green party as if you're the only people who think those things, its fantastically arrogant and so ,
in which case I'm not going to be equally arrogant to say it's only us, I think it's only by a coalition of ideas and politicians and people of different perspectives, are we going to tackle the environmental crisis
But I said the beginning I think we're uniquely placed to lead in this sense, because we have always cared about the environment, we've always been a party that believes in a rational science-based approach to politics, and that is a thing which has always been part of us, and informs what we do, but on the other side, it's also relevant that we're a party that understands business, that believes in private enterprise as well as a strong public sector, and as a consequence we are actually have an ability I think to engage with the realities of the world in which we live, and in which perhaps the Green Party, the obsession with a very narrow ideology just never could
Jane: fantastic, so questions are coming in thick and fast here and we've got 17 open questions I'm going to go for the next three
So we've got one here that's got three thumbs up from Peter Dennis and his question is
Does HS2 represent a Keynesian investment or a white elephant - very relevant to the north west Tim I'm sure we've got a good answer for that one
and I'm gonna take another question here which just appeals to me personally I wonder if it's still there and I like this question from Leon Duveen who's talking about Greta Thunberg
I'm a big fan of Greta Thunberg
He says in his question
Greta Thunberg said we have seen how governments can act with the necessary force referring to the Covid crisis. How can we get them to act? (and I assume he means on the green front )
and there's another question here from Clive Trussell so here we go he's got two thumbs up for this one Clive Trussell's question is
I believe the Lib Dems are mainly responsible for the massive increase in wind and solar. Why is it not shouted loudly, are we too polite to ever win against the loudmouth opposition? go for it Tim
Tim: love it I'm gonna start with Clive's
one of my favourite critical quotes about ourselves and our creed is that: the definition of a Liberal is one who is so reasonable they won't take their own side in an argument and sometimes I feel there is something in that
You're absolutely right. I mean Ed Davey and Chris Huhne in their time in what was the Department of Energy and Climate Change undoubtedly left us in this situation where we have been able to have a coal-free energy existence these last two or three months for the first time since there was a grid and that is unbelievable and unimaginable that that could have been possible, it was entirely down to us
So yes I don't think we have the kind of sometimes the kind of self-belief, maybe we're just afraid of talking about the coalition we shouldn't be we should be proud of the achievements that we made there I think we should stop beating ourselves up about it
I think that the that practical progress that we made is something we should chat about an awful lot more
HS2 I think, so Keynesian or white elephant? it's a great question, I mean
I think but badly sold is my general take of HS2. So I think we should do it, and I think there are Keynesian reasons for doing it particularly now, because the jobs will be created because the economic energy that the very construction of it takes to to build.
I think that it's also worth bearing in mind, let's say it's badly sold. We're a small country, speed does matter but not that much, I mean as things happen as as things are now, from from the Lake District to London Euston it's 2 hours and 38 minutes. I'm not bothered about being much faster. the HS, Speed was never the argument or the main reason for High Speed 2. Its capacity
The west coast mainline is the most congested railway line in Western Europe I understand. So of course we need another one so build a flipping thing, you should just call it something else. And at a time like this then yes it would have been it will have the additional benefit of hopefully being an economic driver not just during its building but afterwards also.
