Saturday, September 02, 2006

Vote Blue Go Pink -Would You Like to Come up And See My Surgery Sometime?

Well here's a good one to get Verity off on a rant. Three Conservative Councillors in Greenwich have coined the slogan VOTE BLUE GO PINK and are to hold monthly surgeries exclusively for the local Gay and Lesbian community. Click HERE for the full story. When I first spotted this story my first reaction wasn't positive, believing that surgeries should be open to anyone. On the other hand, it's no different to a councillor in a rural area holding a regular surgery for farmers, or holding meetings with teacher groups or health service workers.

So in the words of Mrs Merton, let's have a (not too) heated debate.

77 comments:

Kate said...

Surely this suggests that lesbian and gay residents are excluded from 'standard' surgeries. It seems unecessary segregation to me.

Anonymous said...

Iain. Do stop discriminating against Verity. It's silly and makes you look small-minded.

Iain Dale said...

I'm sure she doesn't mind the mention. If I were small minded I wouldn't allow half her posts through, would I?!

ThunderDragon said...

I can't see any need for it. Councillors in rural areas may hold a regular surgery for farmers, but farming is an occupation which has specific requirements. Being gay does not affect someone like that. Whilst they are going to be issues which the gay and lesbian community are affected more than any other by, it is a step down the slippery slope of segmenting society into its parts, rather than dealing with everyone on a completely equal level. One off or annual sessions would be fine.

I just can't see the gay and lesbian community would be so differently affected by enough issues - and to a large enough difference to heterosexual people - to make specific 'pink' monthly sugeries necessary or even warranted.

Man of Kent said...

Is there really a demand for this or is this another one of these "hug a hoodie" ideas ?

I find this idea very patronising towards gay people, it seems to me to be saying that gay people need special favourable treatment to access services.

Anonymous said...

I am disabled with neurological problems affecting speech and language. Will these councillors be holding regular surgeries for people like me? and if so, why?

Verity said...

Leave Iain alone. It's his blog and he is a tolerant host. I am well able to take care of myself. One quibble: a strongly reasoned and articulated opinion is not a rant. I object to the misuse of this word, which means ill-considered and usually incoherent.

Finally, to the point. I don't like the idea because I don't like gays and Lesbians being presented as special cases. They're not. They're ordinary human beings and I believe this is how most want to be perceived. Having special surgeries for them is too patronising and segregates them from their fellow man.

Why not just normal surgeries? They're not conducted in the public square, by live mike, after all. If a gay person wishes to discuss a gay issue, they can go along to a normal surgery and discuss whatever they want to discuss behind a closed door, just as everyone else does.

Iain, you write: "On the other hand, it's no different to a councillor in a rural area holding a regular surgery for farmers, or holding meetings with teacher groups or health service workers."

It most assuredly is very different indeed. Farming, teaching or being a health worker are matters of choice. Gay people are born gay.

I guarantee that my gay male friends would not like this at all. They don't consider themselves a sub-species.

Andrew Woodman said...

I'd say it was patronising. What happens if you're bisexual. Do you get half the time for an appointment?

Jock Coats said...

I'd say it was patronising. What happens if you're bisexual. Do you get half the time for an appointment?

Naah. Double.

Andrew Kennedy said...

I think it is probably well intentioned, and it will no doubt gain a few headlines, but I don't really see what purpose will be served.

Anyone who has run a "drop in advice centre" will know just how soul destroying they can be.

I have lost count of the number of "first Saturday's in the month from 10am - 12noon" I have given up to sit in some small church hall waiting to solve the world's problems - only to welcome the mad, bad and sometimes dangerous.

I will never forget covering one colleagues "advice centre" back in the late 1980's during the days of the Poll Tax. Some barking woman appeared, armed with files (never a good sign) and proceeded to claim she was exempt from the tax because she lived on a houseboat and therefore did not occupy British land. She then handcuffed herself to the desk I was using and proceeded to read long tracts of the Magna Carts which, she said, substantiated her claims.

These days I cannot imagine anybody being so desperate for advice from a local councillor that they would tramp along and wait in a line, when they could obtain the same advice by making a phone call from the comfort of their own home.

And as for a designated LGBT drop-in...why provide a specialist service for this particular group and not others?

Do they run an "elderly persons" event during daylight hours or a "disabled persons" drop-in with full access for wheelchair users? If they do, all credit to them. If not, perhaps they should explain why just one community group should receive such a special service.

It reminds me of the days of the GLC !

ian said...

Is the placement of the Rickitt advert below this article deliberate?

strapworld said...

