Today Tim Farron came to visit Wales to launch the Welsh Lib Dems' campaign and my team and I travelled to Cardiff Bay to witness the occasion. The weather seemed un-typically Welsh, and as soon as the battle bus arrived huge cheers rang out through the crowds. Welsh party leader Mark Williams welcomed Tim before giving a rousing speech, highlighting the importance of the Single Market to Welsh farmers and businesses. All of us stood behind Tim and Mark, orange diamonds in hand, heads nodding at a steady pace throughout. For many members present, the issue of Europe is why they joined, and I hope it’ll be the reason for many more joining, too.
After Tim's turn to address the lively audience, I was the first of the parliamentary candidates to join him on the podium. Whilst photographs were being taken we managed to find something we had in common: the struggles of running for parliament during our exams. As he would later explain to me in more detail, it was a young Tim Farron and Theresa May that went head-to-head in 1992. He joked that he only lost by a mere twenty *thousand* votes. Even with the weather starting to turn more Welsh, the huddle around us managed a hearty laugh.
My team and I were delighted at the number of media people that approached us, either for a chat or to arrange an interview. There seemed to be a real sense that the Welsh Liberal Democrats were looking strong in this election, and the media weren’t leaving without distributing their cards and candidates talked to. Finally, after Tim had given his last interview, crowds started to dissipate and he met a gaggle of Lib Dem university students for a photo and chat. There was just time for one final dose of laughter, as a young boy sat in the driver’s seat of the battle bus, and Tim joked that we’d found our new driver.
Everybody I met today, upon finding out that I’m a 19-year-old parliamentary candidate, greeted me with a sense of excitement. Time after time I heard ‘thank goodness you’re running: we need more young people in parliament!’. I couldn’t agree more.
Rory Daniels is the Welsh Lib Dem candidate for Llanelli