Friday, July 03, 2009

An Open Letter to Ben Bradshaw & Chris Bryant

Dear Ben and Chris,

I have read your attacks on the Conservative Party and its attitude to homosexuality with a mounting sense of despair. I do not believe there is anything the Conservative Party could do to stop these partisan attacks. Michael Howard apologised for Section 28, as David Cameron has done too. There are now two gay members of the Shadow Cabinet who are in civil partnerships. There are dozens of Conservatives who have been selected as parliamentary candidates and are openly gay - I know, I was the first back in 2003. Instead of concentrating on one or two recalcitrant dinosaurs in the Tory parliamentary party and alleging that a "deep strain of homophobia exists on the Tory benches" (I note you provide no evidence, just rather nasty slurs), why not celebrate the progress the Tories have made in adopting progressive policies on diversity? You know full well that the days of Section 28 are well and truly behind us. This year the Conservatives are orgainsing a Pride Night at a nightclub in Manchester's Canal Street during their conference. A decade ago there would have been a small fringe meeting in some dingy hotel attended by twenty or so conference delegates, who were attending out of a sense of duty. Along with Margot James, I am hosting this year's event. David Cameron will be there along with many of the Shadow Cabinet. I've written to Tory MPs inviting them and so far the acceptance rate is extremely high. This is not a sign of a political party which is ignoring diversity issues, or frightened of them. Indeed, I am sure if either you would like to come (and I hereby invite you) you would not only enjoy the event but be impressed by a party which has come to terms with its past on this issue, acknowledged its mistakes and apologised for them, and wants to reach out to people who, a decade ago wouldn't have even thought about supporting it.

Chris, you say you don't think Cameron is homophobic (well, that's a start) but you think that his backbenchers after the next election may force him to introduce anti-gay legislation. Well, it's nice of you to acknowledge that you're going to lose, but I am not sure whether you are making this accusation because you genuinely believe it to be true or to try to frighten gay people into making an anti Conservative vote. If it's the latter, let me assure you that you are wrong. Most of the new Tory MPs will be under 40 and have grown up in a society which is not only tolerant of gay people but embraces them. I can honestly say I know of no Tory candidate who would support, let alone initiate any move to reverse the legislation passed by Tony Blair's government on civil partnerships, age of consent or anything else to do with gay equality. Your accusation is unfair and I hope in time you will come to acknowledge that.

In my speech at my civil partnership ceremony I thanked Tony Blair for making such an event possible. Why do you both find it impossible to articulate any sort of acknowledgement of the fact that the Tories have changed? I know why. It's because it doesn't fit your leader's political narrative. What it does is show that you have now become the nasty party.

We all know that homophobes exist in all political parties and at all levels of society - just as there are racists and sexists. Yes, they all exist in the Tory Party, but you should also acknowledge that your own party has its fair share. Look at some of your own parliamentary colleagues and listen to what they say over a beer in the strangers bar of an evening. Despite many of the welcome changes to legislation your government has brought about, such atttitudes still exist. They won't be eradicated by petty political attacks such as the one you have made today. Gay people aren't stupid, yet you are both telling them that by voting Tory (as many of them have indicated they will) 'they know not what they do'. Actually, they know very well. Like the rest of society they pay mortgages, they see food prices going up, they are concerned at the huge levels of debt your government has racked up. Gay people use the health service and they see the chronic mismanagement and waste. Like everyone else they see town centres which are out of control at night through binge drinking. They are fed up with the political correctness your government encourages. They see an immigration system which is cracking under the strain and a police force which has been demoralised by the red tape you have introduced. In short they see a country crying out for change. They reject your politics of envy and politics of division. Gay people do not wish to become part of Labour's client state. In short they want change, and they see a Conservative Party which is not only ready to give it to them, but will embrace them and encourage them to play an important part in that change.

David Cameron won't patronise the gay community. He'll treat them like adults. And that's part of the reason why they are turning to the Conservatives in large numbers. It's about time you recognised that attacks such as those you have made today do great damage to your own standing and the cause of equality in general. We should try to find common cause rather than constantly to seek cheap political advantage.

Yours Ever


UPDATE 6.30pm: Ben Bradshaw has posted a reply to this letter on LabourList HERE. He doesn't really address the issues I have raised, but there we go.


Anonymous said...

Well said Iain.

I am very glad you have written in response this these shameful attacks. This, too, on a day when Gordon Brown has condemned personal attacks.

I hope that the gay community can see through this vicious sniping and vote as they wish. It is not for the Labour Party to tell them what to think. How dare they try.

As an aside, I see that Brown has stated that he has never personally attacked a fellow politician. If this is true (and I don't believe it is: used car salesman, anyone?), then it still doesn't exonerate his involvement in gutter politics. Years of threatening enemies using his attack dog McBride doesn't make him look like the saint he claims.

Half The Story said...
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Half The Story said...

Nice letter, I would like you to have written it in a devils kitchen style mind.

Dear Myopic Statist C....

Would have been a great opener......

Stephen said...

nice one

Hackney_2000 said...

As a gay man who has never and will never vote Tory, the stupid cr*p that Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant have come out with is the single biggest thing that might actually persuade me to vote Conservative next time. Do they think gay people are fools? Chris Bryant's contribution to British society thus far has been to parade in his pants on gaydar. Who is he to tell me who to be grateful for or to frightened of? I seem to remember that the Liberal Democrats were talking about gay equality and changing discriminatory legislation well before Labour did, and as you point out, Iain, the Labour benches contains many crusty old homophobes.

Lord Snooty said...

Although I'm glad to see you haven't ignored this (just waiting for the Osborne post now!), I think your rather lengthy response borders on the dishonest. You attack Bradshaw and Bryant for things they didn't say, exaggerate things they did say (and then attack those exaggerations) and generally over-egg your critique to a quite shameful extent. Your 'defence' of the Tory party then seems to amount to not much more than saying that there are some gay Tories and some Tories who aren't homophobic. I can't imagine anyone arguing to the contrary but that is a long way from providing evidence to counter the claim that there is homophobia in the Tory party. Very disappointing from you, Iain.

Anonymous said...

Well said, they are chancers who think gay people should stay in their pigeonhole and think through that prism only, not as the rounded individuals we all are.

But of course this point that there are homophobes in all parties only rings true in sophistry. Labour may have a few men in flat caps muttering about "puffters and wuffters", but there's no-one voicing this culture war stuff like Tombstone do.

Disco Biscuit said...

Good stuff, Iain.

It's interesting that in their desperation, Bryant and Bradshaw are letting the mask slip. They're trying to frighten the gay community to vote for them - in other words, they're using their own community for their own personal political gain.

They should be ashamed of themselves.

John T said...

"Gay people do not wish..."

Do they all wish for the same thing?

Little Red Riding Hood said...

I agree that Cameron is in no way but if there were votes in it...

Unsworth said...

Nicely done. But, as you rightly indicate, their positions are a reflection of their political allegiances rather than anything seriously to do with gays in our society.

This is old news, really. They are trying to fight yesterday's wars. For Conservatives things have moved on (are moving on) considerably - and will continue to do so. But these guys are seeking to turn the clock back for political expediency.

Cynic said...

Sad, sad people who can only define themselves by their sexuality and are so desperate for votes. But perhaps this is a positive sign that the rest of us have moved on and they have to resort to this nonsense to try to gain any support!

Little Micky Owen said...

This is all very well but you forget that we all in our hearts know the truth: racism, homophobia and class snobbery are in the DNA of the Conservative Party.

Unsworth said...

@ Lord snooty

"there are some gay Tories and some Tories who aren't homophobic"

And this is not true of all other political parties? Or do you hold that, for example, the NuLab troglodites are all 'gay neutral'?

Your position seems confused

Chicken tonight said...

Have you taken special lessons in pomposity and self-righteousness? Just askin.

VotR said...

Labour will be influencing muslim party members to smear the Tories next, I can imagine.

The government seems to be in a new campaign of nastiness of Tory smear attacks. They will stoop to any level to cling to power. It has corrupted them that much, it's blatantly obvious what they are up to. Your open letter can go a long way to help stamp that out, but Liebour will employ some other group to start in another area they perceive as Tory weakness. How pathetic of them. And these are the people in charge of us.

A pantomime lasting a year, even throughout the general election. And it's the public who are getting caught in this childish cross-fire, Iain.

trevorsden said...

Bradshaw? Bryant? A pair uf useless tw@ts !

"Do they think gay people are fools?" -- OF COURSE THEY DO. They think 'gays' are their own personal property their pets to perform and vote as they say.

C'mon Hackney2000 - wise up and take a real look at the nasty lying labour party.

Lord Snooty said...

""there are some gay Tories and some Tories who aren't homophobic"

And this is not true of all other political parties? Or do you hold that, for example, the NuLab troglodites are all 'gay neutral'?"

Yes, that's exactly my point. Iain's supposed defence of the Tory part was simply a statement of the bleeding obvious that applies to all parties. The original claim was that homophobia is particularly prevalent amongst Tories and Iain does not deal with that adequately.

