Saturday, April 03, 2010

Independent Accuses Gay Tory Candidate of Homophobia

liIn their constant effort to smear Tory candidates, Labour appear to have scored yet another own goal, by feeding misinformation to The Independent's Andy Grice. What a pity he fell for it. On page 18 of today's paper they start a series "profiling" first time Tory candidates and "asking whether they live up to their leader's billing". It is safe to assume that much of the negative informatioin has been provided by a very willing Labour Party. But when you fail to check your facts, things like this can comeback to bite you, as Andy Grice is about to find out.

Today's article is graced by a big picture of Stephen Parkinson, Tory candidate for Newcastle-upon-Tyne North. The text accompanying the picture makes out that Stephen is a homophobe. Grice quotes remarks made by Stephen in a Cambridge Union debate in 2002, where he spoke against civil partnerships and gay marriage. Unlike Andy Grice, I have checked my facts and, as I suspected, this was a Cambridge debate where you often stand up and defend positions which are not your own. It's called learning how to debate. Stephen tells me he never adopted this position personally and doesn't now. If Andy Grice had done him the courtesy of phoning him, he'd have been told that too.

Stephen hasn't got an anti-gay bone in his body. Why would he? He is gay himself! When I spoke to him earlier, Stephen told me...

"I'm actually in favour of gay marriages - and rather hope to have one myself one day."


UPDATE: What a pity Sunder Katwala didn't check either. Very unlike him.

34 comments:

Sunder Katwala said...

Iain,

I completely disagree. In fact, somebody tweeted me the information half an hour before I posted my post. But I did not consider it relevant to his comments against assimilation and heterosexual society. Since I couldn't find a public statement from him about his sexuality, I chose not to reference it.

The comments about assimilation and heterosexual society remain anti-equality and profoundly unConservative too.

I just don't think you get a pass if, for example, you are a woman entrepreneur, and you say "I don't like to employ women: they just gossip and get pregnant and go off on maternity leave", then you are as sexist as Alan Sugar.

Race equality is the job of all of us, not black and Asian people (the race relations act was passed by all white parliament in the 1970s); gay equality is something we should all support, not just gay people.

And there is also something of a Tory tradition of having minority candidates lead on opposition on minority causes: that is why I declared the pro-Empire and anti-independence MP Sir Mancherjee Merwanjee Bhownagree (elected in 1895) to be the very first Hilton/Cameron Conservative.

Lady Finchley said...

I love it! The Indy is the most pompous lefty organ around. Independent indeed!

GarethS said...

Sunder,

i didn't understand a single word of that "right on" claptrap. More obfuscation than justification methinks.

If clarity of thought is reflected in clarity of writing then you are a muddle headed fool.

trevorsden said...

You great thundering pillock Mr Katweala - it was said as part of a debating society. How thick do you have to be not to read the text of Mr Dales post? Oh I see a socialist ...

You do not choose the side of the debate its given to you.
Its all about testing debating skills. You do not have to believe what you say (Brown must have been ace at this in Edinburgh) you have to frame a plausible argument.

You are quite simply an arse end of story .... from which remark you can see I would be quite useless in debate.

Moriarty said...

The only thing independent about the "Independent" is that it operates independently of any attempt at critical thought.

Sunder Katwala said...

I am also rather sceptical about the 'arguing the toss at the Cambridge Union' defence. That would be the case for debating contests, but not formal debates of this kind.

He would have had to choose to give the impression that he did hold the argument he made. Since Parkinson argues his case sincerely and with passion, and then republishes the speech on the Cambridge University Conservative Association website, he seems to have done everything to give the impression these were his sincerely held view in 2002, and nothing contemporary to it contradicts that.

But I do accept there is an element of tongue-in-cheekness in the tone of the assimilation argument, in that context, as part of a sincere defence of section 28, and against gay adoption and civil partnerships.

If he has changed his mind on all or some of these issues (does he also repudiate his argument on section 28, and did he ever think the opposite? is he still against gay adoption, as I know you are?), then viva la modernisation

DespairingLiberal said...

Yeah right. He just said it as part of a debating thing. He was just like a barrister arguing for his client. Didn't mean a word of it. Oh no. Not him. Stand-up non-homophobe 110%. Absolutely.

Mind you, I'm not clear why you worry about this Iain, since most of your supporters, as we see so often in these blog comments, are very racist and sexist.

JuliaM said...

"I have checked my facts and, as I suspected, this was a Cambridge debate where you often stand up and defend positions which are not your own. It's called learning how to debate. Stephen tells me he never adopted this position personally and doesn't now. "

Surely the point should be that even if he did adopt that position, it wouldn't make him a 'homophobe'...

Or is the use of that made up and now pretty much discredited word merely a dog whistle tyo the Righteous?

Oh. Right. Rhetorical question...

Sunder Katwala said...

trevorsden

I may be a pillock but I may fare better than you think. Perhaps my most minor claim to fame is that I won the Bell Trophy first year pairs at the Oxford Union in 1993!