Although I do often you know slightly dismiss HS2 as a Londoner's idea of what's good for the north. If only we could get to London a bit quicker everything would be great. And you know I'm not bothered frankly. When I started as an MP it was 3 hours 15 to get down to London, and the fact that it now takes me what you know six hours, less than six hours a week on the train, and it used to take me you know six and a half, that is half an hour worth answering me emails I don't get a week, so you know some people, they're not bothered about speeding on one of them um
I mean gGreta how do you get, so the economi,c the imperative that got people to answer the Covid crisis
the simple answer to that is, why were governments able to in differing ways, but undoubtedly in a relatively speaking speedy way, able to, you know, to take the action to tackle the Covid 19 crisis, and why are they being a lot more pathetic about the environmental crisis, because the latter doesn't feel quite so immediate
That's the simple answer, and so that that is why I do I think I think obviously the motivation particularly for Greta Thunberg's generation, and you know others as well, to understand that this is a planet that they're gonna inherit, that is in a bad way, and that we can actually scare the living daylights out of one another by what actually is potentially going to happen
I think that works to some people, and so understand that this is an imperative in a crisis, that's very important, and but I think you're also going to recognise that certainly in an era of fake news, and even just more generally you know, a human tendency to complacency, that is , it's still a hard sell to reach far beyond the Guardian reading orbit, so what do we do? and it's what I said earlier on we've got to see the tackling of the climate emergency as an almost joyous thing in itself, a thing which leads to the bettering of our economy, a sense o,f dare I say national pride, because we're doing these great things, and that has to happen country by country
and so yeah I think hectoring one another doesn't help an awful lot. you've gonna take people with us, and more more we can do to take the green agenda out of the battlefield of the culture wars the better, because if the likes of Trump think that by doing something you know utterly regressive, of which he's done, you know, several, and then he's somehow going to tick boxes with his troops in the culture war, then he'll do it, we've going to take that out of that space all together, and make sure that it is a unifying endeavour
If it's not something that 80% of the population of the planet buy into we're not going to win this one
And so this is you know we talked about whether it whether it's a uniquely Liberal calling, well maybe it is, but it's got to be inclusive otherwise we don't win. I think Greta Thunberg has been a really important voice in raising awareness and passion about this, and pricking the consciences of older people, inspiring the thoughts of younger people, and she has reached out and made that orbit wider, but it's not wide enough.
Jane: thank you Tim over to Martin
Martin: right okay well I've got three more questions one from Keith Melton
Tim do you feel your voters would appreciate a policy to reduce economic activity? TV has been showing long queues for clothes shops. Do we need to stop buying some any clothes?
It's an interesting quite a deep question that, that certainly wouldn't be returned to normality. I have one from, and I hope I'm getting the name right here Folketvenstra. How do you look at farming regarding climate change. I'm sure that's one close to your heart Tim, and then
Finally I've got it's got a technical question it's from Stephen Broadhead:
How do we encourage people to install solar panels on their roofs and he says I've got seven R.E.C and 1.67 kilowatt system German manufactured in Norway, the best in 2012 when they were installed. But it's true we've had governments of all colours including ours had a really checkered history of trying to encourage this we of course had the famous green deal which probably wasn't the coalition's finest moment, but trying to get that that those incentives rolling again after the way the Tories have rolled back on solar power is kind of quite a good nutty issue
Tim: yeah three really good questions. I mean I think Keith's question about what is essentially materialism, so I think people will make their own choices
I think that the Covid 19 crisis has revealed many things, for some people it's caused vast hardship, and yet that hardship could get worse. For other people they found themselves just not needing to spend so much money, and maybe they found themselves slightly better off as a consequence of all this, and they've discovered they don't need to do the shopping that they did. Having said that you look at the number of you know delivery vans up and down our street, and then you'll see people have shopped in a different way, not entirely environmentally friendly, it's probably significantly better for you to toddle into town in your hundreds and go to shops than it is to be buying stuff over the internet and having it delivered to your door.
But in any event, I think that we will see that people make their choices about how they shop going forward. I think there's that, in terms of regulation,s in our country we should not expect things to be sold that are sold by failure to comply with what we consider to be basic environmental standards, so as we talk about standards in the trade bill, these look at standards that we may have ourselves, not just in terms of you know labour rights, but also in terms of labour rights of where these things are purchased from, but also in terms of the environmental impac,t and I think it's absolutely right for us to have regulations enforceable that make it possible to deal with those things,
You know labelling only does so much good,I think it's important they actually have enforceable standards and again, I think I'd be very careful about us using the language that says that people have got to stop shopping, and that's not what you're saying
We've got to be careful how about how we're how we are heard,
and which kind of leads is also the kind of second question about about farming
I mean there's no two ways our existence on the planet, and the existence of other beasts on the planet, and the things that we do, have an impact upon the planet and so there are all sorts of people with theories about, well you know I've not eaten meat for 30 odd years, so I was in the vegetarian box not the vegan one at the beginning, and
But I think that nevertheless, I think that we have to recognise that this, you know we're an omnivorous species by and large, and that is how it's going to continue, and that we can take significant action to make sure the impact of farming is less.