Intelligent Micky Owen said...

Well done Iain. We all in our hearts know the truth: smears, lies and class chippyness are in the DNA of the Labour Party.

Bill Quango MP said...

Well said.
Anon at the top of the list hits the bullseye.
Chancer Brown trying to get people to feel sorry for him just because he's so witless that when he make a verbal gaffe he just sits down and fumes. He blames evil Tories for lowering the tone while his minions carry on using the McBride method

Penfold said...

Good letter Iain.

why grace the two prats with a defence, they are simply smearing the opposition in the traditional manner, attempting to scare people into voting for their party, by demonising others.

A pox and plague on the pair of 'em.

Little Micky Owen said...

To my intelligent namesake;

Sorry to disillusion you but Tories are pretty good at smears and lies too. But what they really excel at is prejudice, discrimination and the perpetuation of social injustice. Dave has done a good PR job at convincing people otherwise but his party is the same as it's always been at heart.

Lord Snooty said...

It's very easy for Dave and other Tories to say 'sorry about section 28 - vote for me!' but you don't have to travel very far in Tory circles to meet lots of people who still believe it was the right thing to do. And that makes me think that Dave is really just being deeply cynical on this and treating politics like a glorified marketing job. And that's why Iain is misguided in his letter of defence.

Curbishlyauto said...

You are right Iain they have become desperate, striking out in fear and bigotry. They expose more of themselves than they wish and it's a very unedifying sight.

Anonymous said...

This was always going to happen. As minority groups gain majority acceptance they tend to vote in increasingly diverse ways.

This is always hard to accept for the people who have helped gain that acceptance e.g. through the civil partnerships legislation.

The lack of gratitude by the minority group always leads to bitterness, especially when the group in question buggers off to vote for people who wouldn't have looked them in the eye 20 years ago. But there is never any gratitude in politics.

AC/DC said...


"You are right Iain they have become desperate, striking out in fear and bigotry. They expose more of themselves than they wish and it's a very unedifying sight."

More unedifying is the sight of people burying their heads in the sand. Section 28 was not just some trivial aberration of no real consequence. Cameron can't just say 'soz, everyone, we're nice now' and expect people to take it at face value. There has been for a very long time a deep seam of homophobia and intolerance amongst Tories. Perhaps that has changed (I'm not denying that as a possibility) but there's no way I'm just taking Cameron's (or Iain's) word for it without seeing some clear and sustained supporting evidence. So I agree with the view that it would be highly risky at the moment to vote Tory if you have a concern about anti-gay discrimination. As Iain happily concedes, it's Labour over the last 12 years that has made massive strides forward in this area, often opposed along the way by the Tories.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand the idea that Labour is or ever has been a pro-gay party. Does no remember how Labour - and the Liberals, for that matter - lynched Peter Tatchell?

The presence of a handful of radical militant lesbian womyn in the party does not change the fact that Labour, at its core, is a small-minded, deeply homophobic and heteronormative party. Always has been, always will be.

Imagine what would happen if an openly homosexual Labour candidate stood in, say, Liverpool or Manchester or Newcastle. Imagine how the militant Irish Catholics of Scottish Labour would respond to a gay MP standing in Glasgow. Dear God, does no-one remember how they hounded poor Gordon McMaster to suicide because of his sexuality?

Very few Conservative voters would care much about the sexuality of a candidate - and this has always been true. Very few Labour voters would ever be capable of looking beyond the sexuality (or race or gender) of a candidate - and this has always been true. It's also the reason why so many Labour voters are so ready to switch to the BNP at the drop of a hat.

canvas said...
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Hipponess said...

Very well said Mr. Dale.
It degrades politics to bring this into it. The public want honesty, and the vast majority don't really care what your sexual preferences are.
As long as it doesn't involve animals and children, is between consenting adults, crack away.
Take it as flattery that they need to resort to such low tactics. It's clear they can't think of anything half intelligent to say.

Richard Dale said...

Well said overall, Iain. This is a sound response to a very typical, nasty, tribal bit of Labour propaganda.

However you are also helping to spread another piece of Labour propaganda, that Section 28 was "anti-gay". It was probably misguided; it was Daily Mail politics, politics of public panic (but much Labour policy can be traced to similar roots). It might have been foolish, having damaged the Conservative Party. What it never was is anti-gay.

Clause 28 never stopped, or tried to stop or aimed to stop anyone being gay. It didn't, as its critics claim, prevent teachers from addressing homophobia, or from carrying out their pastoral care duties with homosxual pupils.

It was about sexual politics, not about sexuality per se. It was a bit of politics (or rather banning of politics) set into law, which I believe to be foolish, but again Labour are far more guilty of that than the Conservatives ever were of politicising the statute book. The left has been playing politics with education for decades. Clause 28 was simply, as far as I can see, a misguided overreaction to that.

canvas said...

Sayeeda Warsi is a self serving hypocrite. This is the bit that made me laugh...>>

"Baroness Warsi, shadow minister for community cohesion, said: "On the day that the prime minister said that he did not approve of personal attacks in politics it would appear that members of the Labour Party failed to heed his message. It is a shame that Labour politicians cannot engage on the policy issues around equality and instead revert to name calling.

"David Cameron and the Conservatives Party have made clear they do not believe that anybody should be disadvantaged on the grounds of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation."

Warsi is a bogus champion of gay rights. Her (allegedly)homophobic views are well documented. "Some of her 2005 campaign leaflets claimed that Labour's lowering of the homosexual age of consent from 18 to 16 was "allowing schoolchildren to be propositioned for homosexual relationships", and that homosexuality was being peddled to children as young as seven in schools."

She didn't support sex education in the school system. Warsi also said that the removal of Section 28 from the Local Government Act 1986 was 'the promotion of homosexuality'

what a joke that woman is.

As for David Cameron, I believe he is sincere. He has a hard job ahead of him because I do believe that a lot of the old school Tories are indeed homophobes. I hope DC manages to get rid of them all - even if it's through 'dodgy expenses' cover. Get rid of them and move on.

Colm Howard-Lloyd said...

These comments we made at the Pride London / JAKE debate.

It was evident Chris Bryant and Ben Bradshaw felt they were speaking to an audience already convinced of Nu Labour's credentials on LGBT issues. So rather than "sell" all of the party's successes and future initiatives they spent their time attacking the Conservative speakers for every minor infraction from the last hundred or so years.

However my biggest dissapointment was the Tory speakers. Given it was a room of mostly gay voters there seem to be too much focus on being an apologist for Tory failings. What they should of of been doing is selling why Tory values align most strongly with the principles of equality and opportunity.

We have to be brave. Apologize yes for some mistakes, but don't be shy about successes. It's time more gay men came out. As Tories.

Lord Snooty said...

AC/DC - you are absolutely right. I was trying to say something like this but wasn't as eloquent as you!

BG said...

Well done Iain.

The arrogant and tribal Chris Bryan - he of the Y-fronts on the web fame - has a track record of using slurs and smears about political opponents, be it Tory, Plaid Cymru or Lib Dems.

These attacks on the Conservative Party only shows how rattled Labour has become and will achieve
only in boosting Conservative support amongst gay and lesbian people.

Labour is a disgrace, drunk on power, betrayed its ideals.

Its time for a change.

Anonymous said...

Very few Labour voters would ever be capable of looking beyond the sexuality (or race or gender) of a candidate - and this has always been true. It's also the reason why so many Labour voters are so ready to switch to the BNP at the drop of a hat.

I might also say it's the reason why Labour has granted swathes of the country - including the constituency of Glasgow Central - to candidates chosen for no other reason than their ability to mobilise a selected ethnic minority to vote for Labour.

Labour is about one thing: identity politics. That identity can be based on gender, ethnicity, religion or class but it's always about Us against Them - Black against White, Women against Men, Catholics against Protestants, Workers against Toffs. And, yes, Straight against Gay.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, Iain. And you are spot on - Labous is now the official 'Nasty' party, and the more the realisation of imminent defeat sets in, the nastier they will get. I cannot imagine the unelected Prime Minister being in any way generous in defeat, and wishing Cameron and his Government well. But that's Labour - they preach tolerance, and are the most intolerant when it comes to anyone who disagrees with them. But I digress - I have been an active member of my local Conservative association for 10 years now, and I can honestly say I have never come across racism, sexism, homophobia or any other 'ism' and 'ia' that the politically correct brigade invent. We discuss and debate matters in a sensible way, ranging from immigration, Brown's lamentable and embarrassing Premiership, to the rights and wrongs of rail privatisation to any other relevant issue. We are generous to acknowlege some of the sensible things Labour his done in power (not many, I know), and enthusiastic about the potential for a Conservative Government under Cameron. All in all I am proud to be a member of an all inclusive, modern, progressive Conservative Party, and well done you for your response to the real bigots of this world - idiots like Bradshaw and Bryant, who in desperation have now resulted to the politics of fear. Pathetic. Well done Iain.

