Friday, November 09, 2007

Telegraph Column: Why I Oppose Gay Hatred Laws

My column in today's Telegraph is partly about the Nigel Hastilow fallout and partly about the Government's proposed gay hatred laws. It has provoked quite a big response on the Telegraph site in the Comments, so I thought I'd post the whole thing here too.

At the risk of provoking my esteemed colleague Simon Heffer, I feel I need to make an admission. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a friend. There. I've said it. Yasmin is the sort of lefty newspaper columnist the Right loves to hate. On matters of race, she's certain she's right and she doesn't care how aggressive she is in pointing it out. Yet, on social issues, she's rather Conservative.

Last weekend I saw her one-woman theatre show in Brentford, where she gave an impassioned performance about her childhood in Uganda. At times it was profoundly moving, but it could have seen her reported to the new Equality Commission. At the same moment Nigel Hastilow was seeing his political career disappear faster than Yasmin left Idi Amin's Uganda, she was quoting Asians calling black people "Junglies" and speculating what her reaction might be if her daughter wanted to marry a black man. This is not what one might expect from Britain's leading commentator on racial issues.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not alleging Yasmin is racist, but neither do I believe Nigel Hastilow to be one. Both were trying to explore the same issue honestly. The difference was that Hastilow was confusing his role as a newspaper columnist with that of Conservative candidate. Having made a thoughtful and well-received speech on population growth (the new PC name for immigration), David Cameron would have been none too pleased when the media highlighted Hastilow's remarks. Indeed, I'm sure he exploded.

Every candidate or MP must realise that they have a responsibility not to bring their party into disrepute, but, equally, they have a right to speak out on issues on which they feel strongly. If they don't they're fools to themselves and demonstrate they are only concerned with climbing the greasy pole.

One issue about to confront Mr Cameron is the proposed gay hatred laws. I understand there are bitter divisions within the shadow cabinet. Some believe the party should oppose the proposals lock, stock and barrel, as similar measures were opposed on religious and racial hatred. Others argue this would be political suicide for the Tories, who would then automatically forgo the support of the gay community.

This is why Gordon Brown wants to add these amendments to the Crime and Immigration Bill. He wants to put the Tories on the spot and make political hay out of any splits. Shamefully, he is quite willing to use the ''gay" issue to do it.

Being a gay man, and a social liberal, I have no hesitation in saying that I oppose anything that will further dilute our right to freedom of speech. Whatever the short-term downsides of opposing this legislation, it is something a principled, consistent Conservative Party ought to do. No one else will, and it is the role of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition to oppose constructively what the Government does. The Lib Dems will almost certainly vote with Labour, although leadership candidate Chris Huhne has said this legislation is not necessary and that anti-gay hate crimes are covered under existing legislation. Hear, hear.

Opposing this legislation is not anti-gay. Rather, it is pro freedom of speech. Such proposals would never see the light of day in the US, where freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution. This issue makes the case better than anything else for a written constitution.
If, as is suggested by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, the burden of proof is on the accused to prove they didn't mean something in a hateful way, it will create a legal minefield. If someone calls a homosexual a ''poof", it can be meant in a number of ways, as this week's Ofcom ruling in favour of Channel 4 has shown. It can be meant in a hateful way but it can also be used as an affectionate term, believe it or not.

Having said that this legislation should be opposed by the Opposition, I have few expectations that they will do so. Tories will seek to amend the proposals but in the end political realities will dictate that they will not go into the ''no" lobby. A ''courageous" abstention will probably win the day.
In some ways I find it hard to criticise such a stance. Ideological purity may be a wonderful thing, but it can be terribly self-indulgent. It invariably results in losing elections. Politics is the art of the possible and sometimes serious politicians are forced to adopt policy positions while holding their noses. This may be one of those occasions.


Anonymous said...

Iain, are you a social liberal? On drugs? marriage and the tax system? Or are you a metropolitan gay conservative? it's ok to use three words rather than two!

cath dibble said...

Iain please stop linking to the Telegraph - every time I read the guff that gets written in the online comments I am compelled never to vote Tory again. So many horrible, horrible people. Getting more like the Mail each day.

Graeme said...

Thanks to Cath Dibble for saying what I was thinking. I agree with your very good article, Iain - except for the moments when I read the sick hatred that makes up the Telegraph's online community.

Anonymous said...