Iain, you write: "On the other hand, it's no different to a councillor in a rural area holding a regular surgery for farmers, or holding meetings with teacher groups or health service workers."

That will definately win the votes from the Lib Dems for the conservatives. It will also go down extremely well in Norflk, where there are quite a few farmers.

Vote Conservative for stupid city people making stupid remarks.

I am stunned by your remark.

Verity is absolutelky spot on. Homosexuals are not and should not be teated as special cases. They are ordinary human beings who may, or may not, have different sexual leanings to others.

So Iain, special considerations for peodophiles? Come on get real.

permanentexpat said...

I propose surgeries specifically for 'straight' males, over 6' tall with all their own grey hair & a penchant for Saltimbocca.....um Gottes willen!!

garypowell said...

Verity
Yes I agree
Not only do they not concider themselves a sub-species, I know that most would like to think that apart from a small matter of their sexuality they are exactly the same as everybody else. Which is individual human beings, with individual human problems. They also generaly appreciate being treated as such.

I concider all forms of political or state apartied, sexual or otherwise, a very negative and very non Conservative principle.

Dave said...

It seems very confused to me. It says that they will be holding surgeries relating to LGBT issues (which incidentally answers the Bi question someone else raised), but it also says that Any resident of the borough wanting to discuss issues relating to council activities, including housing, civil partnerships, and council tax can come along to the surgeries without an appointment during the allotted time. which is pretty well what would happen at any surgery anway, so what is really so special about this?

There are numerous issues that some LGBT residents might worry about in outing themselves to people in power, or indeed to anyone else.

It seems like it has been done to try and show that they are inclusive, but by inviting everyone else in anyway, it just shows that it's just a bit of spin

griswold said...

Its no big deal. Good on you Councillors for getting off your backsides to 'meet the residents'. There is no bloody principle involved just a dose of common sense. It will be interesting to do a follow up in 6 months time to see if this approach successful. Perhaps P Anschutz will turn up for advice on how to get a licence for his Dome Casino.

Chuck Unsworth said...

The comparison is interesting. Does this mean that being Gay or Lesbian is some sort of career path - similar to being a farmer, teacher, health worker, etc?

Or is it that MP's surgeries should be open to approaches from any sort of grouping? How does this relate to my local Chapter of Hell's Angels, for example? Would they be welcomed as a representative special interest grouping?

NotSaussure said...

I think it's the term 'surgery' that's causing the problem. If someone wants to raise an issue that's of particular concern to him and no one else, whether that issue arises from his being a farmer, or gay, or a gay farmer, then I don't see why he needs a special 'surgery' to do it.

If, on the other hand, there's an identifiable group in the constituency who'd like to have regular meetings with their Councillor to discuss specific topics that concern them all because they're farmers or because they're gay or because they're elderly or tenants on a particular estate or parents of young children, and the Councillor thinks it's not a waste of time, then why not?

Alternatively, if it's just that the Councillors think, on balance, there're some votes in it, then why not?

garypowell said...

I dont like this sort of thing

IMHO all forms even small ones, of political or state apartied, sexual or otherwise, is a very negative and non Conservative priciple, to be avoided when at all possible.

Does this mean that if I am a non sexual person, no one gives a dam about me? Its bad enough already being a straight married male.

Is it just to much to ask of all politicians to just treat all individual human beings as individual human beings?

How about, vote BLUE and become a member of the non colour specific human race. Has not this human race got enough problems collectivly already, without Tories of all people dividing it any more?

bt said...

Like others who've responded I can't quite understand why G&L councillors would restrict their services to the G&L community.
Seems divisive to me.
And what will be the reaction of the heteros who voted for them? Feeling rejected? Used? Did they campaign on this platform or did they decide to announce this only after the election? If so it smacks of subterfuge verging on the fraudulent.

What next? Asian only? BDSM councillors? Dyslexics? Flat-earthers? Methodists?
Just wait until somebody suggests Masons, then you'll see the fur fly.

Well intentioned no doubt, but ultimately not a particularly

Verity said...

It takes three very young men with a hunger to be seen as "wordly" to come up with such an aburd, not to say offensive, idea.

What's next? Separate drinking fountains in public parks? Separate entrances in public buildings? Straights. Gays. What about on planes? "Ladies and gentlemen, the captain would like to remind you that Rows 16 through 22 are for gays and Lesbians only.

I mean, give me a cotton-pickin' break, you three silly men!

Pedant said...