And I'll tell you one thing which is critical, you know the provenance of the stuff that you eat is critical
if you eat beef for example, you eating beef that has you know been been raised in meadowland somewhere in the United Kingdom, versus beef that was cattle that were raised on pasture land, that was the amazon rainforest, in Brazil, the impact, so we often talk about you know food miles, well yeah the food miles of getting that meat over here is significan,t not nearly as significant though as the as the negative impact of the fact that you have turned forest into pastureland, and
So I think that you know, I am a Free Trade Liberal, but I think you can have rules, and you know you decide what other values we are going to stick by as a community as a society which is why the debate over the government's trade bill and the undercutting of British producers, farmers included, by those in the states who have lower standards, let's be honest often, why that's really important, it's not about us being fussy protectionists, it's about us saying: these are our values, and if you want to comply with these values, absolutely, our market is your market. That's absolutely it, but there have to be those rules and I think that's that's critical
I always think in terms of farming obviously matters to biodiversity, and there's an extreme way of looking at this I think, which is that you know if we stop farming then suddenly we'll get this wonderful growth of biodiversity and wilderness
Look if you think the unfettered free market is really damaging for the economy, I promise you it's the same for our flora and fauna as well, what happens in a free market if you don't regulate it, is that the big ugly guys end up squeezing everybody else out, that's exactly what happens if you leave a valley to complete wilderness, you don't get a beautiful array of all sorts of different things, you'll get one or two or three species pushing out everything else
So what our environment needs actually, just like our economy, is a bit of refereeing and stewarding, and yes, over-grazing and intensive farming is stuff that we need to absolutely move away from, and in large places and parts of the lakes for example we are doing,
But that doesn't mean you wipe those people out, because the most effective way to deliver public goods, environmental goods, and biodiversity, is actually to have people farming in those rural areas on the basis of those rules that we set out
and one thing the government's do which is in theory is a good thing, is moving towards this public goods, public money for public goods, idea which is underpinning the agriculture bill so so yeah
I think we've got to see farmers are not the enemy. I don't just say that because I represent loads of them, I just think when you're alongside them you realise that if we if we treat them as the enemy, that's going to have massive environmental consequences actually, as well as, let's be honest costing us a load of votes, which is pointless
and I mean look in the end I think that so yes, we had lots of really good things on the environment and on energy policy in government, but you know we also made some some errors, and I think that the kind of sort of U-turn we made over solar panels and feed in tariffs and so on was again, as Martin suggests, not our finest hour
You've got to make it, there was a real explosion in the number of people community groups, households and others, investing in solar panels. Actually under Ed Milliband's time in energy and climate change worth giving him some credit for as as well and yeah
That costs money, but the impact is huge. I think the connections are massively important, the upgrading of the grid is critically important, so we've got the capacity and the actual capacity to feed in, but I think you have to make people, make it worth people's while, they've not got to see this is something that you know their grandchildren might inherit some very benefits out of, lots of people will obviously be motivated by that, but others will want to be able to see an investment now, but a payback that they see coming year on year and year, that makes it feel like it was worth them doing it in the first place.
And again going back to my earlier answer, if you can lower the cost of building, and fundamentally land is the thing that you can do most with in terms of changing the input costs, then you've got the capacity to use some of those savings to enforce the installation of green energy of all kinds, of solar panels in particular,on all new build, and potentially maybe to to to ensure that there's wide scale retrofitting which is also going to be part of our agenda
Jane: yeah fantastic, I'm just hearing from the chat boxes here from various people that we should be giving Tim a clap, so I know we can't hear you here, so what I thought we could do is, if Martin and I clap it might be a bit of a sound, but maybe if everybody just types applause in the chat box, how about that? should we just do that for a minute, I'm gonna clap you Tim
Tim: thank you very much and there's okay that's right there's Frank Sidebottom
that's my real background hey
Jane: and it's almost like the Manchester United and whoever else they were playing football match last night isn't it with the canned sort of cloud yeah
Tim: yeah yeah but it was great and thank you quality applause, exactly,look at that clap clap
Martin: it's very impressive actually yeah, he's irritatingly eloquent on a platform and it turns out he's irritatingly eloquent on zoom as well oh definitely yeah
Jane: So have we got time for a couple more questions so let's see what we've got here there's some good questions coming in I'll try and pick ones people haven't actually asked questions yet, so I've got one here from Peter, not sure there's one befor,e from Peter Bruce, this question here and the question is
Do you think radical devolution is essential to combating climate change
again that's an interesting one
one from Peter Bruce, I'm not sure if it's the same Peter but I'll assume not, and it says
Lib Dems are often seen as lecturing the right solution to the voter. Re-emerging from the Covid lockdown can we make the new green economy with its well-being social benefits a bottom-up and national Lib Dem dialogue that can engage with people to rebuild our base
I suppose it could be linked with the other question, and then there's oh and let's see there's another question coming up,
Here's a quite complex one here from Jock
Martin go for the last two because we've only got about seven minutes
Jane let's just go for oh what we got here oh this is all applause applause
We've got one from Jason Billin here he's talking about given that in many rural areas opposed to large scales have we done that one the solar - do you have any tips on how to get local authorities this would be a good one because it's a local government one - to push for unused large flat roofs, like supermarkets etc, if they're brought in to use as urban solar farms
so hey go for those questions Tim
Tim right okay so well Peter One devolution I think so so yes
I think the language of devolution is not something particularly excites the voter, much as it may excite us.