Bon said...

Morning Iain. A lovely post bringing a bit of balance.
I am now just utterly staggered at the level Labour are bringing Politics down to.
McBride went because he was caught out inventing slurs, and Labour promised to clean up. These sort of comments just show that Labour has no intention of cleaning up their act, and stink of desperation.
It also indicates to me that the rot is truely from the top.
I couldn't bring myself to vote for them ever, and I know with things like this a LOT of my friends, Straight and Gay, are deciding to go Lib Dem or Conservative.
There are accusations of Bullying and Manipulation in the Big Brother House this year, and the public are seeing right through it. They are also seeing right through Labour.

Lord Snooty said...

I think Richard Dale rather proves the point.

Unsworth said...

@ Lord Snooty

Well, nice to have a little clarification. So what would you have said, then?

Richard Dale said...

Little Micky Owen

You are talking complete garbage. Typical left-wing tribalism, and it's dull. You have no reason for saying that the Conservative party has favoured discrimination or social injustice. It would be far easier to show that Labour do so, they have damaged social integration and deprived the poor of opportunities that the Conservatives have sought to provide.

Lord Snooty

You don't have to go far in the Union movement, Labour or the Lib Dems to find similar attitudes, or equally disgraceful social attitudes. It wasn't a Conservative Councillor who lost her seat for having put out homophobic leaflets agaisnt her opponent.

Iain Dale said...

Colm, Who were the Tory speakers?


Miserable Old Git said...

Iain, I think that you have hit the nail on the head. Labour are the truely nasty party.

This is just the first stage in Labour campaigning. Single out a social grouping, and say the Tories hate them, and then move on to the next one and do the same.

Next they will accuse the Tories of being racist because they want to talk about immigration. Oh wait, they did that in 2005.

Richard Dale said...
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Little Red Riding Hood said...

For those still ignoring the truth, go and have a look at some of Guido's archived posts (and especially comments) and then come back and tell me that there aren't still an awful lot of Tory supporters who are deeply homophobic. You have 'the nasty party' written deep inside you all like a stick of rock.

Bardirect said...

Haven't the Conservatives lso got a good track record in local government with openly gay councillors and Mayors since the early 80's eg in Derby (or have I let the cat out of the bag?)

Lord Snooty said...

@ Unsworth
"So what would you have said, then?"

My point is that this is not something that can be dealt with just by 'saying something'. You have to demonstrate it, over time, for the long haul. It's about building up a reputation which is based not just on what you say but what you do. At the moment, in my view, the Tories' reputation in this area is poor. In the future, they may turn that around but it insults our intelligence for Cameron to think he can do that now with a few slick soundbites.

Richard Dale said...

Lord Snooty

What have I said that in any way proves your point? What is biased, homophobic or anti-gay?

Except that of course you are on the self-righteous left. So anything that does not fit with your opinions must, by definition, be not only wrong but completely unacceptable. The self-satisfied hypocrites of the academic class war cannot even understand reasoned opinions that differ from their own, so they try to shout them down.

Oh, and you make a really dumb, crass assumption. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of the Conservative Party. I am a libertarian. Since the Conservative Party is by far the most libertarian of the large parties I will often agree with them, but my opinions do not affect Conservative policy.

Lord Snooty said...

@ Richard Dale

Calm down, love! So I'm making 'crass' assumptions about you being a Conservative supporter? Please remind me where in the text of my comment I say that. You then go on to make the ('dumb', 'crass'?) assumption that I'm on the 'self-righteous left'. How exactly do you know that, Richard? But, to be fair, you did brighten my day with one of the funniest statements I've read on here today ("the Conservative Party is by far the most libertarian of the large parties"), so thanks very much for that.

Andrew K said...

Is it homophobic to say that Mr Bradshaw has been a posturing little ninny throughout his parliamentary career?

Curbishlyauto said...

Tatchell having his say.

I am not surprised that Gordon Brown has turned down an invitation to march on Saturday's Pride London gay parade. Downing Street is claiming that "security considerations" prevent the prime minister from attending. This is a poor excuse. Doesn't he have bodyguards and a flak jacket?

More likely, he is not marching because he fears he would be booed and jeered, like he was at the D-day commemorations. His government is not as pro-gay rights as it claims. He has angered many people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by blocking full equality on issues such as civil marriage and protection against homophobic harassment, which is explicitly excluded from the current equality bill.

Little Red Riding Hood said...

"Is it homophobic to say that Mr Bradshaw has been a posturing little ninny throughout his parliamentary career?"

Nope, not at all. Nor is it homophobic for me to say that Iain Dale is a pompous bloated egotist.

Anonymous said...

Well Mr Dale, David Cameron says some nice things but it was only 5 years ago when Hague enforced a 3 line whip on the Section 28 vote.

I am very suspicious of mass-conversions on the Road To Damascus.

Some questions really do remain. The voting record for a great many Tories is not good at all. Section 28 led to radio silence on gay issues, and enabled prejudice to go unchecked. Go ask the relatives of Michael Causer, kicked to death, execution style, because of who he was.

1. How much influence to the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Cornerstone Group (amusingly referred to by Alan Duncan as the 'Christian Taleban')?

2. How much influence do fundamentalist organisations like CARE have in placing researchers?

3. What is the Tory party's policy on allowing faith schools to teach sexual ethics 'according to their ethos' - which is currently Labour party policy. Does the Tory party also think it's perfectly acceptable for faith schools to instil guilt and shame into gay pupils for being who they are? What measures of protection will such pupils get from this kind of religious bullying?

4. If sexuality is no longer an issue, then why can't the Tories support gay couples who wish to call their relationships 'marriages'?

You have a point about the Labour party - and do keep reminding people, that the Blair government grudgingly accepted the European Court of Human Rights ruling on to stop criminalising LGBTs in the military. It irritates me that they now lie about that.


Elliot Kane said...

Very well written, Sir! An excellent piece :)

Uncle Bob said...

Bryant's my MP. Think I shall semd him an email. I don't want my local representative at parliament smearing his opponents without substance. New Labour, New nasty party.

I'm sure gay people vote the same as the rest of us when it comes to elections, they pick the party that represents what direction they want the country to go in. To be honest, there's not many gay issues left. The UK is now one of the most socially liberal nations on earth. Like racism, homophobia is something that will die out as generations pass.

New Labour, New 'nasty party'? Seems about right.

Cinna said...

Little Red Riding Hood:

How naive to think that all Guido's readers are all Tory. They have a diverse range of political views. What unites them, however, is a deep dislike of this government and it's nasty, lying, corrupt members. Particularly the likes of Gordon Brown, Mandelson and Balls.

Lord Snooty said...


You make some very good points here. It's very hard to take this Tory conversion seriously without seeing it backed up by sustained action for the next few years. I agree too that Labour could have gone much further and have little reason for complacency on this. But if I were deciding who to vote for on this issue alone, it's virtually no contest.

Little Red Riding Hood said...


How naive to think that most of Guido's commenters are not right-wing or Tory-voting. It would be stupid to say 'all' of them...which is why I didn't.

cherami said...

Few people will care but among those that do Bradshaw and Bryant have probably cost Labour enough votes to lose another few seats with this mean-minded, dishonest attack.

I have never voted Tory in my life but even if my mother spins in her grave, next election I'm going to.

There are no printable words to describe the gutter Labour has fallen into.

Anonymous said...


Yes, yes, the Conservatives are the Taliban in disguise and, once elected, they'll create a fundamentalist state modelled on Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Obviously, on that day, gender traitors like Dale will be the first to dangle from the Godly Rope of Christian Justice.

Meanwhile, back on Planet Earth, actual gay people are worrying about their mortgages, their businesses, soaring national debt, endemic government corruption, social breakdown, rampant crime, the politicisation of the police..... The list goes on. And on. And on. And on. And no amount of pants-pissing and whining about Teh Eeevul Homophobie Torys!!111!! will change that.

Letters From A Tory said...

Fabulous letter Iain, similar in message to my own letter on the same subject this morning!!!

Great minds think alike and all that.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to thank the Labourites in this thread for their comments. It's not often I get the chance to see in such stark relief their anguish at their coming electoral annihilation.

Keep on crying, please. Your tears are delicious. Your anguish nourishes me.

ayayay said...

I was born and brought up in the Old Labour heartland of the North and I can tell you that no-one is more racist or homophobic than the people there.

Boo said...

The problem with identity politics is that you put people in a box and take their votes for granted.
Seems that labour trying to scare people back into their place

Anonymous said...

@ ayayay

Why are you off-message? Didn't you get the memo?

Anonymous said...

Iain, off topic, but I've observed for some time that the commenters on your West Ham blog are much more civilized, intelligent and articulate than most of the people you get here? Why is that?

Unsworth said...

@ Little Red Riding Hood

"You have 'the nasty party' written deep inside you all like a stick of rock."