Iain both the commitment to free speech and any kind of ideological purity went straight out of the back door when the Conservatives elected the Heir to Blair as their Leader. We do all have to wonder if a Cameron led Conservative Government would really be any different to the current authoritarian statist control freak shower if elected.

Pascal said...

What is it you said about "climbing the greasy pole" ?

So party political interest comes before defending the freedom of speech. What is the difference in this attitude ?

Are you meaning to say that the tories (or whatever it is they are nowadays if freedom of speech is just not worth defending) are incapable of making their case ? Especially when a law already exists, which would make brown a sitting imbecile duck ?

Maybe the reason people are turned off politics is because of precisely this sort of attitude.


Atlas shrugged said...

And so you should and i would expect no other reaction from you or anyone who describes themselves as a Conservative.

There is no hatred towards gay people, so why bring in a law to protect them?

The only reason is to create hatred that does not exist and divide community into opposing groups.

Divide and rule is the oldest trick in the elitist book.

Do these maniacs think we are all stupid?

Answer: yes

Sonicdeathmonkey said...

Some of those comments on the telegraph website are truely unpleasant. The sooner people like that die off the better for the conservative party and the country as a whole..

Iain I do agree with you. This legistation is getting close to policing thought. Surely it is better to get the public to do something because they think it is the right thing to do, rather than doing it because if they don't they'll be a criminal...

Elby the Berserk said...

You know, the thing about Brown, and I don't know how else to put it, is that he is a total fucking bastard and will stop at nothing to stay in power.

Anonymous said...

Does this proposed law mean that Jonathan Ross would have to re-name his house band? "Four non-heterosexual gentlemen and a piano" perhaps.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Why should the shadow cabinet, or anyone else, assume that gays would welcome this legislation? Surely gays have political views across the whole political spectrum, from left to right? The assumption that they tend to vote Labour is patronising and silly.

True, the left has tried to claim ownership of 'the gay vote', but since there is no such thing they are on a hiding to nothing.

The Tories should vote according to Tory principles, not on narrow tactical grounds. Let's have a bit of statesmanship, for once.

verity said...

I endorse every word that Trumpeter writes, and this is a vile, vile piece of socialist "re-education" legislation which is, as Trumpeter writes, utterly unnecessary. Indeed, if it does anything about attitudes to gays, it will hatch hatred and resentment where none existed before.

And yes, Iain, calling someone a poof can be an insult (although, so what? It's against the law to insult people and take the consequences now?) and it can be a term of affection. It can also, in my experience, be a term of irritation. So can faggot. As in "Stupid faggot", to which a gay man who agrees with one is likely to add, "Yeah. Silly bitch."

You are right, Iain, that few will have the nerve to oppose this Hitlerian,Maoesque, Pol Potesque curb on speech. And yet, it would take no nerve at all, because it's a total non-issue. In fact, of all people equipped to defend themselves from verbal abuse, the gays - many of them with quick, cutting wit - are by far the best armed.

Anonymous 4:10 - When Cameron nominated himself "heir to Blair" and commanded the Opposition to give Blair a round of applause for the decade-long destruction of our civil liberties and our civil society, I knew I couldn't vote for the Conservatives this time round.

verity said...

Gay men do not need the protection of a cheap, sleazy little chancer like Jack Straw. In a one-to-one angry verbal encounter, my money would be on the gay fellah.

James said...

Iain, you have a remarkable talent of being the only gay person in Britain who can come across as homophobic. I hope you're pleased with the kind of vile anti-gay comments you've helped to stimulate by this article on the Telegraph article.

If you're against ALL hatred laws then fair enough, but just opposing gay hatred laws now that we already have hatred laws on race and religion is abyssmal and somewhat surprising considering you're a gay man yourself.

Either all minorities should be protected by this kind of law, or none at all should. And since race and religion are already protected (and those will never be overturned now), it is only fair that sexuality and disability are covered too.

Or do you think gays are not as worthy of equal protection as black people or Catholics are?

Iain Dale said...

James, a rather pathetic interpretation of what I wrote, if I may say so. I opposed the religious and racial hatred laws on the same basis - that they are anti freedom of speech and we already have enough legislation to protect religious, ethnic and sexual minorities.
I take your point on all or none, but that's not what is on the table.

verity said...

