My godless, almost 16 year old, daughter Olaf calls me as her GCSE's start next week. Her school reports are glowing, she has already won a scholarship to the 6th form and I wish her luck but am confident that it will be A*s all round. We have agreed not to discuss grade inflation, I'm very proud of her anyway. Conversation then turns to the General Election where she says she is backing the Tories. Again I am proud of her. Her real anger is directed, however, not at her fellow Islington resident Comrade Corbyn, but at Tim Farron and the Lib Dems. She is furious at poor Mr Farron for his less than unequivocal support for LGBT rights. In Islington that is the sort of issue that really matters above all else.
Her mother Big Nose joins in the conversation and takes a similar approach. Poor Mr Farron. He is a loathsome weasel in many ways. His claim the other day that he is a Eurosceptic is just risable. His grasp of economics is so bad he actually thinks Vince Cable, who has predicted 17 of the last 4 recessions, is some kind of savant. The Lib Dems support of secret courts and of gagging the press in the last Parliament was a disgrace which must have seen Gladstone spinning in his grave.
But I do not think that Farron hates the pooftahs as Big Nose and Olaf suggest. He has a faith. For what it is worth, it seems to be a quiet and sincere faith not the faux evangelical nonsense of Tony Blair who started an illegal war because "God told him". And Farron's faith tells him that homosexuality is wrong.
In metropolitan liberal elitist London people of faith are derided. Well not entirely, the elite will not attack certain faiths because that is contrary to the spirit of multiculturalism. But the old world belief in Jesus? That is a subject for mockery. Christmas is not a time when Big Nose or Olaf go to Church. It is a time for merriment and consumerism and anyone who says that it is about celebrating the birth of Jesus is ridiculed. The old folks who trudge to Church are openly despised. Big Nose compares their beliefs to believing that there is a giant teapot in the sky that runs our lives. History and the evidence from the bible suggests that her case is weak.
There is a suggestion from Olaf that those who have a faith like Farron should be barred from politics. Really? I point to men like Martin Luther King and Wilberforce, whose Christian faith drove them and gave them courage as they made the world a better place. As with all Godless liberals, Big Nose tries to argue in a post fact era sort of way. She suggests that they may not have been Christians it is just that in the past everyone said they were. Being distantly related to Wilberforce and having studied his life and that of Dr King I point out that there is a huge body of evidence to the contrary. But the liberal elite live in a post fact era and that is brushed aside.
For the avoidance of doubt I am not comparing Tim Farron to Dr King. But it strikes me that having people with a sincere faith involved in public life is not quite the disaster my ex wife and daughter suggest.
For my troubles it is suggested that I have "got religion" and am now "evangelising." I increasingly question my faith but admit to a lack of it. My real crime is that I am tolerant in a way that the liberal metropolitan classes are not. For them certain minorities must be protected and, often promoted, at all costs, notably the gay community. But other minorities, notably Christians, should be openly derided and ridiculed. For them, it is acceptable to stop Ann Coulter from speaking - free speech only applies to those who hold certain views. And for them poor Tim Farron must be crucified for his views on just one subject.
Me, I take the old fashioned view that all minorities have rights to live their lives as they wish without persecution or open derision.. Gays should have the same rights as straights. Heck, and i am not thinking of Big Nose in particular, why should the misery of marriage be the sole preserve of heterosexuals. Let the gays suffer in the same way.
And Christians should have the same rights to live in a way that is compatible with their faith as should those of no faith. But in islington today some minorities are just more equal than others.
I suggest that my daughter considers going to university at Berkeley. She does not understand why.