Oi! Who is 'you all'? Don't like the ambience here? Well, find somewhere else more to your liking.

Anonymous said...

Boo 12:47 hits the nail on the head. Labour has assumed for the longest time that people would vote for them purely on the basis of identity. Labour cannot understand why their dog whistles aren't working.

The working class isn't responding to the dog whistles about toffs and bosses. The Muslims aren't responding to Labour's anti-semitic dog whistles. The middle class isn't responding to the Tory Cuts dog whistle. And the gays aren't responding to the "Section 28! Section 28! Cameron personally burns queers in his backyard thrice daily! Aaaaargh! Be afraid!" dog whistle.

Everyone seems to have grown up, moved on and adjusted to new realities. Everyone, that is, except Labour.

John Hutton the one true prophet said...

For Ben Bradshaw of all people to a point finger alleging others victimise and persecute a minority they disagree with is gross HYPOCRACY.

This is a man who, with Alun Michael, resorted to the Parliament Act to allow Labour bigots like Dennis Skinner and Gorbals Mick to introduce the Hunting Act. Whilst some well meaning cat lovers in the RSPCA doubtless felt it was a law about animal welfare - for Labour parliamentarians it was an act of hatred to try to destroy the livelihoods and lifestyles of a minority the detest.

If Ben Bradshaw feels he's in a position to lecture anyone on bigotry he can (literally if he likes) bugger off. ‘Physician heal they self........’

subrosa said...

I just can't see what anyone's sexuality has to do with doing 99% of the jobs available in this country.

Actually I'm becoming weary of the publicity gay people receive. Perhaps it's about time all pensioners made a conscious decision to be gay and then perhaps they'll be heard far more by the MSM.

I say that with tongue in cheek of course as I've no wish to offend anyone of any sexuality.

Anonymous said...

Let's tell the truth: if he thought there was a vote in it, Gordon Brown would be wearing Klan robes and burning crosses on the lawns of blacks and gays.

Anyone who looks at Labour's long-term record on gay rights and feels it's something to boast about is misinformed. Anyone who thinks gays will get a better deal under Labour is deluded. Anyone who thinks that Labour isn't in hock to the Catholic Church and homophobic Muslims is embarrassingly ignorant of the true state of provincial Labour politics.

strapworld said...

Very well written iain.

Indeed it is good enough for Cameron to use in his conference speech, slightly edited.

This is another example of the Dirty Politics being employed by Brown/McBride. He directs all, I have no doubt on this. (Paul Waugh blog yesterday of Brown's conversation with the former Norfolk MP displays the mans ignorance to all.)

The way he is trying to influence Northerners by treating them as idiots and now Gay people, shows that we are going to see the dirtiest general election campaign ever.

Bradshaw will definately lose his seat (I have many friends in that constituency and the anti Bradshaw feeling is very high..too big for his boots etc!) and I hope the former vicar, former Y front model loses his as well.

Well said.

Lord Snooty said...

"Labour has assumed for the longest time that people would vote for them purely on the basis of identity. Labour cannot understand why their dog whistles aren't working."

To some extent, you have a point. But these are not *just* dog whistles, they're rooted in real behaviour over a number of years (e.g. on homophobia: Tory party policy, Tory legislation when in govt, Tory MP voting records etc). I think it is sensible for people not to take politicians' soundbites at face value and to look for evidence. Cameron says 'we've changed' - that's fine but I want to see him and his colleagues prove that over the course of many years. As it's a near certainty that he's going to be the next PM, he will have plenty of opportunity to do so. I genuinely hope that he is not the shallow PR man that I believe him to be.

Bill Quango MP said...

Little red riding hoon said ..
"for me to say that Iain Dale is a pompous bloated egotist."

He speaks very highly of you though.

Richard Dale said...

Anonymous 12:23

That is the sort of nonsense I was talking about. Section 28 only applied to local government and state-maintained schools. It did not prevent people even in those organisations addressing gay issues or dealing with homophobia, let alone ccreate "radio silence". It was very narrowly-defined. It certainly had nothing to do with violence against any gay person, and to mention Michael Causer is a fallacy, simply an appeal to emotion that has no relevance.

It was an over-reaction to a very minor problem, that of a few hard-line activists using sexual politics in education and local councils.

It is very obvious that the Labour Party did not think it very important either, as it was not even repealed until well into their second term. I have to say I agree with them on this.

I agree with you in one way, in that I don't think it should have been whipped by the Conservatives, certainly not three lines.

Lord Snooty

"Please remind me where in the text of my comment I say that"


"I think Richard Dale rather proves the point."

"[T]he point" being related entirely to the Conservative Party. To which I have no connection. Do keep up.

In the true meaning of the word "libertarian", as in allowing us to get on with our lives without interference, the Conservatives are not bad. Vastly better than Labour who want to control our money and our actions and the Lib Dems who want to control our thoughts, words and votes. Both want to surrender all our freedom to Brussels. Of course that is only a rough characterisation, as Labour also want to control our words and our votes, and the Lib Dems also want to control our money.

jon dee said...

Bradshaw and Bryant should bow their heads in shame for turning Brown's class war towards gays, in such a contemptible and insulting manner.

Your piece is an articulate and temperate response to gutter politics. They don't deserve it.

Labour, you are sinking in your own mire and without shame.

Lexander said...

All this increasingly GAY discussion and opinions just makes me feel extremely embarrassed by my unquenchable desires about exploring in depth the local barmaid’s fantastic arse. Is all this talk turning me queer or am I just a filthy oldish man?

Anonymous said...

I think you are missing an 'of', para one 4th line from bottom.

Little Red Riding Hood said...

@John Hutton...

So Ben Bradshaw is a hypocrite and a bigot because he helped ban hunting? You will not believe how loud I laughed when I read that.

Oh, and Strapworld, so anti-Bradshaw feelings are running high amongst your friends. I bet they are, I really bet they are. And we know why, don't we, sweetie...

Lord Snooty said...

@Richard Dale

So you agree then that I didn't say what you claimed I said?

In any case, you freely admit that you tend towards Tory support, so your point seems a little confused.

Helpful Harry said...

I've just read through all the comments and thought I'd summarise the key points for those struggling to keep up.

1. If you're bothered about tackling bigotry, intolerance and discrimination, vote Labour.

2. If you're not bothered and mainly care about yourself (and people like you), vote Conservative.

3. Don't listen to what David Cameron and his acolytes say about this because he's just a PR man trying to re-brand the Conversatives. Nothing has actually changed.

Hope that clears things up for you all. Bye.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Richard Dale. If you were the father of two young boys, would you let Iain Dale babysit for you?

Anonymous said...

Bryant was a deputy to Harperson for too long and all her corrupted ethics have rubbed off onto him.

bladerunner86 said...

"Gay people do not wish..."

Do all gay people have one collective mindset? I should think not. This is also part of the problem not treating people like individuals and putting them in boxes. I should think you were one of the first to be against this sort of reasoning Iain.

Anonymous said...

Is it misogynistic to call Harriet Harman 'Harperson'?

Richard Offer said...

As The Sunday Times revealed last week , a Labour Minister said "This is all about shoring up the base in the northern heartlands, which we lost in the European elections. We don't want or need them to understand the nuance of the argument. We just want them to hate the Tories again.”

I would appear the Chris and Ben are pursueing the same agenda for the pink vote.

When are both Labour and the Tories going to learn we are fed up of these hateful smears. Parliament has to change. Spin merchants like Patrick Diamond, Justin Forsyth, Michael Dugher, John Woodcock and Balshan Izzet have no place in honest government.

Like every other MP, Chris and Ben have flipped their second homes, got rich at our expense and should also be subjected to greater scrutiny. Given the losses that Labour made in Exeter and Rhonnda in the European elections, they would both be better focussing on getting re-elected than dancing to a No. 10 co-ordinated dirty smear campaign that anyone can see through.

Just stop it, we're tired of this

Anonymous said...

I stopped trusting liberals to look after my rights when I realised they are also looking after the rights of people who would happily stone me to death and stick my head on a stake. A bigot is easier to spot, and consequently provides a better target when aiming your rifle barrel.

marke09 said...

According to opinion poll from JAKE shown on Daily Politics that although only 6% think the conservatives are gay friendly when asked how would you vote in a general election if held tomorrow 38% said conservative 24% liberal democrats and 21% labour

Richard Dale said...

Anon 1:21

Certainly. Why would I not?

If I knew him personally I would be happy for him to look after any children I had for a few days. Or Jim and David, whose wedding I went to last year. Or Kev, a friend who I used to work with and greatly respect (for his professionalism and for his ability to fall asleep in the pub standing up and not spill a drop). Do you want me to list all the gay people I would be happy to look after any children I had? I could probably include a fair few celebrities as well as friends and acquaintances.

What possible relevance does that have to Clause 28?

I would suggest to those who don't understand what I am saying, and think I have something against anyone for their sexuality, that they look up Section 28 in Wikipedia. There is an excellent list of the arguments used by each side. They are nearly all complete nonsense, on both sides.