Verity is spot on. As a new commenter(?) may I say that both Iain and Guido (sorry Iain) are very tolerant hosts. That is why their sites are so popular; as a safty valve against the thought police.

Verity said...

I agree with Gary Powell; this is a strangely unConservative stance. Conservatives welcome all contributing members of society and wish them well. I have never known a gay man so lacking in robustness that he would need his local councillor, MP, Congressperson, whatever, to have special hours to see him and his ilk.

beethoven writes said...

Instead of changing your banner to Dirty Yellow tonight, surely it would have been more appropriate to change it to Poofy Pink?

towcestarian said...

So thats what urban Tory councillors look like is it? God I'm glad I live in the countryside.

I think most gays would feel very uncomfortable in close proximity to those particular gantlemen.

Null points again for the image consultants.

Mike Ion said...

It appears that the openly anti-Gay Tory candidate, Ian Laws, has been welcomed back into the fold of his local Conservative party by being allowed to stand as a nominee for the Falmouth & Camborne seat, according to The Times.

You will no doubt recall that the illiberal Mr Laws was suspended from his local party following his public appeal for the openly gay Tory parliamentary candidate, Ashley Crossely, to be dumped prior to the last election. The furious row split local allegiances and led to another former Tory MP standing as an independent to hinder Mr Crossely's chance of election. He survived a confidence vote on the issue within the local party at the time, though Mr Laws claimed that Mr Crossley only survived because of "the manipulation of Conservative Central Office" who had agents "present in large numbers to stage-manage proceedings".


The Conservative party refused to comment on the issue - no big surprise there! What say you Iain?

Anonymous said...

This is an idea which will go down well with 'Cameron'led by Chairman Maude...who did not get his way by ballot is ensuring he gets it by subversion!



Why the hell Iain believes this a great idea tells us all that the Conservatives are finished.The party is heading for a long slow death and it will divide.

Political Correctness, Iain, is the major reason this country is the dogs breath it is. As Billy Connelly said last night
White Males are the only species left that can have the piss taken out of them EXCEPT if you are gay etc etc etc.

Get a life we are all different. Lets remember what made Britain Great..the Daily Mail suggests it was the middle classes..it was our engineering, inventing and the fact that we took chances..how can we these days as we are all afraid of being sued, afraid of the 'discrimination' tag and the ever officious Human Rights Act?Equal Ops act and the Hewalth and Safety at Work legislation all combining to downgrade this great country of ours to a third world jungle.

And what are the Conservatives doing about it? Nothing....just making i worse by pandering to 'communities'

One day one party will speak for the majority 'community' in this country and they will be swept to power. My fear is that it will be the BNP.

Well done Iain.

strapworld said...

If Camborn and Falmouth appoint this man he WILL be elected.

enough of Political Correctness. We want MP's that will speak UP for the people.

I will support him. He is entitled to his views and I defend his right to have them.

The Mike Ion's of this world want restrictions and no freedom of speech...clear of Mr Ion's to a country that denies free speech you will be happy there.

BionicBuddha said...

Interesting blogsite...I wonder if Margaret Thatcher has a blog?




www.bionicbuddha.com

Iain Dale said...

Anonymous at 10.32. You really do take the biscuit. Where did I say I thought this was a good idea. You misattribute views to me which I do not hold. But then I am sure you have done that quite deliberately.

Strapworld & Mike Ion, I will keep my views on this particular gentleman to myself at the moment if you don't mind.

Nick King said...

I'm a bit confused, are these three councillors gay or do they represent a ward with a large GLBT population?

If this is the case then I can see the reason for offering this service. Just in the same way that LAGLO (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers) offer surgeries in our local LGBT drop in centre. Gay people may therefore prefer to speak to representatives who are already understanding and sympathetic of their case.

If not, then it does smack of tokenism, which I'd oppose wholeheartedly.

As an openly gay councillor, I act as liaison for Bournemouth's gay community with the Conservative Group on the council and with our local MPs.

I wouldn't consider holding surgeries for the community though. They have their own ward members for that and if they'd rather speak to me they know who I am and how to get hold of me, as they invariably do.

kidbrooke tory said...

All of these Councillors represent wards in the (new) Eltham parliamentary constituency. They are all gay, as is the PPC, David Gold.

People aren't bothered by this in itself (and individually all of these 4 are engaging company and hard-working), but the fact that they are collectively making such an issue of their sexuality, and that they represent such a large proportion of the local Conservative Party association (far greater than the gay share of the local population as a whole) is in danger of stereotyping the whole of the Conservatives in Eltham as being branded as pro-gay fanatics.