Further, this is actually a sly move to pick away at the confidence of gays by turning them into a "protected minority" - in other words, the suggestion is they are weak and need to be put in a special category. In other words, in a sense, he is putting them back in the closet - or a special mental preserve. Better yet, let's get jack into the closet and hammer it shut with vigour, sadly forgetting to provide it with any airholes.

Don't you agree, Trumpeter? I think this should be illegal - separating out one segment of society in a democracy.

Go West said...

There is no such thing as an absolute right to freedom of speech - even in the U.S.. At one end we have the freedom to criticise the government which I think all people would agree is paramount and at the other end the freedom to run into a crowded theatre yelling "fire" when there is none. I think 99.9% would agree that the latter should not be allowed. So somewhere in between is the freedom to say hateful things about other members of society. It's a matter of degree.

On the religion vs. homosexuality issue gay people do not choose their sexuality but religious people choose to believe whatever their personal brand of mumbo-jumbo is. If you adhere to a religion which teaches that all nonbelievers are scum and should be killed then suprise suprise you will discover that your religious "rights" do not extend to carrying this out and will be vigorously opposed by the police.

And Verity - not all gay men go round calling other gays "poof", "girlfriend" or "faggot". Some of us are almost indistinguishable from straight men in public apart from a certain feyness.

Oh and who here is admitting they watch the execrable Jonothan Ross and his embaressingly cliched house band?

verity said...

James - Iain is pro freedom of thought and speech. We cannot have some people in society being more protected than others. This whole thing is repulsive.

England's freedom of speech is now around the level of that of Cuba.

My father always said we needed a written constitution and that it was mad to trust to the goodwill of politicians to protect our rights.

verity said...

Go West - Don't be ridiculous! I was talking about some conversations, some of the time, among some gays. Jeez. Uppity.

harpercat said...

The whole concept of legislation for minorities is getting seriously out of hand. Obviously any fully paid-up member of the human race would seek to protect any member of society from racism, sexism, ageism, whatever - but if there's to be a law it surely should apply equally to all. What makes the gay community, for instance, more deserving of additional legal protection than, say, ginger-haired people? There is just way too much unnecessary legislation from this Government and nothing like enough common sense.

judith said...

There are matters that are offensive (such as making rude and provocative remarks about people's religion, race, sexual persuasion or disability), and there are matters that are criminal.

The Left (with its media and entertainment retinue) have for decades welcomed societal behaviour that encourages offence, and it now wants to turn the unwelcome results of that behaviour into criminality.

What hypocrisy!

verity said...

Harpercat - It has nothing to do with protecting "minorities", whatever the hell that means, and everything to do with speech control and thought control. The firemen - I think it was in the north, who declined to hand out gay literature in their time off, were sent to re-education camp - or, as it is now called "diversity training".

verity said...

They are setting up barriers among people, on a divide-and-conquer basis. I think Britain has never had a more sinister government that Blair and Brown.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

james [5.59 PM] What are you on about? Not one of the comments above can be categorised as 'vile' or 'anti-gay'.

Perhaps you mean, 'comments with which I happen to disagree'?

canvas said...

harpercat says:
"What makes the gay community, for instance, more deserving of additional legal protection than, say, ginger-haired people?"

Gingers don't deserve anything but a bottle of bleach and a tube of cover up for the freckles.


King Tutanhigham said...

Careful, Iain. Pollard started reprinting his MSM columns in his blog and look whee he ended up.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

verity [6.08 PM] I agree. The suggestion that gays need special protection denigrates them. They should enjoy exactly the same protection under the law as any other subject of Her Majesty. No more, no less.

(I use the phrase 'subjects of Her Majesty' expressly to irritate any lefties who might chance to read this.)

James said...

Iain, thanks for your reply.

Precisely, that is NOT what's on the table. So why on earth do you think gay people shouldn't have this protection when ethnic minorities or religious minorities already do?

The race and religion hatred laws will never be overturned, so the option of having no minorites covered is no longer available.

So surely it is only fair that ALL minorities are treated fairly and equally?

You have seen for yourself the kind of homophobic abuse there is on your Telegraph article alone - if anything gay people suffer more from hate speech than black people or Jews do in this country and are probably more deserving of these protections.

And just to point out to some people, this law does not stop people from insulting or ridiculing gays (although of course, that is still wrong) - it simply outlaws inciting hatred and violence specifically against gays.

And there's no such thing as absolute freedom of speech in any nation on earth, so let's not pretend there is.

Madasafish said...

