There is a small head of steam building up behind the idea that Tim Farron should not be returned to the position of Lib Dem President unopposed in the incipient round of internal party elections.
Tim has been a great President in my view. He (usually) gets the tone right on issues and he is an excellent media performer. He is also very good at engaging with the party grass-roots both in face-to-face and online fora.
However I agree that he should be challenged for the Presidency for the following reasons:
- No matter how good someone is in a position, even if they are the likely winner (as I suspect Tim would be even if challenged) it can only help to make them raise their game further, to ensure their views on issues are made clear and where necessary challenged.
- An election such as this is a good opportunity for other people in the party to raise their profile, both internally with members but also more widely. The party is in government so who fills this position has wider consequences as they will be presiding over a party that has executive power. For this reason there will be heavier coverage of this than in elections before 2010.
- I think it is a chance for someone who is not and has not previously been a parliamentarian to have a shot. My gut tells me it would be better if the winner was not a current or former MP or peer (although in practice this has never happened since the current party's formation in 1988). We have lots of talent within the party and it would be a chance for some of that to shine through. For example strong campaigners who just missed out on winning seats in previous elections such as Bridget Fox, Katy Gordon and Ed Fordham amongst many others would be worthy candidates.