For a man who claims that Christians are being silenced in society, Farron never shuts up.
Whatever happened to the days when everyone assumed Tim Farron was just a nice, albeit, forgettable bloke? I guess Farron followed the path most “nice guys” go down. It turns out he’s a self-important whiner.
Since stepping down as leader of the Liberal Democrats, Farron has barely shut up. What is truly staggering though is that he consistently goes back to how Christians are somehow being silence while writing articles, giving interviews and delivering speeches. It’s as ridiculous as when a transphobe turns up on Radio 4 and complains they’re being no-platformed.
So just a reminder of how Farron’s career fell apart – he refused to answer whether he thought two people of the same gender having sex is a sin. This matters. It’s not about personal beliefs when you’re talking about an elected official whose record on queer rights was sketchy at best. Farron complained bitterly that the media stitched him up, but the media has to scrutinise politicians and it does matter to queer people whether he thinks some of them are committing a sin. Farron refuses to take accountability, and despite his proclamations that he’s a proud liberal, the media have been blamed for doing their job. He’s gone even further in recent times, saying how Christians are treated unfairly in society (despite having seats in the House of Lords, I assume that slipped his mind). Farron has this week given a speech that is even more nauseating that in his past statements.
“It’s not about personal beliefs when you’re talking about an elected official whose record on queer rights was sketchy at best”
Farron firstly claims that members of the right wing press are liberals. The word ‘liberal’ was already heading towards redundancy, but Farron has sealed its fate with that statement. Are the media being liberal when they question the validity of trans lives? Are right wing papers being liberal when they stoke up anti-migrant sentiment? It’s hard to know what Farron’s point is (indeed, it’s difficult to decipher any meaning from the majority of the speech). If Farron though had said that the right had co-opted the term ‘liberal’ for their own agenda, he might have had a point. As it is, the whole thing feels as though he’s complaining that he doesn’t get to be illiberal in – supposedly – liberal times.
It gets even worse when he claims one of the cornerstones of liberalism is the duty to listen to offensive statements. Hate crimes have rocketed since Brexit, white supremacists have marched on Charlottesville chanting “blood and soil”, the media is constantly sensationalising trans lives and exposing trans people to hate, and Britain First was just given an endorsement by Trump. Yet, Farron thinks a top concern right now should be that he’s allowed to hold potentially queerphobic beliefs and still have everyone give him a cookie for being a good ally for not saying anything too bad too loudly.
Farron even has a go at people who have self-worth and pride. As though being happy with yourself is a bad thing? I’m sorry, but it’s only ever marginalised people who are told to be quiet, be humble and wait your turn for praise. White allocishet men like Farron get to deliver speeches and get a round of applause despite being truly mediocre. What exactly again did he achieve as the Leader of the Liberal Democrats? Farron you may not feel part of the elite, but you are. You may say that you accept people’s right to reject your beliefs but you don’t. Not when you’re still complaining people rejected you at the ballot box. If ever there was an example of misplaced pride and egotism then it was Tim Farron.
Humanists UK have released a response to Farron’s speech, as the full version of which included: “atheism is not the absence of belief, it is a belief in absence and therefore the absence of common values”. Farron is yet again showing his intolerance of anyone questioning his ignorance. Nobody has a problem with whether he believes in God. People had a problem because he refused, unequivocally, to support queer people. The idea that because atheists don’t have a belief system, they can’t have common values is absurd and demeaning. Some people don’t require religion to have a moral framework. Atheists should be respected, as should all religious people. This is a way to insinuate that those without faith are amoral – and that Farron, with his Christianity, knows best.
Farron is one of the worst politicians of our time. He has also tainted what it means to be a liberal. Perhaps he should spend some time speaking to those who face oppression and marginalisation every day, particularly those who are queer. He might learn a thing or two, and it might actually make him consider the humanity of others before he speaks.