Jeremy Corbyn's "irrational and unelectable" Labour party would help the Liberal Democrat fightback, according to new Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.
Farron, who replaced Nick Clegg as party leader earlier this month, visited an independent record shop on Wednesday to announce that the fightback following a devastating election night – which left the party with eight MPs – had officially begun.
In the shop, Farron met two newly elected Lib Dem councillors and said the party could be helped by an increasingly likely Corbyn victory.
"If the Labour party shifts in a direction which is extreme and not liberal, or even less liberal than it is now, we will be a home for Liberals wherever they're from," said Farron.
"The great concern is that the Labour party looks to be in the position where it's not doing any opposing at all, and the opposing it might end up doing could be of an irrational and unelectable nature. The Tory party will be in power forever if there isn't a proper electable, credible alternative, and we're happy to be that."
Farron purchased a live Kraftwerk album in the Banquet Records store in Kingston, which he said was recorded "five or six years before they were known in the UK".
"Last year was the biggest year for vinyl sales since 1985," said Farron. "It's a wonderful, serendipitous accident that I'm a vinyl nerd as well, but if we want to draw analogies [with the Lib Dems], it's something people had written off which is bouncing back."
Farron, who was in a band as a teenager that "aspired to be a second-rate Kraftwerk", said he owns thousands of records which he keeps in a piece of furniture his children call "Daddy's pop cupboard".
"When I go to the big city I'm like a northern hick who is overwhelmed by the fact that there's any choice [of vinyl] whatsoever," he said. "I use iTunes, but it's far better to do this. There are worse nerdy hobbies you can have."
The party leader added that he didn't feel let down when Clegg rejected a spokesperson role in the new Lib Dem frontbench team.
"I wanted him to do it but I didn't twist his arm too much," said Farron. "The guy has absolutely earned his right to a summer off, and he will be very much involved. I was at an event with him last week and I've had a number of one-to-ones with him over the past couple of weeks."
It is understood that Farron wanted Clegg to be the party's foreign affairs spokesperson, and the new leader said Clegg will "have a role" in the party's EU referendum campaign.
Until the referendum campaign starts, Farron will continue to lead the Lib Dem "fightback", he said – and he claimed the party is in "surprisingly good health", despite taking "a clobbering" in the election.
"What we've seen is the Liberal Democrats in surprisingly good health after the election," said Farron. "Recent council by-elections are a sign of the fightback. People know Britain's liberal voice needs to be preserved."
Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.
Contact Jamie Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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