Lord Snooty,

Do you really struggle that much with simple logical leaps? You said my comments proved a point, and that point was attitudes within the Conservative Party. The unavoidable implication is that I am within the Party or have been at some point, which is not true.

Helpful Harry

What a load of balls. Utter drivel, with no basis in reality.

Lord Snooty said...

@Richard Dale
Come on, son, just leave it. You're making yourself look a tit.

@ Helpful Harry
Well said, sir. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Unhelpfull Harriet said...

Lord Snooty said...
Well said, sir. I couldn't have put it better myself.

And you probably did.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding! Bravo, sir!

Lord Snooty said...

"And you probably did."

That was rather my point! In fact, of the 90 comments up to now, I've posted 24 under various names. See if you can guess which ones. So this great army of Labourites you're all imagining is basically one person, bored and 'working from home'.

Anonymous said...

It's all clear to me now. I can't believe I didn't see it before.

'The Tories plan to cut the number of UK homosexuals by 10%, whereas Labour is committed to investing in homosexuality. There will, in fact, be a 0% rise in total spending on all things homosexual under a Labour government. Labour has brought forward capital spending related to homosexuality, to help homosexuals through this downturn which, of course, started in America.

Labour is seeking to help the most homosexual members of society, whereas the Tories would do nothing. They are the 'do nothing party'.'

I hope the leaked government memo above helps clarify the situation for all of you. It certainly worked wonders for me.

P.S. Reading the Labour apologists' posts has been a great source of amusement. I thought such pent-up frustration and bitterness was the preserve of the opposition, not the incumbent government? Ah well, best to get some practice in, eh?

Mummydude said...

As a heterosexual married woman, a Conservative and a Christian I am just so utterly bored with this whole gay pride thing. So far as I have been able to ascertain over a long life of knowing quite a number of both male and female homosexuals the only difference between them and the rest of us is that they like to go to bed with those of their own sex. That is a private matter and of no interest to me or relevance to anything else. Are homosexuals simply not just 'people' with the same tastes, political opinions, failings and strengths, jobs, mothers and fathers, worried and fears, joys and sorrows, as any other people ? What is it that makes them all bang on about it the entire time ? What's to be proud or not proud of ? It`s just a sexual preference but otherwise are not gay people as diverse as anyone else ? I don`t understand why it is supposed to be of such interest, let alone a 'vote getter.' Do grow up.

Bill Quango MP said...

Anon..the 10% cutter one.
That's a really good parody of a well known PM who is too frightened to attend the Gay Pride event in case he gets photographed in a compromising action.

{you can't really blame him. He is shocking at PR. Brown would probably be photographed standing next to someone dressed like Daffyd from Little Britain. Just as the cameraman gets ready, the bun begins to slip From Gordon's hand. Gordon bends to catch it,clamping the sausage in his teeth and as he nears the mid section of the man next to him the camera shutter clicks ...

A gift for Private Eye and Guido would have his highest ever caption competition traffic.

Harry's Blog said...

May I suggest one way for Cameron to lock in the gay vote (or perhaps for Brown to retrieve it): commit to removing this civil partnerships, "separate but equal" system and commit to gay marriage. Everyone calls CP that; CP has the same rights and responsibilities as civil marriage and it's time that Cps are recognised by name as marriages.

Anonymous said...

Exeter will run Bradshaw out of the City- come the election.

We want someone who understands rural, especially farming issues. Bradshaw has help ruin many a farmer in the West Country. His time is up.

Anonymous said...

One of our (my wife and me) best friends is gay. It just isn't an issue at all, which is I suppose the modern way of doing things. I'm 58, by the way, not some bright young thing who has always grown up with a general acceptance of gays in society.

Adolf Hitler said...

"One of our (my wife and me) best friends is gay."

And one of my best friends is Jewish.

Jim davidson. said...

One of my best friends is black.

cigfran said...

Have you spoken to David T.C. Davies ,Monmouth's MP recently Iain?
One of the few memorable things he did in his 5 years as a member of the Welsh assembly was hold a public meeting bemoaning the removal of clause 28 and providing examples of what he believed was innapropriate sex education materials in schools,no doubt his desparation to attain the levers of power have silenced him to a degree ,but you need look no further for an example of homophobic bigotry!

Matthew said...

Oh come off it Iain.

The chief reason why so many people find it difficult to regard the Tories' apparent conversion on the issue of gay equality so difficult to stomach is that this is the same party that was actively fighting the Government's attempts to repeal Section 28 only six short years ago. David Cameron was no bystander in that debate. He voted to keep Section 28 and previously attacked Labour for being obsessed with a "fringe agenda".

The reason why David Cameron's "apology" won't wash is because it simply isn't enough to try to brush it off as an innocent mistake. The Conservatives chose to play politics with gay equality in the most disgraceful way. They actively chose to demonise a section of the community and to pander to pernicious stereotypes for political gain. And many of the people who took that decision still occupy senior positions within the Conservative Party.

The reason why the Conservatives have decided to embrace gay equality is not because their fundamental beliefs have changed, it is because they realise they catastrophically misread the public mood. It is purely a political calculation.

So while I agree with you that there is no prospect of the Tories reversing Labour's advances on gay equality (only because to do so would be politically damaging to them), I am afraid I cannot give them any political credit for it.

What I really want to hear from David Cameron is not an empty apology, but an explanation as to why he thought it was acceptable to play politics with this issue in the first place.

Little Black Sambo said...

"Racism, homophobia and class snobbery are in the DNA of the Conservative Party."

For Conservative Party, substitute Human Race.

Little Black Sambo said...

"Smears, lies and class chippyness are in the DNA of the Labour Party."

For Labour Party, substitute Human Race.

Little Black Sambo said...

Section 28 said that a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship".
That seems good to me; I wish they had kept it.

keith Elliott said...

Adrian (anonymous!) 12.23 makes some interseting points Iain.

I for one would be interested in your comments.

Little mention of the Lib Dems in this thread, and their record on this and other equality issues is exemplary.

Curbishlyauto said...

Oh how wonderful, guaranteed vote winner, cannot think of a better person to promote the cause.

Harriet Harman coming out and supporting Bradshaw and Bryant.

What an inspired move.

Julian the Wonderhorse said...

I was at the talk last night and Chris Bryant and Ben Bradshaw were pathetic. They were like little children telling tales on what "Tories had said about us" and spitting bile at Cameron. They really seem to hate him for some reason.

They kept trying for "dividing lines", voting records (why was Dominic Greive picked out as being inclined to deport gay assylum seekers for God's sake?
You could see right through them. I had thought it was supposed to be a debate on gay issues rather than this hustings wail. Was it a coincidence that Sarah Brown magically appeared in the Gay Icons gallery? I wonder if she was in the audience during the talk.

It contrasted with Nick Herbert who was praising the Labour Government for things it had done and tore into Chris Bryant when he started "slinging mud" about Tory MPS.

The Liberal guy was good too, although all the politicians skirted around a question about intolerant Muslims and a book called "While Europe Slept". They all trailed out the same line about "Islam isn't homophobic" before someone screemed out of the audience that Islam says gays should be thrown off a mountain. Red faces all round!

Anonymous said...

being gay cost portillo,your fellow torys shafted him....

Oh Well Done Iain said...

Can Google Analytics tell you how many of your visitors are craven sycophants?

denverthen said...

Well said, Mr D. Nice to know the message is finally getting through that believing in conservative values does not make you homophobic, xenophobic or sexist, much though Labour would like it to.

Time for an end to the politics of smears, surely. Your letter should make Bradshaw and Bryant feel thoroughly ashamed. For the sake of a dishonest and mean-spirited attack, they've harmed the cause they claim to champion.

Uncle Bob said...

As much as it pains me, there is no chance of Bryant not holding Rhondda. It is probably the safest seat in Labour's history.

Anonymous said...

Surely the Jews are the 10% cutters?

And I reckon I can go out on a limb and say that the vast majority of gay men don't want to be kicked inna fork until they fall unscious. Or be treated like second class citizens.

dmc said...

Well I was brought up on a rough council estate and believe me the labour voters are far worse than the tories where homophobia is concerned.You leftie apologists for labour try living with the thought of knowing you would get done over if you went out.That's why the bnp are making such inroads on estates like that.

Anonymous said...

Not many coloured or gay people join the Tory party.They are the party of toffs.just look at the shadow houses,moats,swimming pools ,tennis courts etc.

Anonymous said...

A small but important point Iain. David Gold was openly gay when selected in Brighton pavilion in 2000. He also had a stall at Pride.

Chris said...

