Staying out of the churn

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Against my original intentions, I’ve decided to write a short follow up to my resignation announcement on Monday.

I’ve been touched by the overwhelmingly sympathetic and supportive responses that I’ve had. I was expecting a lot more anger and gloating and that’s taken me aback somewhat. Thank you; it means a lot to me. And I really am sorry if I’ve upset anyone.

To everyone concerned about my welfare, I want to assure you that I’m absolutely fine. I’m certainly busy, but very happy.

A lot of people have been bemused about my big mystery act, declining to explain why I’ve left. I’m sorry about that, but I’ve done it this way because I didn’t want find myself caught up in the media circus, or to cause more unfortunate headlines for the party in the week running up for conference.

While not being a particularly important person in the grand scheme of things, my various party positions are such that I can be described, in journalistic terms, a “senior Liberal Democrat” or worse, if the journalist in question is particularly cretinous, a “close aide to Nick Clegg” (clue: I’m really not).

If I’d written an explanation, whatever I wrote, however temperate and constructive, would have been selectively quoted beyond all meaning and shoehorned to fit into whatever predetermined narrative the journalist in question had decided on that morning.

I want people to understand my decisions for leaving; indeed it is a theme I intend to return to quite a few times. But I have no desire to play that game. I’m nobody’s trophy.

The fact is that while my non-explanation might be upsetting for fellow party members who genuinely value my opinion, it is deeply, deeply boring to the average journalist. And thus far, my ploy has worked. I’ve only had to turn down one (polite) media bid.

So, anyway, that was my thinking and right or wrong I’ll be revealing all soon. It will probably be an anti-climax when I finally do publish, but that suits me just fine.

Thanks again everybody.

5 thoughts on “Staying out of the churn

  1. This is now seeming like a good plan. If I might offer a tiny criticism, it might have stopped some of the public panicking from other Lib Dems if you’d have put some of this into your “resigning from the email list” email? That wouldn’t have been seen by journos. Or would it?

  2. I think you’re absolutely right Jennie. I had assumed I needed to adopt a more defensive position but in retrospect that was just another thing I’d got wrong. 🙂

  3. I presume that most people didn’t react angrily precisely because you left so calmly and without wanting to damage the party. If you’d done a big strop and done the usual thing of “This isn’t the party I joined, so I’m joining Labour because they have principles unlike the evil ConDems” then you’d undoubtedly have lost a few friends. But “I’m leaving the party, I might rejoin at some point in the future, I don’t want to talk about my reasons right now” is perfectly reasonable.

    If nothing else, I suspect that if everyone had said “Well, go to hell you quisling bastard, I never liked you anyway” it might make it slightly less likely for you to rejoin in the future, and we need people like you in the party.

    I suspect the vast majority of Lib Dem members have at least questioned whether being in the party is the right thing for them at one time or another, and especially since the coalition. So long as you’re not going to actively sabotage the work of those of us who remain (and we all know you well enough to know you’re not that type of person) I, and I presume most other Lib Dems, can only wish you well.

  4. I don’t mean to quibble, but if you didn’t want to draw unnecessary attention to your resignation couldn’t you have just, well, not announced it at all? Just sent in a plain letter to the membership department and left it at that?

  5. I certainly could have kept it a secret but then would have spent the next two years explaining to people on a one-to-one basis, which doesn’t sound like great fun to me.

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