Next we will have laws making it illegal to denigrate politicians and their good works.

It's all bollocks (sorry for the language).

Will it stop or even encourage people to think bad things? Nope.

Will it stop young kids in liverpool killing other kids or adults and putting them on a bonfire?

Solve the above problems - which are real - and worry about the others later imo..

But hey.. it's politicians and they are full of pompous dogoodiness and totally bereft of good sense and ability.

Anonymous said...


As a gay man meself...I'm not sure. I would not want a law to ban what some may see as 'anti-gay' comments when said in humour. In the right context (and 99 times out of a 100 its clear when offence is meant or not) drawing on gay stereotypes can be funny - it should not be necessary to pass a 'being gay' test for it to be OK. Would 'Round the Horne' be broadcast today? Possibly not - and that would be a shame. Many a gay man found comfort (in those threatening times - god, it must have been awful) in sympathetic characters such as Julian and Sandy. And the so-called 'gay community' is not above criticism. That said, I feel uncomfortable when spokesmen - often for religious groups, and they are usually men - get away with suggesting that being gay is somehow abnormal. If I were in the US, where anti-gay nutters can picket the funerals of soldiers in the name of 'free speech', I would think differently.

canvas said...

I don't like The Telegraph. Well, I suppose I should say - I don't like the type of people who read The Telegraph. They seem so narrow minded and old fashioned.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Listen out you apologies for brains wot still wanks to pictures of Dame Shirley Porter - I have a right to be offensive and vile. I have a right to call you what I like. I have a right to pillory whingeing minority groups who portray themselves as Mother Theresa, but who eat poop from bumboys bottoms in private.

So you lot, bugger off, and remember that if you accept this legislation, you will be next.

If you try and take away my words, I will invent new ones. All of you, read

"The pedagogy of the oppressed" by Paulo Freire. (that is if you can still string two sentences together, you miserable losing tutus.

Read "1984" where it is explained to the main protagonist that eventually, the language will be so controlled and so manipulated that thought crimes will become impossible simply because nobody has the words to think one.
You cannot take away my words and you cannot make me think like you do.

I scorn those who think that Iain is betraying all you miserable homos who want special treatment. In taking the stance he has taken, he shows that he belongs to decent humanity, not some seedy sub-culture. Freedom of speech means freedom to join the human race and listen to taxi drivers.

So feck off.

canvas said...

James of November 09, 2007 6:58 PM
speaks the most sense.

I completely agree with James.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Then canvas old chap, you are a dunce.

verity said...

Thanks, Trumpeter. In fact, I would argue that the Bill itself is discriminatory. The suggestion is that gay men are too weak and needy to fight their own battles.

Madasafish writes: "... it's politicians and they are full of pompous dogoodiness and totally bereft of good sense and ability."

This is incorrect. Manipulative skills dressed up as helpfulness run through socialism like a virus.

The communist idea - and Jack Straw's a Trot - is to take away the ability to defend oneself and make the populace dependent on the state for its wellbeing. And,of course, set up competing sets of "victim" groups. A bill against discriminating against straight white men will make its appearance one day, mark my words.

Then they'll have 100 per cent of the population slotted into little competing groups, dependent on the "kindness" of the state.


Wrinkled Weasel said...

You got it, Verity. Spot on.

canvas said...

weasel, I'm no chap. I am a LAYDEEE - so I won't call you a mean name back. LoL



Anonymous said...


Further to my previous post - "Im not sure" - the posts you have allowed on your site confirm why such a law may be necessary: "I have a right to pillory whingeing minority groups who portray themselves as Mother Theresa, but who eat poop from bumboys bottoms in private." That's not humour. Its rant. Piss ignorant, but still rant. Perhaps he is trying to be ironic and funny, but fails on both counts. Sorryn to be a cliche, but insert black, or jew, or muslim, or woman, or disabled. Its not 'comment'.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well in that case, canvas, I will make allowances for you.

I read the Telegraph, but I also read the Times and watch Channel Four News and The Washington Post and God knows what else.

Any newspaper with a clear agenda tends to be an honest newspaper, in the same way that Channel Four News has an honest agenda. The BBC does not. It lies and obfuscates and refuses to acknoledge the truth about itself and it consistently lies to its viewers.

I have meandered a bit, but what I was going to say that if you have something to say, say it - take a few tips from our Verity, who tends to make herslef clear - and come up with an opinion.

