Tim Farron speaks at Cambridge Union, talks Brexit and claims ‘Farage is into cheap lager’
The Lib-Dem leader spoke to students about Brexit and a ‘fact averse nationalist elite’
I did not know what to expect when told I was going to be interviewing Tim Farron, the leader of the Liberal Democrats.
He is widely viewed as a man on a mission: to push his party into the centre of the British political narrative once again. He did not disappoint.
Telling the chamber that he blames a ‘fact averse nationalist elite’ for running a dishonest campaign for Brexit, with a wider ambition to sever our ties from the European community, Farron spoke about his desire for a second referendum.
Separating their nationalism from his own patriotism, he offered the distinction by speaking about the hours spent in the 80s idolising Gary Lineker: “I would say I am a patriot and not a nationalist – patriots love their country and nationalists hate their neighbours”.
Conceding that there is now a democratic mandate for Brexit, Farron dwelled on the specific point of British membership of the European Economic Community, telling students that “the people did not vote to leave the common market”, arguing “if you trusted the people with their departure, you must trust them with their destination too”.
Speaking very shortly after the announcement that Zac Goldsmith was standing down as MP for Richmond Park, a previous safe seat for the LibDems, Farron said “if we threw the kitchen sink at Witney [referring to the recent by-election], we’ll throw a whole house at Richmond”.
He spoke exasperatedly about the state of the Labour Party, stating “There is a role now for a party that can act as a serious opposition to the Conservatives”, and “I look at the Labour party now and think you cannot be serious”. He sees the Conservatives as the ‘opposition’ and Labour as the ‘competition’.
After the debate, I spoke to him one-on-one about some other topics.
“Mr Farron, would you rather go for a pint with Jeremy Corbyn or Nigel Farage?” I asked a little reservedly. He chuckled.
“I sort of have gone for a pint with Nigel Farage before actually… I don’t know about Jeremy Corbyn, I haven’t spent enough time with him for that to happen. I’m sure he looks like a real ale man, when I’m sure Farage is into his cheap lager.”
Happy with that answer, I moved on to speak to him about any advice he had for wannabe student politicos, considering his political career started after being President of Newcastle University’s Student Union. He said that the most important advice he can offer is to “stay normal” and “don’t take it too seriously”. CULC and CUCA take note.
I do hope Nigel Farage felt lucky to have had a pint with him.