I think however if you empower local authorities to take meaningful action on climate change many of them will, and you know we've at South Lakeland district council we've got a majority, our leader Giles Archibald undoubtedly one of his top two priorities is is the climate emergencies, and superb work on that.
If you ask him as I often do what's the one thing I could do to help you do what you want to do on these issues, it would be: give me the power to enforce zero carbon development, and planning authorities to be able, and planning decisions, to be able to say to developer you have your planning permission on this condition, and enforce it, and the absence of that, the fact that it's now sort of guidance rather than instruction, means that the council is is very open to appeal, and to defeat and huge costs, if they go too far and trying to force people to do the right thing
So that that's the kind of the practical devolution, so that councils can… we know that even if the government was to compensate local authorities fully over the cost that they've incurred, lost income, lost savings, opportunities, vastly increased expenditure over Covid 19.
even if you did that, they generally speaking don't have the financial heft to do some of the stuff you'd want, but given the powers, and planning is a great way to be able to force other people to do the things that are, they they're the kind of public's priorities, so yeah certainly yeah I think I mean you know
My disco point really is about the lecturing. you've gotta, I referred
to Hillary Clinton and the basket of deplorables, and I don't mean to be unfair to Hillary Clinton I mean she basically won the popular vote, and she'd have been an infinitely better president than when we got now, so I don't want to be mean to her, but it often stands out what you say, and how people hear it, are very different things
When Hillary Clinton had a go at the basket of deplorables, she was talking about Ku Klux Klan people and so on, who were backing Trump, that's what she meant, but what middle America, blue overall America heard, was that she thought they were deplorable, for even toying with the idea of voting for Trump. And if the electorate think you don't like them, don't be surprised if they don't vote for you
And that is the critical thing for us.
The Liberal left in the broadest possible sense in our country and other western democracies, has to learn to love the people, because they're not gonna love us, until we can show them that we do
and then yeah I mean a lovely practical, so actually goes back to the devolution question Jason, local authorities and flat-topped buildings, look I mean probably where the most preponderance of flat top buildings will often be in town centres, in high streets, they were already pretty depleted before Covid 19 and are now potentially facing their greatest crisis ever, so what can we do to make it more affordable, more profitable, to run a shop, or own a shop, on a high street in a town or village centre?
Well how about making it so that you have a serious financial payback via hosting green energy, and in particular of course solar panels upon your roof
So I think we've got to look creatively about how w,e you know no one has needed to have a build back better future than the high street which was already knackered to start off with, and this is an opportunity potentially for us to reinvent the high street, and so if you can reduce the cost of running a shop massively, or increase the revenue streams that help offset that, then suddenly you know you're looking at a very different kind of field out there, where it's possible to make a smaller profit, but still happily exist, because you've got income coming from other sources, so those are the kind of creative things that we need to do, and Jason is a really good point right
Martin: well we've got a couple of minutes maybe we could fit in one more, let's see if the
Jane Lloydie's come on too hi brought in
Lloydie you've got time for a couple more you want
Martin: we've we can we can manage it we're being comped out there's there's one quite direct and local here from Nick Sanford
Should we have more forests in the Lake District to encourage biodiversity
Tim yeah if theyre the right sort of forests
so have you got two yeah I've got
Martin another one from Nigel Quinton
the government seems to be making a bid for making the UK a leader in hydrogen, do we have a handle on this ? this is true we have to keep ahead of this yeah and then
Finally from Merilyn Francis??? rather a nice one so
do we need a ministry of land use
I i fear for what the Tories would do with it honestly, but oh yeah and those over to you is your last three
Tim: nigel merlin and then oh yeah
so forests I mean yeah I mean I think when all said and done, paying farmers and landowners land managers public money for public goods includes, you know long-term change use of that
And the reality is that you can have mixed grazing and woodland believe it or not, you need to manage it very carefully in its first few years, but after that entirely doable, and there's lots of places that do that already, it's going to be the right sort of the right sort of trees, we've got to make sure that they allow biodiversity around them, and they're also going to contribute not just in terms of being a carbon sink, but also to help in in water retention and in flood management.