At the moment, you are not even a blip on my radar.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I just love anonymous posters. They are de facto pusilanimous nobodies.

Get an ID anon 7.58 - establish some credibility and perhaps I might reply to you.

Troll Patrol said...

Verity said:

"The firemen - I think it was in the north, who declined to hand out gay literature in their time off"

Really? I wonder if they were related to the firemen who refused to hand out fire safety literature at a gay communit event even though they were being paid to do so and had not had a problem doing so at other non-gay community events.

It's how the anti-PC brigade stirs things up really isn't it Verity? Distort the truth or lying as it is also called.

Kris said...

Either give us equal protection under "hate" legislation- or, the better answer, get rid of ALL hate crimes.

Crimes are crimes. An assault hurts me just as bad if it comes from an equal opportunity assailant as from one who hates me because I am black/muslim/gay.

Abolish all hate legislation in this country? Why I must be mad!

But to keep hate crimes for some minorities and not extend to others is a free pass Iain- and I am surprised you don't know better.

verity said...

Kris - How about some protection under the law for posters with an inability to follow an argument?

canvas said...

Weasel Weasel - you said:
"I have meandered a bit, but what I was going to say that if you have something to say, say it - take a few tips from our Verity, who tends to make herslef clear - and come up with an opinion."

>> I always say what I mean - and mean what I say. I like Verity too - but I have my own style - so I don't need tips from anyone. But thanks for your concern.

"At the moment, you are not even a blip on my radar."

>>>So? Should I care? Are you really really important?! :)


You seem nice too.

Over and out. Bye.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

It might help your point troll patrol if you acknowledged that the event concerned, the Scotia Pride parade, included people dressed as erotic nuns, people hardly dressed at all, and the celebration of what appears to be a promiscuous lifestlye.

I don't know about you, but it offends me that sections of this community think it is funny to lampoon those who dedicate their lives to God, the poor and the hungry and instead wish to publicise the fact that they are narcisists of the first order. In fact, it is sick, and I go further..

If they had dressed up as Muslims, they would certainly have been arrested.

How fair is that? Liberal Humanism does not conform to its own internal logic, let alone any sane notion of equality.

Its time to call time on those minorities who tyrannise the majority from a position of weakness.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

I seem nice??? I must be slipping.

Canvas, If I wanted friends, I would get a dog.

verity said...

WW - It's time to stop all official use of the word "minorities". It encourages resentment and victimhood and it is divisive. As, indeed, is its purpose.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Yes, Verity, as Kris has kindly demonstrated -

It's not about minorities or concerns about minorities at all, its about his place in the pecking order...

now let me see, Kris, do you come before or after Jews? Of course, you come before Muslims because they hate Gays...but wait a minute, the rocket eating guardianistas just love Muslims, and lets face it, Kris, Gays are so last century.

Looks as if you'll have to get circumsized if you want to keep your place as a precious minority that can draw attention to itself at every opportunity. Good Luck.

Now I am off to watch the funnies. Goodnight all.

el Tom said...

"Others argue this would be political suicide for the Tories, who would then automatically forgo the support of the gay community."

Wouldn't worry about that. Everyone who cares remembers section 28.

Stay united. Go back to gay bashing.

el Tom said...

Not letting teachers talk to kids about homosexuality: now that's freedom of speech!

verity said...

Jack Straw's a minority.

I remember once seeing him on TV when he said his had been the only middle class family on the estate where he was brought up.

I remembered it because it was such a ludicrous, and at the same time pretentious, thing to say.

Anyway, that would have made his family a "minority". Perhaps the other children teased him with cries of "Middle class! Middle class!" in the playground and that's what turned him into a toking Trot.

Anonymous said...

wrinkled weasel: please check the instructions what is printed on the side of your medication.

Atlas shrugged but no one noticed said...

It seems most on here have starting to wake up to what is happening to our world.

But we would all be wiser to understand that this is not new. It is a well documented conspiracy going back to a time before most of us lot were born.

We are being mind controlled, and have been all our lives. It is my deepest wish that as many people become aware of this FACT ASAP.

Why? I cant tell you, because there really is not anything whatsoever we can do about it. But it is it seems my destiny.

Charitable foundations all over the world but especially inside all of the worlds major universities and political establishments have been running a largely unwitting agenda for their mega wealthy masters.

In the words of G Bush Senior himself.

"It is a big idea, it is The New World Order."