It's pretty obvious that tolerance on homosexuality is Cameron's own position - but also he realises that intolerance is now a net vote loser. The Portillo wing of the party began this transition after 2001. Of course there are still unreformed Tories, but as others have pointed out, not all left wing politicians are socially liberal either. After the election, the dinosaurs will be in such a small minority they will no longer matter. In any case, politics is always a balance between what you think is right and what you think is popular. For example, to get elected, Blair ditched clause 4 and embraced Thatcherite economics. As he told the Labour party conference "Some of you may support me because you think I can win - which is a pretty good reason for supporting me". If Cameron apologising for section 28 is a sell out for votes it's pretty small beer compared to New Labour which was just one giant sell out for votes. Or is it only Labour politicians who are allowed to see the error of their ways?

The Purpleline said...

Actually Iain, I believe homosexuality should not be promoted above any other lifestyle, we cater far too much to diversity and minorites in this country.

The propaganda machine and Gays in prominant media positions have clearly over promoted the Gay agenda. There is no ned for you on this blog to refer to your sexuality, for instance.

I say live and let live, but do not make it compulsory for people like me to approve of the sex act between same sex couples, that should remain a very special private relationship matter. There is no need to promote the Gay lifestyle, unless it really is a fashionable lifestyle exercise you want to force on all. Unless being Gay affects the persons job, I could not care what they do in their homes, as long as it is not pushed on any innocent young people or on any person not of that persuasion

For that reason yes it should be acknowledged in Schools, but should not be presented in a positive or negative light, just inform the children that it happens naturally for a certain percentage of the population, it should neither be condemned or championed.

It is time for Gays to realise there is no more fight or need for marches, you have won the argument.

Dic Dyffryn said...

I've no desire to defend Bradshaw or Bryant, but like Little Red Riding Hood and others, I'm more than a little sceptical about the PR makeover that's been done by Dave & Co.

So you were the first openly gay parliamentary candidate for the Conservatives way back in 2003, and that sinister clown Hague was still defending Clause 28 in 2004?

Perhaps for people under 30, 2003 is one with Ancient Greece, but for the rest of us, it only seems like yesterday.

As anyone can see from so many Conservative-leaning blogs, there may be a nice shiny new veneer, but underneath when it comes to racism, anti-semitism, asylum seekers, the EU, human rights (ah, yes, Dave and Hague want to repeal that one, don't they?) or homophobia, the wood is still riddled with nasties.

Sadly, I suspect that Iain Dale is being used by the Dave PR machine as a mascot to be brought out of its closet at the right moments and shoved away again when Dave wants to appeal to a different audience.

Thatsnews said...

A very-thought provoking letter. It wil lnot work inn the case of Bradshaw and Bryant, sadly.

Why? I a not certain one can provoke them to any though.

Anonymous said...

To 'Anonymous' at 3.40pm,

Just look at the amount of Oxford PPE graduates in the cabinet before referring to Tort toff types. It's a very lazy stereotype. Virtually all of the political class is privileged: it is a bias inherent to Westminster, not just one party.

As for your use of the word 'coloured'... Well, you truly are an enlightened, modern man of the world. If the Tories are so backward and evil as you make out, then you should join. Your bigotry would surely be welcome.

On second thoughts, stay with Labour. A party of hypocrisy suits you well.

Anonymous said...

Harriet Harperson, man-hating Labour toff, has now waded in: "The essential heart of the Tories is homophobic."

Let me guess NuLab's next line of attack - the essential heart of the Tories is xenophobic for wanting a referendum on the EU Treaty.

It's fascinating to compare and contrast the dying days of John Major's administration and those of Brown's. Major just went away quietly, knowing the tide had turned. Brown and his NuLab scum will lie to the electorate, smear their opponents and bring the country crashing down rather than hand it over to someone else. Total, utter scum.

Anonymous said...

To 'Dic Dyffryn' at 3.55pm,

That's a very impressive list of prejudices you claim the Tories have. No proof to back it up though.

I won't even bother with allegations of racism and anti-semitism, since they are plainly absurdm but I'll pick you up on the EU and human rights points.

Cameron has never said 'let's leave the EU'. He has, however said, 'let's have a referendum on the EU Treaty'. Surely you remember that, the one the government promised but never gave us? The Tory position of Euroscepticism is not the same as the UKIP position of anti EU membership. You'd do well to remember that. Besides, the population clearly doesn't have too much of a problem with Tory policy in the area. I take it you saw the recent election results.

On human rights, the Act itself, which he has suggested repealing, is not a panacea. Anyone informed on the matter realises that. Protection of liberties existed before the Act and would continue to do so were it repealed. The judicial tradition of preventing tyranny wouldn't instantly stop just because some piece of paper with rigidly laid out rights was suddenly rendered redundant.

I hope that's cleared some things up for you. Then again, if you are like so many of the Labour-leaning posters on here, you will ignore everything I've said and carry on doggedly repeating the party line. But please remember, merely saying the Tories are evil doesn't make it so.

niconoclast said...

What Conservative would use a phrase like 'progressive Tory policies on diversity'? The Party has been infiltrated with pinkos,moral inverts and filth columnists.

Elby the Beserk said...

To expect anything remotely resembling integrity from any New Labour spokesperson is a total waste of time; they take their lead on integrity from Gordon "I never lied once in my life" Brown.

Richard Dale said...


Very well put.

Lord Snooty

Ah, childish name calling. The last refuge of the man who has no more reasoned argument, but just knows he must be right because he is incapable of doubting his own wisdom.

cmp said...

'The Purpleline" Exactly.

Unsworth said...

@ Lord Snooty

"It's about building up a reputation which is based not just on what you say but what you do."

Entirely unlike NuLab, then.

"At the moment, in my view, the Tories' reputation in this area is poor."

Well, OK, that's an opinion.

"In the future, they may turn that around but it insults our intelligence for Cameron to think he can do that now with a few slick soundbites."

Tell us what would not be a 'slick soundbite' then. Are you looking for a 300 page discourse or something? If Cameron responds to a question, or makes a statement, is that always - in your view - a slick soundbite?

I really don't understand why you might think that an Opposition party has any ability to 'do' anything at all - short of voice opinion which, naturally, NuLab devotees will always refer to as 'soundbites'.

Anyway, if a 'soundbite' makes sense and people generally agree with what's being said, what's so wrong with that?

Richard Dale said...

Dic Dyffryn

Why is it you assume that opposing the EU, opposing the Human Rights Act and questioning those seeking assylum are nasties? That is your opinion, not a fact set in stone.

As for anti-semitism I think that you will find far more of it on the left today than in Conservatives. In fact you can't justify any of the claims of actual nasties (homophobia, racism etc) at all, can you? If you could, you would have.

Rebel Saint said...

Is it just me who is bemused by the whole, "we're more gay than you are" debate. If it weren't for the fact that gays are disproportionately employed in the arts & media then no-one would give a toss about courting their tiny vote.

niconoclast said...

Homosexuals want to get to children.Clause 28 prevented this.Now we have teachers defacto grooming children as young as 5 into the homosexual 'lifestyle' Hope all Cameron supporters are happy now.

Anonymous said...


Yours is fair, honest and well-reasoned comment which will transcend the dirty dealings of Nu-Lab.

You are a credit to the gay community and - as you say - share all the usual feelings on dishonesty, bigotry etc etc.

As a member of the straight community I welcome the Conservative's progress in this area.

Well done - it has no doubt taken some courage over the years.

Richard Dale said...


Homosexual lifestyle? Which homosexuals have you been mixing with, Daffyd Thomas? The homosexuals I know have the same variety of lifestyles as the rest of us. They go to work to earn money, go to the pub after for a pint or go home for a quiet evening. They shop in Sainsbury's and B&Q.

The most "homosexual" lifestyles I know are a lesbian engineer and a male flight attendant, and you don't get much more conservative than the aviation industry.

Thatsnews said...

Oh, Little Micky Owen, if only you knew the Labour Party that I know!

Racist, anti-Semitic, sexist, homophobic, ageist.

bladerunner86 said...

"In short they see a country crying out for change. They reject your politics of envy and politics of division. Gay people do not wish to become part of Labour's client state. "
So being gay means that you naturally reject the Labour government. I think not Iain.
Again you naturally assume that the gay community has a single unified political outlook. You are wrong again. They don't.

It's comments like that Iain that makes me think you do not understand politics at all.

You also do not consider that just by apologising for Section 28 is not enough. You need to put forward a constructive vision of progressive politics to appeal to the electorate. I am yet to see this happen with the Conservative Party.

The Conservative Party during the 1980s did not place gay rights on their agenda and institutionalized homophobia with Section 28. Times have changed and I welcome David Cameron's apology.

The test will come if the Conservatives form the next Government. The proof will be in the pudding.

bladerunner86 said...

It does not help though that the Conservative Party has entered into partnership with the Law & Justice party of Poland in forming a new bloc in the European Parliament. A party which has explicit homophobic tendencies. I know that blocs are formed from a broad church of political groupings but you can also argue that the Conservative Party has turned its back on progressive politics.

Richard Dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Dale said...


"So being gay means that you naturally reject the Labour government"

Nothing to do with being gay. You could say the same about any group. Did you actually see the results of the local and European elections? Labour wiped out locally, not a single council, and polling 15% in Europe. The point Iain was making is that gays feel the same as the rest of us, not that they feel differently.

