Saturday, May 07, 2005

Shame on you Simon Heffer

Simon Heffer has written a poisonous piece in the Daily Mail today about the fact that Nick Boles and I lost both our seats - he blames it on the fact that we are gay and that people outside London don't like that sort of thing. Strange how he doesn't mention the fact that Nick Herbert, who won Arundel, is gay too and has a huge majority. I thought we had got beyond this, but it is clear that the media will sink to any level to be homophobic. I understand the Mail on Sunday will be writing a similar article tomorrow. In 20 months here I can count on the fingers of two hands the number of people who have had an issue with my sexuality. The very same people would have had a problem if I had been black, a single mother or anything other than a white Volvo-driving husband with 2.4 children. Frankly, if they didn't vote for me I'm rather glad. The Conservative Party can do without bigots.


Stephen Reid said...

Heffer is a reactionary buffoon, old before his time. People like him personify why your party fails to connect with the very voters it needs to win elections. As a Labour supporter I should silently cheer but the fact the Daily Mail still feels able to get away with printing homophobic poison is depressing. Chin up though Iain, being attacked by him is something I’d be proud of.

Turbulent Cleric said...

I think that Heffer's sort of comments are the sort of the nonsense the Conservative party is going to have to confront is it is to be taken seriously in 21st Century. It reminds me of the nonsense in Falmouth - Camborne where a gay candidate was undermined by quite vicious homophobia. Such people are just not in touch with real world.

I can't say I would have voted for you but that speaks only of my view of the Conservative Party.

RA said...

I am a Tory through and through, but I believe in freedom of choice, and naturally this covers personal choices too. Frankly I really don't see why it is an issue. To be honest people like Simon Heffer are the reason we are still in opposition. The minute we broaden our appeal and ditch bigots like him will be the minute we can genuinely anticipate government again.

Anonymous said...

I think the reason you lost was nothing to do with your sexuality ,more the fact that Norman Lamb worked hard for over ten years in the constituency,& you popped up two years ago,a relative unknown

Anonymous said...

Quite. Ben Bradshaw has never had any problem winning in Exeter and it is hardly Greenwich Village.

Heffer's trash is most insulting to people living in North Norfolk who just went for the best candidate (sorry Iain - you probably have many fine qualities). There are always some homophobes everywhere and if Iain had lost by a few dozen votes it might be worth speculating on, but to imply Lamb won thanks to a 10,000 strong army of bigoted yokels is ridiculous and offensive.

Anonymous said...

Simon Heffer seems to ha ve looked only to openly gay candidates who lost forgetting about gay candidates who won their seats.
And like mentionded in the above post, some won in seats which are hardly Greenwich Village.
Chris Bryant won in the Rhonda Valley, Adam Price in Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and Alan Duncan in Rutland. All rural seats and they increased their majority.

And about Hove, there were 5 gay candidates. They polled more than 60% together. So saying that Hove voters are homophobe is a bit stupid when the majority of them voted for a gay candidate.

Merseymike said...

I'm not a Tory, Iain,and never will be, but I think this sort of comment is pathetic. David Borrow, who represents a Lancashire seat of small towns and villages, had one of the amallest swings against him in the country, and everyone has always known he is gay

I'm glad there are two openly gay Tory MP's and it does appear that many of the younger MP's are more open minded. We'd be much better off under the Tories, truth be told, but I don't think i could ever bring myself to put the cross there! But there are plenty of other middle class gay couples who still won't vote Tory. Thats actually why Nick Boles lost, in my view. Celia Barlow, the Labour MP in Hove is totally pro-gay in any case.

young tory said...

Firstly i would like to say Iain congragulations on your new job and condolances on your defeat.

Having said that I would say that I think Heffer has a point narrowly in that I think there was evidence that being gay did hurt Conservative party candidates (and probablly others)

For a start your perforance I think must in part be explained by this- you clearly were an exceptional candidate. Yet's not forget Nick Boles actually felt- and he too was a v good caniddate whatever else one might think about him (I think his pro-war stance war may have hurt too).

And as for Nick Herbert he had about the only swing against him in the region. Yes Alan Duncan's majority went up but I'm sure by the last election everyone in his constituency knew and I think it's different for an incumbant.

And as for Labour what about Reading East....

At the same time the much more gay friendly position of the Tory party doesn't seem to have helped them anyway with a big gay vote.

All this means is there's no real poliitical gain in the Tories runing gay candiates or being "pro gay" not that there aren't or shouldn't be excellent Tory mps like Nick Herbert and hopefully some day Iain.