Not true, but this behaviour is pushing the tolerance of some of the people who elected them. There are plenty of other issues in Eltham (crime, poor schools, poor transport, state of the High Street, housing issues) that affect many more members of the local population - perhaps they should concentrate on these matters if they are not to be seen as a fringe irrelevance by the majority of the local population.

MatGB said...

Hmmm. Is this

1) A cynical PR ploy to appeal to the LGBT vote in their area.

2) A genuine attempt to reach out and persuade a community that normally either doesn't engage or only works through pressure groups that councillors are for them to actually work directly with local democratically elected reps

3) A pointless waste of time, especially given that they say they'll be open to all at that time.

4) A bad idea, segmenting society and appealing to disparate interest groups rather than the issues overall.

Hmm. I suspect it's a mixture. The Tories are, rightly, now trying to persuade young, professional, succesful LGBTs that they have a place within them and as voters, which is a necessary, and natural, thing. These councillors may be genuinely committed to appealing to what must be a fairly big demographic in their district.

No idea overall, I don't think it's bad per se, but I do wish that such segmenting wasn't needed, but politicians overall have developed such a bad name that such stunts are needed to get past the single issue campaigners. We'll see, I guess.

Verity said...

Nick King - You write: "As an openly gay councillor, I act as liaison for Bournemouth's gay community with the Conservative Group on the council and with our local MPs."

Dear. God.

Cannot you see that most people here oppose this foolishness? You LIAISE between Bournemouth's gay community and the Conservatives on the council? Are they blind, deaf and dumb that they can't talk for themselves? Why does the damn' gay community need a "liaison"? They are voters of Britain. They have rights. They don't need an interface.

I'm sorry, Nick. But there is no such thing as a "gay community" which is totally apart from the body politic of Britain (or any other Western country). As a gay yourself, you know this damn' fine.

There are gay men and women in all our communities all over the earth. They are not apart. They're intertwined members of our human community with as much legitimacy as every one of us and a vote that counts for exactly the same amount as a straight vote: one.

My gay friends, who I apologise for quoting so extensively on this thread, do not feel they are members of a "community" with diesel dykes or aggressive gay lefties. They don't like these two groups and don't mix with them.
They are members of the conservative (small c) community, which comprises straights and gays, who believe in responsible home ownership, who make sure they vote in school board elections - not because they have children of their own, but because they want to see the next generation coming up as actors in a civil society; who support the police and fire service, give their time and expertise to charity work (some of them, but not all, gay charities). Noel Coward paid for poor London children to have seaside holidays. I don't believe he limited his generosity to cute little boys.

It really irritates me to see people on the special pleading bandwagon for a group that, of all the groups in the world, has least need of it. They are generally smart and talented enough to speak for themselves.

Sorry, Nick King, but maybe you should busy yourself representing all your constituents who need your assistance, and leave your gayness at your office door. I'm a woman and if you were my representative, all I would care about is how well-connected are you? How well do you know how to get things done? And how committed are you to your constituents?

Benedict White said...

This is not fair Iain, You have got me agreeing with Verity.

I think that surgeries like this are devisive and not good. Others haev pointed out that they may well be patronising. They also may build barriers with other communities.

You could not after all hold surgeries for white people, Christians, or other groups.

I think gerneral surgeries are a muchg better idea (that said they do say they will meet everyone)

For group concerns, such as tenants, old people or indeed gay issues you would hold a meeting which was not a surgery.

AC said...

There has been a large increase in attacks against homosexuals over the last few years. Conservatives should accept an individual's choice as to their own preferences in life (as long as it causes no harm to others and homosexuality does not) and therefore I agree with these councillors holding such 'surgeries', as there is at least one genuine issue unique to homosexuals that they may wish to discuss.

Am I wrong?

Michael Hoskin said...

Maybe they can persuade the fire brigade to hand out fire safety leaflets at their surgeries?

Nautica said...

Looking at their website it seems all three of them hold two or three regular surgeries each per month and this is additional to them.

In that case, I don't really see what the issue is? Surely any opportunity to engage with a generally turned off electorate should be applauded?

Verity said...

ac asks: "Am I wrong?"

Yes.

This statement, made by you, is raving: "Conservatives should accept an individual's choice as to their own preferences in life (as long as it causes no harm to others and homosexuality does not)".

Hello? "an individual's choice"? Homosexuality is not a choice, you Stone Age individual. Any more than red hair is. It happens in the womb. Before a person is even out in the world, breathing for itself."

This is getting irritating.

The anthracite statues of the horses sleep in the fields said...