This agenda is designed to keep us disunited frightened and subservient to the wishes of our ruling elites. While they get on with doing what they must do, whatever that may be.

In the past we believed we were doing the will of god or the devil. But with the coming of universal education they had to come up with an alternative strategy to control the thinking of the masses.

Who they seriously do believe are no better then sheep for slaughter, that have to be culled or fattened for market on a regular basis. Whether they are themselves mind controlled and what the real purpose of it all is. I like all of you can only speculate. But it does not seem that they have our better interests at heart.

Even our recent history should have made this bullshit abundantly obvious to even the most un observant and disinterested of mankind.

A history that these people sometimes wrote and then always published and then promoted in our schools. A historical prospective which bares little resemblance to the real fundamental reasons why most things have happened at all. Basically it works like this. If you came out with anything like the real truth you would never get your PhD so no one will ever pay any real attention to what you are saying.

Sometimes many years after an event evidence that a conspiracy rather then chance or evolutionary effects has guided mans destiny. JFK for example but there is an almost infinite number more, that we will never be able allowed to fully investigate.

There exists tons of DOCUMENTED classified evidence that the feminist movement, CND, Castro, radical and reactionary political movements, the KGB, the CIA, and many others have all been taken over, or deliberately created by massive amounts of finance coming from the SAME PLACE.

There has been many high up influential and highly educated soon to be dead people, since the 50's, who have been in positions to know. That have 'come out' and proclaimed this reality of life, time and time again.

Otherwise why are our politicians obsessed with giving us gay legislation, not even 1% of gay people want of have ever asked for?

When they will never get us out of the EU even if 99% of the entire population of Europe begged for this outcome on their hands and knees.

I wish that I did not believe a word of the above but I cant ignore the evidence of my own eyes and ears any longer. Even if I had never investigated these matters, the daily 'in your face evidence' is now becoming overwhelming.

One thing to consider. There is a growing amount of people that believe that select Islamist movements receive their finance and radical violent suicidal teachings also from the same place. They have in effect been set up, and so have we.

Read well as I do not intend to post again on this matter. I have a wife and four children to think about.

Anonymous said...


You have my admiration. You wrote a calm and cogent article defending free speech, and have put up with some pathetic comments from others unable to make such a point graciously without being offensive, allowing such posts to be published in accordance with your beliefs. Well done, man.

Kris said...


In the absence of any reasonable explanation for your personal attack, we are obliged to conclude you're not your usual erudite self:

Is that HRT not working out for you?

All my love

Kris said...

yes, verity, let's not give hate protection for gays but keep it for our islamist friends.

hope you enjoy the niqab.

verity said...

Kris - First, and I mean this kindly, please take lessons in English grammar.

You are clearly from overseas. People called Kris or other Scandinavian names, speak perfect English. So choose a more appropriate handle. Like, Mohammad, for example, just off the top of my head.

Second, making derogatory comments about women - of whatever age you are fantasing - is "sexist". See, women are a protected species, and you have just gone over the line.

Expect a visit from the Gender Equality Service in the morning.

If you punch in the numbers on your mobile fast enough, you may be able to contact the Religious Equality Police before the Gender Equality Police make it to your bedsit.

ironed sardine said...

Verity: Speak for yourself dear. What a funny place to have your mouth "speaking off the top of my head". Not very good English is it?

The Scottienda said...

Perhaps the new incitement laws are too soon - there has to be more widespread public acceptance of homosexuals, I believe the legislation won't be enough to end the problem

straight armchair viewer said...

I have just been watching Mel Brooks' "The Producers" (again). Brilliant, but entirely sympathetic and supportive poofery all round, but I wonder whether he would be allowed to make such a film in these times?

verity said...

Ironed sardine - Yes, it's English. We've used this term for several hundred years.

Perhaps the term "top of my head" has a more sinister meaning in your society? Where people you don't like so often find themselves missing the top of their heads? Or sometimes their entire head?

Are you related to Iain Blair?

David said...

The trouble about prurient anti-hatred laws is that they tend to foster an atmosphere in which discussion on controversial incidents or statements is foreclosed. For instance, Jim Davis's designation of Brian as a 'shirt lifter' in the recent series of Hell's Kitchen may well have fallen foul of the proposed legislation. It was simply assumed by most of the other contestants that this was intended as a homophobic remark; and because the programme makers didn't want a re-run of the Shilpa Shetty 'race hate' [which it wasn't] row, they simply removed the offending person from the show - thereby preventing a more rational debate of the episode.

