My membership came up for renewal a couple of weeks back. I put off renewing until after payday for entirely practical reasons. I had been on a bit of a "Lib Dem high" of late with the Lib Dem fightback rhetoric and the prospect of a new leader. I even decided to defend my choice for leader, Tim Farron, from some attacks on his record on same-sex marriage.
How quickly my mood can change. I must be very fickle. But in the wake of his interview with Cathy Newman on Channel 4, I can no longer force myself to give Tim Farron the benefit of the doubt. I'd done that after serious concerns before and this... this is the straw that broke the camel's back.
If someone asked me "Do you think practicing Christianity is stupid?", I'd say no. So I'm not really sure I share others nuanced views of Farron's inability to answer a similar question about homosexuality and sin. I get the theological arguments. I get that "it's complicated" probably is a good answer for a short interview and expressing his views might take forever. But really, ultimately, it is a yes or no question. The fact he couldn't answer broke my liberal heart. How different things are under Farron than under Clegg...
But far worse than his interview has been watching Lib Dems engage in theological and philosophical debates over homosexuality, stretching partisan apologia into the realms of Christian apologists. This just isn't the party I thought it was. I got it wrong, I'm sure the party is the same as ever.
As some have said "Well you didn't mind Kennedy?". I didn't. But I thought the way Clegg dealt with religion and sexuality was a breath of fresh air. I've been spoilt and obviously ruined.
I'd say one of my personal fundamental red lines is "homosexuality is not a sin". I cannot follow a man who believes otherwise or refuses to take a stand on that stance. Thus I won't be renewing my lapsed membership. I hope, for this country's sake, the Lib Dems prosper and flourish under Tim Farron's leadership. I see no other party even close to matching my political beliefs. But I won't be there to prosper along side you.