If you want something to be carbon sink quick, then actually peatland is much much more easily achieved, and restoration of peatland, which is actually the picture that was behind, me can I do that again,
there we go picture which is now behind me that is indeed an area which is wet mostly very well behind us just down the road near Briggs Deer ???? a lot of the land to the right of of where I met that picture is, is, is restored peatland and you can basically have a carbon benefit within 18 months of the work beginning, and which is much quicker than than woodland, so I'm going to look at all ways in which the countryside and particularly the uplands can benefit to the to the retention of carbon, and indeed to all the other benefits that you get from change land use, but I don't think, the thing to remember in all this it's not woodland or farming, it's woodland and farming and how are you
what's the cheapest most effective way of developing that - it's actually to have somebody who farms those valleys and knows that countryside who will maintain and be paid to maintain the woodland, particularly as it grows
but yes it is a short answer to that question
Talking about hydrogen, so I'm no expert in all this, but I think you know what what our our research and development in this country, we need to invest in much more, we need to see the opportunities where we can become world leaders, we've missed too many of those in the past, or had leadership positions that we've squandered because of poor public policy decisions, wind being the perfect example, we know of course that late c70s early 80s we were absolute world leaders in the technology of wind power, and that was sort of frittered away through the 80s and 90s through very poor decisions.
So let's make sure we grab the opportunity, now something that's absolutely right, and then yeah develop land use I mean, yeah, potentially I think again we are going through a period of time now, and it will you know even if all infections evaporate in a month's time, and we never see the disease again, I'm afraid that isn't likely, but let's say even that was the case, the legacy the economic legacy will be with us for a long long long long long time
and so the need to have intelligent control from the centre and indeed from local authorities is important.
for all the way things were up until the time of Margaret Thatcher was far from perfect, and I don't want to emulate that kind of state, but there's a sense in which that from the 1980s onwards successive governments have just basically been breaking the levers so when you pull them nothing works, if you're at centre, and when you're in the midst of an economic crisis, and you're trying to change the direction of the country, when you're trying to instil in a very effective way values as the part of your as part of your recovery, you want to pull levers that will actually be connected to something and change things.
And so yes potentially, a Department of Land Use might well have something, it's got a very wartime feel to it, and as Martin alluded to that also gives potential power to people to do things we'd really rather didn't do, particularly in terms of bulldozing a lot more green space than we'd want them to, but I think you know in the right hands it could potentially be quite an effective tool.