Introducing strict legislation on such matters can only foster still further the paranoia about not just causing offence but committing an offence - leading, if not to outright censorship, at least excessive self-censorship. These things are better out than in, so to speak; at least, then they can be debated properly.

Fred said...

Iain a very responsible Article, well written with integrity. I am sure the overwhelming majority of readers support your view.
My concerns however, are that there are a number of individuals who use the Gay card as a weapon, which in my view is self defeating and an action which loses total respect and support.
The Fiasco in Falmouth two years ago comes to mind when a PPC used the "card" against local members, which resulted in his absolute defeat at the hands of the electorate, and the destruction of support in the local party as a working machine.

Lady Finchley said...

James, you are missing the point about the anti hatred laws on religious hatred. The Conservatives watered down the Bill so much (thank God!) that the 'laws' ain't worth a shit. However, Stonewall are way too intelligent to accept such guff this time 'round unlike some of the dumb religious pressure groups. The entire episode is about the Government playing mischief and wanting to divide the Tories. While I agree with Iain I feel we have no choice accept to play along - to quote that famous pragmatist, Henri IV - 'Paris is well worth a mass'!

Troll Patrol said...

Wrinkled Weasel

do you spend a lot of time at gay pride marches being outraged and disgusted by the scantily clad young men on display?

verity said...

Troll Patrol - It's the scantily clad old men who think they're still 20 that cause an urgent desire to avert the eyes. When you're 60, your days of wearing short shorts in public should have drawn to a graceful close.

As to your snide innuendo that people seek to be disgusted by looking at "scantily clad" young men, I think we both know that the kind of young men who take place in these demonstrations are inyerface attention-seekers hoping ├ępater le bourgeoisie. They're vicious and destructive. They dress to offend.

Fred writes: "My concerns however, are that there are a number of individuals who use the Gay card as a weapon, which in my view is self defeating ..."

If it's self-defeating, why are you "concerned"?

verity said...

I take back my earlier remarks that most gays are quick-witted and clever with words. The self-righteous nellies on this thread have,in the main, produced some real clunkers. Go West is the exception.

Little Black Sambo said...

Go West says, "religious people choose to believe whatever their personal brand of mumbo-jumbo is". The only people who can freely choose what to believe are irrational or mad. Since you presumably do not mean to imply that religious believers are necessarily either of these, you ought to accept that people cannot just change their beliefs about supernatural matters for the sake of convenience or social conformity.

verity said...

Little Black Sambo - I had forgotten that Go West made that dismissive comment and you are correct. People do not "choose" what to believe. Any more than they "choose" to be a redhead, or Chinese or ... gay.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

troll patrol. Are you one too?

No matter, you have missed the point. Verity and I were originally alluding to the fact that Firefighters were ordered to attend this putrid show of narcissism and blasphemy. I am not against old poofs parading around like prositutes, nor am I against them dressing as nuns if they wish to, but I am against being forced to watch it or to attend it in a professional capacity.

You should be aware of the nuances of this argument, but clearly you are not. I am very broad minded in fact, but public shows of perversion are not to my taste and I defend everyone's right to that opinion.

I do think you should shut up and try and learn some humility, go about your alternative lifestyle with discretion, as I do mine.

troll patrol said...

Wrinkled Weasel
Am I one too what?

My original point was made in response to Verity's claim that they were made to hand out gay literature in their own time which was demonstrably false, though I regret calling Verity a liar in a moment of rashness.

I don't personally have any truck with gay pride parades and the frankly tasteless displays of sexuality in public either. But then again I don't attend them. As for the sight of hairy old moustachioed men who should have dropped off the (political) scene a long-time ago I'd prefer not to see photos of Ken Livingstone attending them either.

I always believed that firemen were brave people who were inured to sights and dangers that most of us, including me, would be unable to face. I didn't think the line would be drawn at handing out some pamphlets to a silly man in a nun's costume at a gay pride march.

What if they were muslim firefighters who refused to give a talk on fire safety at a Jewish school? It's not exactly the same situation I know but where do you draw the line?

verity said...

No, Troll Patrol, it's "not exactly the same situation". You can prove anything with fanciful analogies.