Well done Iain for hosting such broad church debate. Has anyone tried getting a right of centre post on BBC online debates recently?

Verity said...

This is my last post on this stupid question.

Nautica, whose handle I first misread as Nausea, wrote: "In that case, I don't really see what the issue is? Surely any opportunity to engage with a generally turned off electorate should be applauded?"

Gays are "generally turned off?" Are you mad? The gays I know are the most turned on, lobby-savvy, media-savvy bunch of voters in the world. Also better dressed, better hair, and funnier.

The three silly men who started this need to calm down and get better haircuts.

Little Black Sambo said...

Can we have a moratorium on the
use of the word "community"? It doesn't just mean nothing, it turns what you are saying into lies.

ThunderDragon said...

For ince I cannot help but agreeb with verity. Sexual orientation does not separate oneself rom society.

There are far more important social cleavages than sexuality, and I don't think that it should be utilised unnecessarily.

How do gay people define themselves? I dobt that number one on their list is sexuality. Focus shoudl be put on what is important to people, not just on what sounds good un the newwspepers.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7.59

I don't think Iain does.

Verity - U do rant.

garypowell said...

IMHO it is not a persons preference to have sex with a member of the same sex, that makes an individual a homosexual.

Only someone playing at being gay to make a left wing radical political statement could think that it does.

The only reason why many hetrosexual men have not had sex with another man is that they have not met a young man pretty enough that would let them.

The only reason why many hetrosexual women have not had sex with a women is that they have not met another woman that was pretty and persistant enough.

It is the congenital lack/shortage of a sexual and emotional nead to have sex with the opposite sex, that does make an individual a homosexual.

Homosexuality therefore is not a preference but is a very minor biological abnormality.

Sorry if what I have said has offended anyone, it was not intended to.

UK Daily Pundit said...

What is equality if when you have equality you expect to be treated differently?

Fruning Graplecard said...

This outrageous and condescending move can do nothing but encourage the division of lifestyle communities and as a consequence engender bad feeling towards Lesbians and Gays and derision towards the local Conservatives.

That the Lesbian and Gay community shouts loudest, acts most agrieved and generally makes sure it has a higher profile than is justified is not in question. What is so odious about this is that all other groups stand betrayed as somehow being not worthy of special treatment.

mirthios said...

Verity,

Your articulate gay friends can speak for themselves, thanks.

Rants like this one from a fag hag are unwelcome:

"Homosexuality is not a choice, you Stone Age individual. It happens in the womb. Before a person is even out in the world, breathing for itself."

Not always, sweetheart. Currently in a very happy 35-year gay relationship, I used to be a married man. I have two wonderful daughters and two smashing grandsons.

My lifestyle is my CHOICE you silly little girl!!

ac said...

Verity - judging by the time of your response to my comment and its tired and emotional nature I'll assume you were ratted.
An individual may be born homosexual and therefore his sexual preference will be to choose other men as partners. There was nothing in my comment that contradicted this. Also, your little misunderstanding of language didn't even address the main point of my comment!

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

As a gay Conservative, I find this to be highly offensive, unconservative and a cheap political stunt for the gay press (which few read!).

hatfield girl said...

Conservatives are not usually foolish (or dishonest) enough to pretend that "the personal is political" that same old same old....of the guardian drabbies; political isn't personal, it's formal, social, public, universal, and doesn't have special surgeries for personal aspects of voters' lives. This applies to colour, creed, etc., like it says in those non-disriminatory clauses in job advertisements.

Adrian Yalland said...

Gay people are just like straight people (well, in most ways anyway) with the same aspirations, hopes and fears etc, but they do have other issues which their sexuality and lifestyles create. I think most people in power recognise this - just as they recognise that families with young kids and disabled people also have their own particualr needs.

But this doesn't mean that gay people should be patronised by being picked out for special treatment.

Discrimination - positive or negative - should be a voided.

I suspect this is just a PR stucnt by a few Tories who wish to appear 'gay freindly'! Good for them, well intentioned, but a bit needless.

SOUTHWEST MP said...

