Party leaders stepping down after defeat is all too common nowadays in politics. A leader stepping down after gaining seats is a lot less frequent.
So it comes as a surprise to many that, after gaining seats in the 2017 general election, Tim Farron has stepped down as leader of the Liberal Democrats. Yet Theresa May is still Prime Minister… That’s beside the point, but it is upsetting to see that the MP for South Lakes stepped down from his leadership position, after a relatively more successful election.
More distressing though, were his reasons for stepping down. In his departing statement, he said he was “torn between living as a faithful Christian and serving as a political leader”. Now let’s cut that down to what he really means. Farron has been constantly battered asking about his views on homosexuality due to his belief in Christianity. Constantly. He admittedly did not help himself, as his abstinent voting record on LGBT+ rights have shown, he’s tried to avoid the issue. Even in interview, he’s implied that it is a sin, according to his religion, but he moves past it for his ‘liberal and progressive’ attitudes.
Alright, so he holds a difficult stance on the issue, between his religion and liberal policy. In my personal opinion, he could have dealt with this better. There is no excuse for homophobia, but this wasn’t that. What is astounding is that he has been bullied so much for this in the media. Constantly having has character criticised for an issue he’s tried to hold back on.
Why him? When Theresa May actively voted against LGBT+ rights throughout her entire time as an MP, which has included a campaign to “beat out Lesbianism” in her early days as an MP. It’s sad that the media does this. It’s sad that a man with very few faults politically otherwise, in an already difficult job, is broken down and ultimately forced to resign, due to attack after attack on an issue that plenty of other politicians that actually are part of the main party in power (one of which is even Prime Minister) hold actual open views against equality.
It’s staggering, and it’s a defeat for society. Tim Farron was a principled man. Flawed, yes. Wrong, probably. But a good politician, a good leader, and a good liberal. However, when society, damns you for one thing that people with more power can use to divert attention off of themselves, you really don’t stand a chance.
Tim Farron standing down is a defeat for our society, whichever way you look at it.