But there is a difference between the debating contests - where one is given one side of the debate to argue for the reasons you give - and the formal debates like this one, where you would choose to take that case. So the defence seems to me a little convenient. (In a debating contest, one would neither have a formal text nor publish one afterwards).

Stepney said...

...and independent of a readership too.

DespairingLiberal said...

You won't get anywhere trying to have an intelligent debate with most of Iain's fellow travellers on this blog Sunder, many of them would just as easily vote BNP, Ukip or Tory, depending on who best represents their particular brands of racism. Iain himself of course does nothing to encourage the wolf pack with his regular interviews with the BNP, full coverage of the ludicrous Farage, etc, etc, ad nauseam.

Sunder Katwala said...

JuliaM

You might note that he word "homophobia" was introduced by Iain Dale in his blog post, and did not appear in the material he refers to.

The Independent simply factually reported the policy positions in the 2002 speech: "Opposes gay adoptions. Has defended "benefits" of Section 28 law banning homosexual propaganda in local authorities. Against civil partnerships".

Iain Dale reports the candidate supports gay marriage, and claims to have done so in 2002. Whether he is or was ever against gay adoption, or did defend section 28, are unclear, if you think the argument that he made and then published a speech he did not agree with is plausible.

Alternatively it may, for example, be that the candidate simply supported party policy as it was in 2002, and now supports it in 2010.

titus-aduxas said...

"Sunder Katwala said...
trevorsden

I may be a pillock but I may fare better than you think. Perhaps my most minor claim to fame is that I won the Bell Trophy first year pairs at the Oxford Union in 1993!

But there is a difference between the debating contests - where one is given one side of the debate to argue for the reasons you give - and the formal debates like this one, where you would choose to take that case. So the defence seems to me a little convenient. (In a debating contest, one would neither have a formal text nor publish one afterwards)."

Well, in my book, your stance makes you a very weak and wimpy excuse for a debater. Taking the side of the debate, you don't believe in, and turning that into convincing argument is the sign of a good debater, as far as I'm concerned.

The Devil's Advocate is a role I like to play in business discussions (where it's appropriate, of course) - I'm often arguing against something that I am in agreement with. It sorts the strong argument from the weak.

Moriarty said...

...whereas Despairting Liberal, being a "liberal" "democrat" would censor any view he doesn't agree with.

The point about genuinely liberalism is that it does not conflate tolerance and approval. I count myself as a genuine liberal because I tolerate those things of which I disapprove - including homosexual intercourse.

Michael Heaver said...

Oh dear. What a balls up.

Q said...

Look, let's just cut the crap. It's all very simple. In Sunder "I Went To Oxford, Don'tcha know?" Katwala's world, if you are Conservative, you are:
- racist
- homophobic
- self-hating (if gay or 'ethnic')

It's simple. Tories are evil. All Tories are evil. In fact, everyone and anyone who doesn't vote for Labour is evil (except for Lib Dems who are just stupid). Everyone who isn't a card-carrying member of the Labour Party is at least semi-evil.

We get it, Sunder. We get it. We're evil. We spend our days lynching Coloreds and setting Them Homersexurals on fire (assuming we can spare the time from molesting children, drowning kittens and stealing money from blind orphans).

We vote Tory because we're just so lousy and hateful. The world would be better off if you just sent us all off to camps in some remote part of Russia where we can be humanely put down or made to labour for the public good. You'd also be better off banning this stupid "democracy" thing which, in the end, is merely a mechanism whereby filthy scum such as ourselves can interfere with the Labour Project.

The Labour Party in general and you, Sunder, in particular, are the only beacons of moral superiority in this land. You are better than us in so many ways I can't count them. You're cleverer, more handsome, more ethical, more moral, less white, better educated and not at all an insufferable self-important snob who's incapable of seeing past his own bigotry and who couldn't care less about anything other than his own fantasies of ideological purity. In fact, most of our latent Tory Evilness is driven by the fact that we just envy you personally, Sunder - from your rugged good looks to your incisive intellect to your social popularity and your mastery of the written word: you are everything we want to be and never will. That makes us angry and anger (as you know) leads to fear and fear leads to hate and hate leads to the Dark Side. That's why we're Tories.

You can now retire from blogging because I have encapsulated the entirety of your worldview.

jon dee said...

By smearing Stephen Parkinson, The Independent via a lazy,Labour compliant Andrew Grice will win few new readers with false garbage like this.

As for others jumping on the bandwagon without checking the facts, it's unsurprising.

Smears and character assassination are now ingrained in Labour, and now appear as their USP's in the hunt for votes.

GarethS said...

Sunder.

you missed me out for a riposte? Hit a never about your illogical and impenetrable prose perchance? :)

jailhouselawyer said...

'I don't believe in abortion': The Conservatives' next generation

Stephen Parkinson

Newcastle upon Tyne North

From Tyneside, a former President of the Cambridge Union and director of research at Centre for Policy Studies think-tank founded by Margaret Thatcher. Opposes gay adoptions. Has defended "benefits" of Section 28 law banning homosexual propaganda in local authorities. Against civil partnerships.