As for the new block in the European parliament, that's an old one, debunked so many times it's getting stale. Daniel Hannan did it well, look it up. There are bigots in the EPP and the Socialist group; the fact that the Conservatives have aligned with an MEP who's mate's girlfriend's sister's husband once made an off-colour joke about gays is not a great argument against forming the group.

disillusioned Dale blog reader said...

Party for the Gay Tory brigade? Yawn, yawn..... why do you need one?

bladerunner86 said...

To Richard Dale

"So being gay means that you naturally reject the Labour government"
Nothing to do with being gay."
If you actually read my argument properly you know that I was attempting to criticise the statement and not incorporate it into my own argument. I agree it has nothing to do with being gay and I do not like it when everybody is placed within a certain category.

As to your points about the European Elections. The results shows what exactly? There is general a shift towards the centre-right. That could be said as a general trend and not just a trend in the gay community.

"Gays feel like the rest of us". I agree with the statement that there is a plurality of beliefs but not the one you are making. You are trying to argue that gay individuals are shifting towards the centre right like the rest of us. Does it necessarily mean that the gay community in isolation is doing the same? Not necessarily because the gay community has a plurality of views and beliefs just the same and voted also for Labour and Lib Dems and other parties.

Even though I do not agree with certain points in your argument I do agree that it has nothing to do with being gay. Why should sexuality come into the equation? - It doesn't.

Richard Dale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard Dale said...


I have deleted an unnecessarily confrontational post. You actually are agreeing with me, and I believe Iain. I think we are all saying the same thing, but that you initially misinterpretted Iain's post.

Plato said...

Crap response from Bradshaw - the argument has moved on from this sort of identity politics.

Iain - your open letter hit the nail on the head.

Bradshaw is also toast in Exeter and IMO is taking one for the team.

Anonymous said...

Richard Dale wrongly makes light of the impact of Section 28. The legislation was built on the nonsensical premise that you can 'make people gay', as if people can 'choose' to be gay. (How can you 'promote' homosexuality exactly?) The law also made it clear that homosexuality should be taught as unacceptable and abnormal. It promoted two decades of bigotry and ignorance. I make no apologies for appealing to emotion, if kids can go through the education system without having the most vilest of prejudices unchallenged, until only very recently.

I'll repeat my question earlier, because it's really important. While there are some amiable Tory characters, the party has far more than its fair share of religious nutcases (Edward Leigh, Iain Duncan Smith, Nadine Dorries, Dominic Grieve to mention but a few). You tell me, is the Conservative Christian Fellowship just a lunatic fringe, or does it have mainstream support?

That merely asking this question send people into hysterical replies does not impress. After all, many in the Tory party are only gullible enough to buy into all the imagined Christian persecution, nonsense orchestrated by the Daily Mail / Christian Institute.


Richard Dale said...

Adrian (Anon 8:14)

What was that "impact" that I am making so light of?

"The law also made it clear that homosexuality should be taught as unacceptable and abnormal" is simply untrue.

It didn't even say that homosexuality had to be mentioned at all, but the Department of Education clarified in 1988 "Section 28 does not affect the activities of school governors, nor of teachers... It will not prevent the objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom, nor the counselling of pupils concerned about their sexuality".

Sorry, but it was myths like these about Section 28, spread largely by the left, that did the harm, not the law itself.

Richard Dale said...

Anon 3:11

Everyone knew that Portillo had a homosexual relationship at university. I knew it in 1993, everyone at the university knew, I really can't imagine the Conservative Party didn't. That didn't ruin his career.

Thatsnews said...

Nor is it homophobic for me to say that Iain Dale is a pompous bloated egotist.

And yet you keep returning Lil Red.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 1:21 PM

Likewise, two little girls in the house, I doubt I'd trust you, Anon.

And I'd count the cutlery before you left.

Macha Maguire said...

Law and Justice Party.

What else needs to be said?

It's an abomination. And joining with it does more damage to the Tories than anything short of reinstating Sec 28.

Gareth said...

You were the first openly gay Tory parliamentary candidate in 2003? Are you serious? I was selected in 2000 and fought Vauxhall in 2001. I'm certain there were others in that election and no doubt some before then.

Iain Dale said...

Gareth, I was told I was the first to be selected, having told the selection committee I was gay. But if you know different!

The Grim Reaper said...

This is one of those subjects that bores me to tears, truth be told. There's pockets of homophobia in each political party - Labour's always happy to indulge in homophobic smears and attacks when it's convenient for them.

Taking a lecture from a Labour Party apparatchik about being nice to gays is like taking a lecture from Josef Fritzl about family values.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget Edward Heath was able a single male leadership person by the conservative party several decades ago - there hasn't been one since. Gordon Brown had to be married off in order to approach leadership of the Labour party.

Figure it out for yourselves.

Macha Maguire said...

@Richard Dale

Have you ever actually spoken to any teachers who were in the class room in the period when Sec 28 was active?

They were terrified - I used the word advisedly - of mentioning anything at all to do with sexuality. they were completely unable to counsel kids who thought they might be gay because suggesting it might be OK, and they needn't string themselves up from a light fitting was entirely contrary to 'The Clause'

If it had no effect, it wouldn't have been passed. Its raison d'etre was radical discrimination. It was bigotry in action. Trying to pretend the left is 'talking it up' is pathetic

bladerunner86 said...

To Richard Dale
"I think we are all saying the same thing, but that you initially misinterpretted Iain's post."
Actually Richard I think you have misinterpreted me in my criticism of Iain's post about putting people in boxes.
However I am glad we are all in agreement about one fundamental fact that it has nothing to do with sexuality.

I also disagree with some of the points you have made about Section 28 as it institutionalized homophobia within the educational sphere. To say its "Sorry, but it was myths like these about Section 28, spread largely by the left, that did the harm, not the law itself" is not taking into consideration the detrimental impact it had.

In future Richard Dale I would get your facts straight before you criticize.

Little Black Sambo said...

I suppose it is understandable that after centuries of victimization homosexuals should enjoy a period of excessive privilege, but that does seem to be what is happening. Will Old Holborn get a local authority grant for his Straight Pride March, and will politicians feel they have to apologize if they don't join it? Let us hope that the sheer boringness of the subject will lead to people keeping quiet about it.

bladerunner86 said...

@ Macha Maguire said...
"Law and Justice Party. What else needs to be said? It's an abomination. And joining with it does more damage to the Tories than anything short of reinstating Sec 28."
I think it will have a detrimental impact but I am not sure if it will do more damage. We can only wait and see how the new bloc would vote on progressive legislation.
Section 28 institutionalized bigotry and had a detrimental impact by entrenching it in the educational sphere. Although I agree by associatiating yourself with a party which made explicit homophobic comments is detrimental I don't think the two can compare.
But I am in general agreement with the premise of your argument.

Anonymous said...

I listened to Angela Eagle this morning turning the whole thing into a charade. Pure hate filled politics of the shameless and hypocritical opportunist.

She is the dour, droning face of socialist lesbianism of the sort which finally rid me of any leftwing sympathy. And lesbians of any aspiration of joi de vivre.

What a bunch of snide, snipy reptiles these people are?

Richard Dale said...


What detrimental impact? I have already asked that, and no-one has been able to get beyond the detrimental impact of the myths about Section 28. You certainly haven't ben able to give an example, despite repeating the claim which therefore appears to be completely unfounded. The writers of a law cannot be held responsible for the impact of how it's opponents characterise it.

I don't think Iain was putting people in boxes. He was in fact complaining about people being put in boxes. He was saying that most gay people will vote against Labour because most people will, because Labour has utterly screwed up in managing the country for 12 years.

Dobbin said...

How long will it be before we get an act of parliament to allow we animal lovers to get the freedom to have a parade of our emotional disturbances?

Richard Dale said...

Macha Macguire

So then why not blame the campaigners using myths to advane their politics? Those myths caused the fear.

"suggesting it might be OK, and they needn't string themselves up from a light fitting was entirely contrary to 'The Clause'" is a complete lie. The Clause said nothing of the sort. Those are the myths that caused the damage, and tehy were spread to damage the Tory Party. Those spreading them didn't care how many children suffered and teachers worried.

To quote the Department of Education advice, "Section 28 does not affect the activities of school governors, nor of teachers... It will not prevent the objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom, nor the counselling of pupils concerned about their sexuality"

As for the Law and Justice Party, can youi justify your statement that they are an abomination, without resorting to quoting the Guardian? How about the nasty elements of the EPP? How about the nasty elements of European Socialists?

Anonymous said...

Maybe shift the fight to them.

They are searching for homophobic attitude within the Conservatives.

Ask Lord Ahmed, Shahid Malik and the other Labour Muslims to appear on TV and openly and without reserve not only to accept homosexuality but actually embrace the values of openness, tolerance our state offers to people of all sexual persuasion.