Jane hey so I think we're getting towards lunch here now, and I've just got a message from Keith Melton, our Green Liberal Democrat chair, he particularly wants his own special and personal thanks to go up to Tim there up there in the northwest from Keith Melton
Martin and I think actually that has to be it unfortunately
there's been a suggestion that if we now unmute everybody we could hear proper applause I don't know ... the amazing Lloydy by the way has been working all sorts of technical miracles in the background here,
Lloydy and a lot of that isn't me I'd love to take the credit for that, but a large amount of that isn't me but a wonderful colleague called Caron
Martin the background technical team yeah yeah but
Jane: I wonder if the clap would work I've heard when it's like a choir singing or something you need some special kind of mixing or something for it to work. but hey
Martin you can try the collective unmute. otherwise just for us to say thank you very much Tim it's great, thank you ,and that was a really inspiring message and you can see live on the chat box this is very different to to a conference speech because you get the live comments, but they're all positive they're all positive very good it's very good to hear from you thank you very much Tim
Tim: thanks for having us and I i I give a comment so obviously a quick rapid choice of background there so just to be clear the sun
i I i am small and the sun is far away and just in case you wanted another representation of that there we go and
Jane I think you've been this Frank Sidebottom might be coming that that there from the minute then
Tim well if I get rid of you there you probably can't quite see there he is yes
Jane frank beginning and Tim was mentioning he's a big fan of Frank Sidebottom a lot of people I imagine if it was live there'd be a few frowns and shows going on there
Tim he spawned I mean if Mrs Merton the character Mrs Merton means anything to you he spawned her she began on his show and Mark rRashord ??? he's a, if you know nothing about him, the film the, the, this poster behind me is a film, totally utterly not really based on him at all it just looks like it but that's another point
If you were to honestly give yourself 15 minutes and go on youtube and look at Frank's fantastic shed show, and if it leaves you bewildered, that was the point
Martin I think it was more comfortable with the peat bog to be honest after your earlier answer we have the next slogan which is more bogs for Britain
Lloydie: There you go of all of the things that I thought I would hear this afternoon Frank Sidebottom chat wasn't one of them but I'm very glad of it, when I was 15 years old and desperately wanted to work in radio and did my own bedroom radio show, I sent Frank Sidebottom a cassette in the post, and I said would you record a jingle for me, he didn't just do that he recorded about 20.
sent them back to me
It was by far the best thing I ever played on my bedroom radio show
Tim amazing so, this is a slight indulgenc,e but as Jane will tell you when I went to speak at Altringham and Sale Lib Dems in about 2007 at Timperly Liberal Club I think, and I couldn't, anyway they got Frank, bless him, to come to the Liberal club and do a welcome to me
I've got the DVD downstairs very proudly preserved, and it's it's welcome I can't remember much of it but its welcome Tom Farron, Timperley is much prettier than the Lake District, but I treasure it to this day
Jane so I'll invite everybody to Timperley because that's where where he's a,t so that's where I live a ward councillor for 20 years, so do come along
Lloydie: oh well I'll have to on pilgrimage
now it seems only right 83 people still aren't out there
Jane go and protect the statue yes yes apparently got a mask on to protect him from Covid is that right oh brilliant he really has amazing well
Lloydie Thank you again so much Tim and also thank you to Martin and Jane for stewarding all of those many questions so much, really very very much appreciated indeed, so thank you ever so much
If you are watching this and one of the many people watching this and you want to tweet about it please do please tweet about all of the things that you are seeing, all the things that you are hearing, and let's create a little bit of social buzz on twitter about it
There is some lunch very soon, you get to you get to eat the lunch you voted on very very soon, but first, want to welcome into the digital space somebody who has, well, who knows a little bit about digital, because he does a bit of social media stuff for the Green Liberal Democrats, to talk about the photography competition please welcome Kevin Daws
Kevin: good afternoon how how are you
Lloydie: oh you know what I'm very good I've had I've had tea, there's been stimulating chat, it's been really really interesting, and Frank Sidebottom talk which I didn't even legislate for so it's very very no
Kevin Daws: coping with the unexpected but no I really enjoyed Tim's speech as well I thought that was very good but but fire away you want me to talk a little bit about the photography challenge
yes please yeah
Kevin: I mean the photography challenge came about I, I'm not the world's best photographer I'm a keen one
I'm an enthusiast but I'm not a good on,e but I'm involved in my local camera club and I made the error in a conversation with Keith Melton, the chair of Green Lib Dems, saying during the lockdown I'm organising these lockdown challenges my local camera clubs, so people who can do something at home, still be engaged, and not just get bored out their minds, and he turned around and said, can you do that for us for the conference, and this was about three weeks ago, so lots lots of notice, and so that's what I've done
I've organised three different challenges, they were open from the day they went on the website about two weeks ago, and the first one was called Covid19 and Lockdown, because, it's been a unique experience for all of us Covid, it's touched everyone's life in whatever way that is, and so I thought it'd be good just to let people submit some photographs they've taken since the official lockdown, which I think started on 23rd of March, and we've had a number of people submit, and that I got a professional photographer called Ian Green to to judge the first theme, and the reason I picked him, he wasn't just picked out of a hat, I mean he he is local to me but I've not actually met him, but what I did learn when I was doing the social media for Green Lib Dems, there's an organisation called Flight Free UK, which is encouraging people to to either not fly at all, or fly less, and I stumbled across the biography of Ian because he gave up flying for 14 years ago for environmental reasons, and so he now focuses his photography business, and what what he does in his locality in Gloucestershire, but he travels around the UK, but no more flying.
