Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Mis-directed 'hissy fit' from Alan Duncan, gay Tory MP

Alan Duncan is, in my view, one of 'the good guys' - let me be quite clear about that. However, his outburst about the two-facedness of the LibDems is rather amusing and, frankly, a wee bit ridiculous. Look we all know the LibDems are completely shameless in their willingness to get down into the gutter and to say different things in different parts of the country if they think it'll get them a boost electorally; that's not in dispute.

What I find a little (no, a lot!) ridiculous is that Alan Duncan has to go back to the 1983 campaign involving Simon Hughes to find a case of an admittedly pretty unpleasantly homophobic campaign run by a LibDem. One certainly does not need to go back anything like that far to dredge up sickening homophobia from a Conservative - only as far as the last General Election, in fact, when the lady who is now shadow minister for community cohesion, Sayeeda Warsi, ran a pretty unpleasant ant-gay campaign in her [luckily unsuccessful] effort to become an MP. The Shadow Cabinet may present a veneer of tolerance and inclusivity toward the gay community, but I'm afraid that, in this instance, the LibDems are quite correct to highlight the very recent voting record of far too many Conservative MPs in matters affecting homosexuals. The veneer of tolerance does not extend far beyond the parliamentary Conservative Party, in any case - it is only necessary to read the comments any day of the week on ConservativeHome.com to see what a lot of people professing themselves to be Conservatives really think about homosexuality - and the Conservative support for 'the family' is a pretty unsophisticated code phrase for what they really mean; it's really a dog whistle issue to let its homophobic supporters know they won't advance gay rights any further than they are absolutely forced to. I doubt very much whether any Conservative government would ever have proposed to legislate for Civil Partnerships, for example. OK, they now say they support these, but for any further advance in gay equality I don't think one would want to rely on a future Conservative government to push it forward.

As somoeone who is instinctively a Conservative I take no pleasure from writing this, but I grew tired some years ago of having to make excuses for the Conservative Party and of having to make compromises with my conscience in order to support it. It is certainly a lot better than when I left it in disgust in 2001 - but it is still on probation so far as I am concerned when it comes to matters of gender equality.

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