Iain could be on the panel along with luminaries such as David Hockney and Peter Tatchell.

That mix would would create a real political show freed from the hypocrisy and edict driven agenda Labour always reaches to.

DespairingLiberal said...

We've been here before. Iain's struggle is that it is basically true that the Tories are anti-gay and this is a very popular position with most Tory voters. For some reason best known to themselves, a few gay people stick it out in the Tory party (perhaps hoping to change it - it is taking a while!), yet publicly are caught up between telling it like it is (and raising hell from their "colleagues" within) or pretending things are better than they actually are, which is what Iain does.

All the guff about "self-reliant" Tory-loving gay people is all so much hot air against the actual issue, which is that traditional Tory instincts to loath the different, both on racial and sexual grounds, are very much alive and kicking.

For proof we need only study the ravings of typical Tory supporters right here on Iain's blog, which are wholly typical of modern Tory views.

Support and elect a far-right party and you will get far-right anti-gay policies in practise Iain and I think you know this. You are deluding yourself if you think otherwise.

terence said...

The general election has already started. All the parties are fighting for the pink vote but it could spell disaster, if the Gay Vote goes Tory. It is a significant admission of Labour Party failure. Knowing they are in for annihilation at the forthcoming general election, they are now attempting to shore up their core vote. The main stream media is now full of articles by Peter Tatchells, atheists, anti-clerical head bangers of all descriptions, anti-monarchists, republicans, Ken Livingstones, Bob Crows, gay rights activists; in fact upon every subject known to man that is dear to the hearts of labour party activists. In the Demos pamphlet 'What Next For Labour', Philip Collins sums the situation up neatly, and it is worth quoting him verbatim.

The Labour party is about to shift to the left. It will lose very
badly at the next general election if it remains committed to
its current course. It will then be severely depleted and it will
have to conduct an inquest in an atmosphere of
recrimination. It is very probable that this will produce a shift
to the political left — not a wild lurch, but a move to the left.
This will be welcomed by the bulk of the party who
will embrace the leaderships return to the position occupied
by party activists. And it will be a colossal disaster for as
long as it lasts.

The coming general election will be the first election under the attention of the Blogosphere and it will be interesting to see whether this strategy will work. To a government propagandist, the uncontrolled internet is their worst nightmare come true. Now everybody knows what everybody else is thinking. What is certain, if it succeeds, and the activists deliver what is required of them; that is their votes; they, the labour party activists, will be betrayed. The metropolitan elites have realised the game is up. These elites have been able to impose their ideas of morality and ethics upon the rest of us virtually unopposed. That is no longer possible. Future governments, if they are to win power, are going to have to be a whole lot more tolerant. This particular administration, with its authoritarian use of penal legislation and its pernicious social engineering projects; all enacted in the name of a spurious ethic of equality, have lost the votes of Catholics, Jews, smokers, hunters, private sector pensioners and a significant section of the working classes. They have learnt the hard way. But if David Cameron thinks it will be business as usual when he is voted in, he will be sorely mistaken, because, if he doesn't sort the country out, the electorate may conclude it is time to vote for minority parties like UKIP or BNP or the Greens or Respect. That really will put the frighteners on them.

Anonymous said...

Can everyone remember when David Davies was doing his speech on his leadership, against Cameron? In the audience, at the back, Alan Duncan - the gay Conservative, was scowling and looked ill-at-ease when David Davies was talking. We all know why - the Tory party is riddled with nasty, homophobic biggots.

Thomas Rossetti said...

Very good letter, Iain, and I'm delighted to see that there have been so many comments. Labour and Ben Bradshaw are clutching at straws and they know it.

I think George Will (American right-wing political commentator) put it best when he said that "For the vast majority of young Americans, being gay is about as interesting as being left-handed and gay marriage is an issue that will sort itself out over time."

I think young Britons feel the same way. If someone is a good politician, and represents his constituents well, who cares what they do in the privacy of their own bedroom?

Iain Dale said...

Adrian at 12.23... My comments in CAPS

Some questions really do remain. The voting record for a great many Tories is not good at all. Section 28 led to radio silence on gay issues, and enabled prejudice to go unchecked. Go ask the relatives of Michael Causer, kicked to death, execution style, because of who he was.


1. How much influence to the Conservative Christian Fellowship and the Cornerstone Group (amusingly referred to by Alan Duncan as the 'Christian Taleban')?


2. How much influence do fundamentalist organisations like CARE have in placing researchers?


3. What is the Tory party's policy on allowing faith schools to teach sexual ethics 'according to their ethos' - which is currently Labour party policy.


Does the Tory party also think it's perfectly acceptable for faith schools to instil guilt and shame into gay pupils for being who they are?


What measures of protection will such pupils get from this kind of religious bullying?


4. If sexuality is no longer an issue, then why can't the Tories support gay couples who wish to call their relationships 'marriages'?


You have a point about the Labour party - and do keep reminding people, that the Blair government grudgingly accepted the European Court of Human Rights ruling on to stop criminalising LGBTs in the military. It irritates me that they now lie about that.


Anonymous said...

Section 28 should never have been repealed. Now we have Primary school children being force fed Gay propaganda at the behest of militant homosexuals lobbyists in the name of equality.

Paul Halsall said...



CP and marriage are legally equal in all important respects. At the time - just a few years ago - it was certainly the most that could go through. Tony Blair (always much more at ease with gay people than GB - for which reason GB deserves some credit in going beyond what is clearly his comfort zone this weekend) was wonderful on gay rights, and, as someone who is a gay Catholic, I am happy to have him on my side withing the faith.

The thing is, marriage is not a religious rite belonging to any specific religion or denomination. Roman Catholics may not, in canon law terms, regard the modern civil marriages of divorcees (for instance the second marriage of the former Mrs. Parker Bowles) as "valid" or "sacramental" but they are legally marriages.

As I have pointed out in another thread (and on LabourList), many gay people belong to religious groups that would be quite happy to celebrate religious same-sex marriages. At the moment such ceremonies are not legal occasions for marriage.

Quite frankly I regard this as somewhat minor, compared to what Blair achieved, but it would still be possible for a future government to simply annul all civil unions by act of Parliament. While I acknowledge this is true of same sex marriages, I believe it would be much more difficult.

I will vote Tory if Cameron vows to bring in equal gay marriages and Labour does not match the up.

[BTW. I do not see Cameron as anti-gay, nor most of the Tory "modernisers" around him. As I stated in another thread we know almost nothing about the possible new 250 tory mps.]

Anonymous said...

"As long as it doesn't involve animals and children, is between consenting adults, crack away."

Does anyone else see a huge contradiction between the above and two oft-used pro-gay arguments?

Viz. that (1) homosexuality is all over the animal kingdom (and should therefore have free rein among humans), and (2) some people are "born" gay, or if not that, at least self-identify as gay while children well before puberty. And if they do, why shouldn't they have gay sex?

Rik said...

As you say there are people in society who will always see being gay as something to contend with. But most people in recent generations see being gay as just one attribute of an individuals overall personality.

A well balanced excellent response.

Anonymous said...

Im personally fed up with gay "rights". People should have equality but no one more than anyone else.
Im against giving funds to gay groups, and others that become 'clubs'.

Lord Gonzo. said...

God bless the Bishop of Rochester!

Anonymous said...

@ Iain of 4/7/9, 7:19pm -

In plans to make sex education compulsory, faith schools will be able to teach sex education “in line with their religious beliefs”. (cf government commisssioned review by Sir Alastair Macdonald, 29 april)

So, the religious lobby have got their exemption, to teach pupils that homosexuality, sex outside marriage or using contraception is wrong. This cop-out to the religious lobby is a licence for child abuse, plain and simple. (Frankly, I hope young LGBT people exposed to this have the spirit to name and shame any teachers doing this - there are plenty of websites who would take the story up)

I made no comment that ‘all ‘faith schools would teach such nonsense. But it’s highly likely many of them will. After all, over 50 schools are ruining children’s minds by teaching creationism as a valid account of the origins of life – most notably, that obscene Newcastle ‘academy’ set up by Reg Vardy.

Frankly, I only have to look at what the religious leaders say. Homophobic bigotry is the only thing that unites the three great monotheisms. Just this weekend, in our supposedly benign C of E, we have lunatic statements from the Bishop of Rochester; 2 years ago the Bishop of Carlisle, described the floods in South Yorkshire as God’s wrath for the sexual orientation regulations. These people should be kept away from children with a barge pole.

As for faith schools – sure thing, yes, they are poison. They promote sectarianism, and will make community cohesion virtually impossible.

Look at the what the canonical texts all say: ‘believe me or go to hell’.

Schools – where children are captive audiences and potentially exposed to bad ideas of teachers - should be a place for enquiry not indoctrination, and that can only be possible if they are secularised. And to teach people that a preacher in first century Palestine represents the pinnacle of morality and philosophy is indeed warped, beyond belief.


Colm Howard-Lloyd said...


Nick Herbert and Nick Boles.


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