So I thought you couldn't find a better combination of a someone who's got very clean green credentials, along with being a professional photographer. So Ian has actually judged those. We received 14 photographs for the first first challenge. Hopefully we'll get even more in the next two challenges. I mean the second theme which is live now and closes next Thursday at midnight
is 30 Days Wild. I chose that as a title because one of the things I think we want to try and put over as part of the green lagenda is the health and well-being agenda, and 30 days wild is a challenge that the wildlife trusts have been running in the UK for a number of years now, and that embraces all that, and I thought why try and come up with some clever words when there's something there already, and if people go to the photography page on the website, I've actually put a link into the world wild life trust, but that's what we're trying to encapsulate in the second challenge, and the third one which closes the following Thursday second of July is just what would you like to change in your area
so go out take photographs of preferably environmental green issues, which you would like to do something about, that you'd like to campaign on, or even if you're not prepared to campaign or you'd like to see change in your locality
so that's what I've tried to do
I mean what one of the spin-offs of doing this photography competition is that we will hopefully have lots and lots of photos that we can use on the Green Lib Dems website, because we never have enough and we need more, I mean all 14 that were submitted for the first theme are now upon on the website, with the feedback comment from Ian from his judging. Sorry I went on bit there
Lloydie that's all right I'd imagine you'd probably want to use them on our social media channels as well if you can
Kevin: yes it's been going out on twitter and instagram as well as on on the website. I mean Joe who's taken over social media has been tweeting about it, but but I've been pushing stuff out on the green Lib Dems instagram account as well, but hopefully if the competition can get little mentions during the course of this conference then that might increase the level of interest and participation
Lloydie: absolutely so if somebody's just listened to you and thought right yes, that sounds like the kind of thing that I want to do, I should find out about that during the upcoming lunch break, what do they need to do Kevin
Kevin: they can go to the green lib domes website and there is a page called photography hyphen 2020. I mean all the photographs that are coming through to me, so I'm very happy to give out the email address that we're using for the competition which is kevin.daws at greenlibdems.org.uk, but that's a hyperlink on the web page as well, but if if they just email me directly that's fin,e it'll still come to me. but obviously going through the website will give a better feel for what we're trying to achieve, especially the participation that we'd like to see
Lloydie: fantastic well thank you very much for that just repeat your email address kevin.daws at greenlibdems.org.uk
Kevin: I mean I i don't know whether anyone's giving you a link to the website so people you can see the photographs that have been submitted on the first scene.
Lloydie: I'm sure somebody can put it in the chat in just a few moments so we can or indeed you could put it there yourself in just a few seconds Kevin, just ahead of lunch if I can see, it yes wonderful yeah I will, I will leave you to do that then if that's okay Kevin, but thank you so much for talking about that
yeah if there's any other questions fire away but as I say the big thing we want is both participation and lots of photos our website
that's wonderful and George has actually just put the link in the chat right now so if people are interested you can just at the bottom of your screen, click on chat and there it will be. wonderful thank you ever so much indeed for that much appreciated Kevin
So the next session ah got Caron on screen as well, hello, the next session is ban nuclear weapons to pay for Covid 19 recovery, it's happening here in the conference hall at 2 30. What we've got now is a chance to to eat.
Caron: there is there is a chance to eat. We have got the meeting hall which is the other space connected to this, but because we're all in here everybody can't get into the other space, so I'm going to wrap this one up here. People can go and either spend time in the meeting hall or there are eight other video rooms that are listed in the conference manual for some different breakout chats
So I'd just like to thank Lloydy for being our wonderful compere, and thank you all for being participatory in the chat, putting your questions forward, and do enjoy the rest of the conference, and Lloydy what time must everybody be back here
Lloydie: uh they need to be back here for 2 30
Caron: 2 30, so 2 30 everybody in the conference hall
shortlink to this page: http://grn.lib.dm/a41dpl