I note that a popular Cornish Conservative Ian Laws has been raised in this blog.Ian Laws who I have known for 15 years has a very high profile as well as a not insignificant following in Cornwall.As Strapworld implies if he stood in an election he would get a phenomenal following and definitely a thumping majority. He is liked by people from all walks of life,including gays, and is a peoples man unafraid to talk to anybody.He is highly professional and a man who tries to understand all perspectives of life and indeed gays and lesbians would be in his following.Im bewildered where these attacks have come from, so its not surprising conservative officials have nothing to say on the matter.I think we should stop attacking the best of our own,and take a leaf out of the book of these three councillors and have pink surgeries.

permanentexpat said...

mirthios:
The fact that you led a straight life for so long & produced progeny (badly needed in the non-Muslim warrens)doesn't detract from Verity's statement about the gene factor. That it manifested itself later in your life MAY have come as a surprize to you at the time and MAYBE your macho amour propre elected 'CHOICE' as a proud explanation; the groundwork for self-outing having already been done by others made your move that much easier. Gay pride is one thing...gay excuses is another.

SENIOR OFFICIAL said...

Iain ------ In my capacity as a Senior Conservative Officer in the southwest I wish to headline to your readers that the attack on one of our members Ian Laws and run in the Times is erroneous, in the context of an attack on sexual gender.We are aware of the source of this attack and are regarding it as vexatious. We particularly frown upon persons who originate such matters and we are sure your readers will understand how it can affect us all.
I agree and lets have pink surgeries, everyday if there is a demand.
I do apologise for being so official on this matter but it has serious connotations.

billy said...

Verity said..
Hello? "an individual's choice"? Homosexuality is not a choice, you Stone Age individual. Any more than red hair is. It happens in the womb. Before a person is even out in the world, breathing for itself."
12:39 AM

Is this true?

Croydonian said...

I think the initiative was at the least meant well.....

Nick King said...

Verity, it's a shame you're not posting any further on this subject because this is a very interesting debate.

I accept that the word 'liaise' in my post may have sounded overly pompous, for that I apologise.

I think in your irritation you may have overlooked the rest of the post, which made it clear that the majority of the LGBT community in our town do use their ward councillors to forward their views. However, there are occasions where some people need a voice or wish to raise an issue via a representative with whom they feel more comfortable.

In the same way that a woman may prefer to deal, in certain situations, with a female GP or a WPC, there are occasions where dealing with someone else who is gay is, for some, preferable.

I have to disagree with you as well over your assesment that there is no such thing as a 'gay community'.

In Bournemouth I think such a thing does exist. It may be, on occasions, a nebulous thing, but it is tangibly there. People chose to take part in it or not as they see fit, but when threatened or offended this community does certainly make it's voice known.
Of course 'diesel dykes' and 'agressive gay lefties' are represented, but there are many many others as well, united by their sexuality.

Your final comment is, with respect, unfair. I'm many things, one of them happens to be gay. I try to do a good job representing the residents of my ward (in any case next May they'll decide on that).

I hope you might take the time to look at my blog which will give you a feel for the work I do for my area. If in addition I can help the LGBT residents of our town when they wish to be represented by someone with whom they have a common sexuality then all to the good.

Fruning Graplecard said...

Nick King's comments are reasoned and moderate, and he has an interesting website which includes a rather disturbing development about clever wheelie bins.

I disagree with him about this "GLTG's are a special case. They are not. I would prefer to deal with a white, heterosexual male who is over 50, but fuck me, I don't get the choice do I?

Actually I don't care who my councillor is, or his sexual orientation, I just want him (or her) to be a good councillor. Likewise, Doctors, Nurses, Police, etc.etc.

The issue here is the promotion social sectarianism and I remain vehemently against this because goes against the very tenets of equality that gays demand and should enjoy.

Mr King's reason for making a special case for Gays has just the same undercurrents of unfairness as those of the Freemasons. It is all a little bit clubby isn't it?

Verity said...

mirthios - You were in denial. You were expected to get married and you did. Later on in life, you thought, "Stuff this. I'm going to be me." This is quite common. Look at James Morris and many others.

ac It would have been very early indeed for me to have been ratted -as in your suggestion that anyone who disagrees with you must be drunk! You, though, write as though you had taken pretty much of a load on.

What a shame that some people are still so prejudiced that any woman who has some gay men friends (that is most women, by the way) is a fag hag. Judy Garland was a fag hag. Liza Minelli is a fag hag. I don't think women who number some gay men among their close friends qualify.

Nick King - I apologise for going for the throat. Your original post was measured and reasonable, but I do not approve of making gays or blacks or women into a special project. It separates rather than binds. Gays are not a special case. They've been in the world in every society since time began. As have women and black people.

Billy wrote: "Verity said..
Hello? "an individual's choice"? Homosexuality is not a choice, you Stone Age individual. Any more than red hair is. It happens in the womb. Before a person is even out in the world, breathing for itself."
12:39 AM

"Is this true?"