Perhaps the firemen were Christians and offended at the attempted denigration of women who have dedicated their lives to serving others and serving Christ. They have a right to be so offended in their own time. This is not to say they wouldn't rescue one of these crude dolts from a burning building.

betsy said...

Re Verity at 12.48. You stupid man verity- maybe Fred is making the point in defense of Iain that a number of Gays are letting the side down by waving the Gay card as a weapon of defense. You seem to be getting in a FIZZ over it. Do you condone certain gays who cry homophobia when wanting mummy.

Go West said...

LBS and Verity,
I have a great deal of respect for religion and the role that faith can play in society. As indeed I do for science and the role that rationality serves in counteracting the more extreme tenets of those faiths. I spend half my time traipsing around the churches of Christian Europe but, despite my best attempts, and God knows I have tried, I have never been able to overcome the fundamental issue that, to paraphrase Gibbon "they can't all be right but they could all be wrong". I choose to be an atheist in the face of the evidence, obviously, as I see it. I sometime wish it were otherwise. But that's my choice.

troll patrol said...

Verity - firstly I did say "its not exactly the same situation". I am aware of the differences. Nor have I claimed that the firemen, regardless of their beliefs, would hesitate to save the lives of anyone who was in danger regardless of their personal proclivities or beliefs.

The lampooning of the church at such events is, I understand, an attempt to counteract the claims of some churches (and not all churches do) that homosexuality is a grave sin. Historically the church has had a leading role in persecuting gays. Left wing agit prop is tedious but it is not entirely gratuitous in this case. I personally would prefer that they didn't but it is, is it not, a form of freedom of speech for political reasons? Or possibly some silly poofs who lack the imagination to come up with something more original and less offensive, like, I dont know, burning an effigy of a Catholic martyr on November 5th.

verity said...

The church also burned "witches" hundreds of years ago. They got over it. Why can't you?

If you want to attack a religion that can't haul itself out of the Dark Ages, go after islam.

troll patrol said...

I think you are losing the (gunpowder) plot.

I am not sure the "witches" who were burned are in much of a position to forgive.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Well you are starting to make some sense now, trolly. I have always thought that burning an effigy of a Catholic was a bit much in this day and age.

Why not just have a stoning - as long as it was the "right kind" of stoning with the right kind of stones.

Desperate Dan said...

The groups who demand anti-discriminatory laws are usually ashamed of who they are and don't want anyone to refer to it.
Gays are not ashamed of who they are. Why should they be? Neither are mothers-in-law; blondes; women with big busts; men with beard and sandals; Scotsmen; Irishmen; Welshmen; Englishmen; Frenchmen; Germans; Christians; royalty or any of the other people who are regularly pilloried by the people who are protected by anti-discrimination laws.

Little Black Sambo said...

Go West: You are not choosing to be an atheist, you are an atheist because that is where your reason & common sense lead you; that is not "free" choice. You actually CANNOT decide to stop being an atheist & believe in "mumbo-jumbo" any more than a convinced Christian can stop being a Christian and believe in mumbo-jumbo either.

verity said...

Troll Patrol - I thought it was obvious that I referred to the churches getting over it, as 'churches' was the subject of my sentence.

"Gay Hatred" laws are designed to separate gay men from the rest of us. They are designed to make them feel apart - and to make the rest of us thinking they're weird and "different".

This is going to be a vile, divisive law - which is its point.

Troll Patrol said...

Sorry LBS but I stood in front of Christian altars and prayed and read books about the early Christian church and also Richard Dawkins and guess what? I sat on a beach and thought about it and I made a choice. And the choice I made, for better or worse, was that there wasn't sufficient evidence to believe in a god or religion, let alone one of the many choices on offer. Of all the books about the human experience I have ever read the one that moved me the most was Primo Levi's "If This Is A Man". Or if you prefer fiction, Cormack McCarthy's "The Road". We can survive ok without your donkey gods.

verity said...

"We can survive ok without your donkey gods."

What a gratuitously offensive, not to say malign, statement, you arrogant little prig.

Little Black Sambo said...

Troll Patrol: never mind my donkey gods; you know nothing about them. You say you chose not to believe: no, you are compelled by your reason & integrity to take the position you do. You could not have made any other "choice" without violating both. Nothing you have said destroys my argument.

verity said...

Jenny McCartney has an excellent piece on this in The Telegraph and she brings up some well-aimed, incisive points that were not addressed by Iain in his column. She makes just as strong a case for no more legislation.