Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

Tim Farron bangs the anti-Brexit drum as he reaches for the centre ground

Tim Farron’s hardest task in his conference speech today was convincing people to actually listen. A test of how successful he was will be how soon into the 6pm news tonight he pops up on screen (following Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s reported split, the signs don’t look good). So what did Farron do to try and get people to sit up? Banging the anti-Brexit drum was one of his main tactics. Farron promised…

‘Not a re-run of the referendum, not a second referendum, but a referendum on the terms of the as-yet-unknown Brexit deal’

The Lib Dem leader did, to be fair, do his best to empathise with those who voted to ‘Leave’ but instead he’s more likely to have left them rather wound up.

Farron said many of those who wanted the UK to leave the EU were ‘my people’. It is true that Farron does have something in common with them: as he pointed out, he shares a home county with many of those who wanted out (in Lancashire, two-thirds of people backed Brexit in some areas). Yet the comparisons don’t go much further than that. Farron couldn’t have made it clearer that he thinks the Brexit vote is an occasion for mourning rather than an opportunity. In his own words, the referendum outcome is a ‘calamity’ or a ‘bereavement’. But he went beyond just name calling. After taking a pop at George Osborne for his tactics during the referendum, he dished out a bit of unfounded spin of his own:

‘Three months on, it isn’t good enough to have brainstorming sessions at Chequers while investment and jobs steadily bleed away.

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