Yes, according to a book which came out some years ago called BrainSex. It depends on the oestrogen level of the mother while her baby is in the womb. Some women have a surge of oestrogen in the early stages,which coincides with the stage the baby's brain is developing. A high level of oestrogen will encourage a boy's brain to develop a little more along feminine lines. Not completely, but at that critical stage in his development, the wash of oestrogen will produce a surge in development of the (can't remember if it's the left side or right side; anyway, it's the girl one).

The book was written by, if I remember correctly, a doctor and an endocrinologist. (It was some time ago, but I saw a reference to it recently, so it's probaby still in print.) I believe what they proposed is now generally accepted, and probably much refined.

Incidentally, this also accounts for why there are consistently larger numbers of gay men than gay women throughout history in all societies. Obviously, a surge in oestrogen doesn't produce any unusual effects on a female embryo.

Back to the topic, I not only firmly disapprove of single people out for special attention - they're ADULTS for God's sake! - but it is also dismissive of the majority.

Chris Taylor said...

As one of the organisers of these surgeries let me correct you on a number of points.

1) We hold regular ward specific surgeries for all residents. In my own ward, I hold in rotation with my fellow councillors 8 sessions a month, and these gay specific surgeries I do in addition to this.

2) I personally have not neglected other sectors of the community. I do outreach work with older peoples groups, tenents associations, christian groups and the disabled. These drop in sessions are an extension of outreach work my colleagues and I are already carrying out.

3) We have gone out within the gay community in Greenwich and asked them what they want, and our survey feedback says that this is what they want, so we are actioning their wishes.

4) Greenwich has a large gay population, mainly centred in the North of the borough where we as a party have little or no representation. A third of our group, including myself are gay, yet we have no access to represent or discuss issues relating to gay and lesbians without holding these borough wide surgeries.

And whether we like it or not, we are unfairly perceived as being ignorant of gay issues. We all know that the Conservative Party couldnt function without the gay men that run it! Sometimes actions speak louder than words, and this is a simple painless way to build bridges and show we are a modern intouch party. As a former employee of President Bush, I say this as a traditional conservative, who is pro life, and pro death penalty, and believes in the benefits of a stable family. I am not as I think has beeen implied in some of the comments as a bleeding heart, liberal guardian reader.

Nick King said...

Fruning graplecard and Verity, thanks for your comments.

Can I make one further point in response to your posts. I'm sorry if you think that I'm suggesting there should be a separate, special case made for the LGBT community. I don't subscribe to that viewpoint at all.

I guess because we are talking about this issue alone it seems that this is what I'm advocating.

All I'm trying to say is that if someone from that 'community' wishes to speak to a councillor who, too, is gay then I don't see a problem with that. Just as Fruning, you may wish to chose to have one of my colleagues who is over 50 and heterosexual represent you, as clearly I'm neither of those things.

mirthios said...

Dear Doctor Verity,

Thank you so much for your amateur psychological diagnosis based on the book you have read, which was written by Anne Moir and David Jessel and published 17 years ago. Your lips must be sore.

Considered now to be seriously out of date, it was culled from the pages of the National Enquirer. 'Nuff said.

You might care to consider - although I doubt it - that your diagnosis is inaccurate, i.e. (please take a deep breath here) - you are laughably wrong.

By the way, a fag hag is not a woman who has gay male friends and/or admirers - she is one who, without invitation, seeks to speak on their behalf and, usually, like you, makes a hideous hash of it.

Adrian Yalland said...

C'mon guys (and gays), leave poor Verity alone - she must be all ranted out by now! I know we all like to 'light the touch paper at arms length and then take a step back', but she is great value for money!

Verity, you're nuts most of the time, and bonkers for the rest, but I for one love you!

Fruning Graplecard said...

It's refreshing and a measure of the worth of this blog that the primary source has had the wherewithal to post a reply.

However, I think Mr Taylor's argument is at it's weakest at point 3:

"We have gone out within the gay community in Greenwich and asked them what they want, and our survey feedback says that this is what they want, so we are actioning their wishes"

That is the lamest excuse there is. It is just that your agenda coincides with theirs. What if you got the same request from Muslims, disabled, white supremacists etc.

What were the terms of your so called "survey" What was its scope? Was it statistically significant? Was it held in the street, in the council building or in a Gay Bar?

Go on Chris, you were a pushover!

Verity said...

Chris Taylor writes: "As a former employee of President Bush, I say this as a traditional conservative, who is pro life, and pro death penalty, and believes in the benefits of a stable family." OK,Chris, anyone who has worked for the President and is pro the death penalty is my new best friend. (Hey! Come back!)

I still ask, though, how much extra help do gays need? They're adults, they understand the system and surely to God they know how to use it. I can see you're not a bleeding heart liberal, but I don't like the pandering. Sorry. It's an opposing point of view and isn't intended to be offensive.

Disabled people, yes, because they have a genuine disability that makes life harder for them. But I do not see homosexuality as a disability. But you have made your points reasonably and I appreciate your taking the time.

mirthios - You're welcome for my expert clinical diagnosis of your condition. I read the book around 10 years ago, borrowed from a friend. I believe it's still in print, updated with further research.

A fag hag is a woman who hangs out almost exclusively with gays and often marries them, as in Judy Garland and Liza Minelli and a lot of others in showbiz. In fact, I think being in showbiz is probably a qualification. Perhaps your definition obtains in the provinces. I wouldn't know.

Nick King - Thanks. I still think it is too exclusionary. I would not be more comfortable talking to a woman councillor in particular. I would just be looking for someone who understood my viewpoint and what I was trying to achieve with the visit. I would be totally indifferent as to whether I was talking to a gay man, a Lesbian, a young man and older man, a black person, whatever. All these special constituencies are, I believe divisive, even if kindly meant. And they are a tool of the socialists. We are one people.

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as an LGBT community. There are LGBT individuals, and to suggest that they are some kind of homogenous group that requires special attention is both simplistic and insulting.

Anonymous said...

If he's not a bleeding heart liberal Guardian reader, why is he playing with left-wing identity politics, and why is he using left wing language like "outreach"?

mirthios said...

'Dr' Verity

QED

Case rested

Verity said...

A conservative society is a cohesive society. This is why Blair and cohorts got to work fast with a wrecking ball, destroying cohesion by dividing people into special pleading groups and setting those groups against one another (with every group united in opposition to the indigenous British family, however).

Although you seem to mean well, Nick, you, as an elected official are pledged to serve all the electorate with equal interest and vigour. Making pets out of some groups is, as I said in an earlier post, divisive. Conservatives seek to bind society together and we don't like labelling people.

No offense and I recognise that you have tried to make your case in an amiable manner. But we will have to agree to differ.

mirthios said...

'Dr' (or is it 'DUH'?)

Conservatives seek to bind society together and we don't like labelling people you Stone Age individual.

ROTFLOL

Peter Hitchens said...

Verity
as Both Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli were both mother and Daughter and fag hags, what is your learned opinion as to how this strange condition occurs?
Too many show tunes in the womb?

billy said...

Verity said...
A conservative society is a cohesive society.


Any evidence that this so?

Verity said...

Gosh, Peter Hitchens, who knows? "Too many show tunes in the womb?" ... funny!

The thing is, if you're in showbiz, especially if you're a singer/dancer, unless you're married to a nice investment banker or something, you are going to become a default fag hag.

However, if you are a rich woman who is not in show business, you will still be surrounded by gays - hair stylists, make-up artists, shoe designers, set designers for your latest charity gala, events planners for said gala along with booking the entertainment, etc.

This DOES NOT make you into a fag hag, if you are very rich and your husband is powerful. This makes you into a gay icon.

Everywhere in human life, there is a class system.

ac said...

Well I am glad to see I helped Verity out of her retirement on commenting on this post. And to think, if only she had asked me to be clear as to exactly what I meant as regards my ambiguous choice of wording regarding homosexuals, rather than going for the jugular straight off, she would have found that my instincts are that I agree with her.

'A conservative society is a cohesive society.' There's little chance of cohesion through kicking each other in the, er, nuts. Perhaps we could all try to discuss things in a civilised manner, and maybe the world will be a better place! :)

Anonymous said...

Many who have commented seem to live in blissful ignorance not only of the very specific difficulties gays and lesbians do endure in everyday life (such as harrassment and abuse at work, health issues which the NHS seems unable to cope with and housing problems). In addition, they believe that most politicians sit in judgement and are unsympathetic to their lifestyle (best they don't confirm their fears reading some of the earlier blogs).
At a time when politicians complain that the public don't care or listen to anything they say, these three councillors are making an effort to engage in a specific section of their electorate. I am sure if they are successful they may wish to consider opening other specialist surgeries - for young people, the elderly etc. It also enables them to invite specialists from local voluntary groups to assist and possibly take up the issues raised in meetings, which the councillors are unable to do.
I applaud it and we will see whether it works.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't dishy Councillor Derm Poston doing these surgeries?