He says: "Marriage is, quite blatantly, a heterosexual institution. Why are gay men and women trying to assimilate themselves into straight society?"

I am at a loss to find any homophobia accusation in the above text from the article you refer to. Rather, I suspect we are seeing the drama queen in action.

It is nonsense for Iain Dale to claim that gays cannot be homophobic. This is like claiming that blacks cannot be racist.

I once had to debate that a woman's place was in the kitchen, simply because nobody else would argue the position. Luckily I could use Margaret Thatcher as an example...

James WB said...

Moriarty, I wouldn't try and arrest Nick Griffin or stop him handing out leaflets and I also wouldn't give him his own TV show in primetime, which is the blogging equivalent Iain bestows on him. I don't want people silenced but at the same time I don't want a false sense of importance to be handed to their bonkers "opinions" on a plate. Is that illiberal?

norman said...

So many Brown supporters-DL, Katwala etc. al. after this idiot and mentally unsuitable person ( Campbell) destroyed our country. Simply pathetic.

Unsworth said...

@ Sunder Katwala

"Race equality is the job of all of us,"

Total bollocks. I'm really amazed at how you loony lefties believe that your gross, and crass, views are shared by all - to the extent that everyone is obliged to follow your pathetic agendas.

"We should all support"? Oh really? I'm not obliged to support anything at all. How utterly cretinous - and how utterly predictable. It's the sheer arrogance and the intellectual and moral weakness of the left which is so astounding.

Tell you what, Sunder, don't tell me what to believe and support, and I won't bother to tell you what you should believe and support, eh?

Nayan said...

I don't understand the problem. I have been in plenty of debates where I had to argue for a point I disagreed with. I remember one we had about the BNP and I ended up on the side of pro-resettlement (being of Indian descent it was rather ironic).

Doesn't mean I personally think that resettlement is a good idea, far from it I think it's awful. Still did my best and at the end we only lost the debate 59-41 which I thought was pretty good given the subject.

Surely, Sunder, you realise that you almost never get to pick which side of the debate you get to be on at most proper debating societies. You just have to do your best with what you get.

Q said...

Nayan, you are clearly a self-loathing evildoer. You could learn a lot from following the example of your fellow ethnic, Sunder "Oxford is my Alma Mater" Katwala. I say he is your fellow ethnic but, obviously, he is better than you in every conceivable way being cleverer, handsomer, sexier, better endowed, wittier, much less white and all around morally superior. Also he has begat children. Have you begat children? I don't think so but even if you have, your spawn would be inferior to the fruit of the Righteous One's loins.

Did I mention Sunder went to Oxford? It's true, y'know, and one more sign of why we should worship him as a god.

longrun2 said...

Sunder Katwala says
"You might note that he word "homophobia" was introduced by Iain Dale in his blog post, and did not appear in the material he refers to"
"homophobia" means fear of men but is used to mean fear of gays.
His article says
"Parkinson's fears about the dangers of gay "assimilation" ...
Even if Sunder does not bother to read Iain's posts, I should expect him to read HIS OWN

Nigel said...

DespairingLiberal,
on the evidence of your last post, you are a bigot.
And a self righteous one, too.
(And just for your information, I would never consider voting UKIP, far less BNP - nor am I an automatic Tory voter.)

As for the Independent, if it is to start quoting undergraduate speeches against parliamentary candidates, it might at least make this clear, so we may judge these attempts to smear on their merits.
What they did here is piss poor journalism.

Moriarty said...

@james

It's illiberal of you to try and tell anybody who they should and shouldn't interview on their own blog. By all means refuse to interview him on your own. Not that he'd accept an invitation, nor that anyone would notice.

trevorsden said...

Mr Katwala (and just to make Despairing Liberal happy) - you are not only a pillock but also a big head. I would stop opening your mouth because you are making yourself look even more stupid every time you use it.

Clearly we once again have a case where Mr Dale ('Very unlike him') shows far too much generosity of spirit to thick facile bigoted ignorant sanctimonious and nasty socialists. Get back under your stone Mr Katwala.

DespairingLiberal said...

I detect a thinly-veiled support for fascism under many of your "liberal" arguments. In my experience, demanding free speech for the far right is all part of the stock in trade of neo-fascists and their ilk.

In the second world war (one can only look back to those days with a rose-tinted nostalgia) we locked people up who held such positions and, whenever practically possible, hanged them. This was because there was a real threat from them that they would be Quislings that the SS could call upon to supervise the enslavement of the rest of us.

The continuing mystery though is why you all hang around Iain Dale, a man who hardly meets the acceptable aryan, heterosexual conformist stereotype you all favour.

Thatsnews said...

So, Mr Katwala seems to think hew is empowered to speak for gays, women, etc.

By whom? Himself? Oh, of course! He knows all, he sees all!

JuliaM said...

I'm starting to think that Despairing Liberal is a very, very clever wind up. That last comment has convinced me, as no- one could possibly seriously believe that.

Own up. Who's behind it?

steveal said...

God, not more 'gay' stuff...

trevorsden said...

Julia M - DL really has just closed this thread by invoking Hitler/fascism.

Leaving aside the complete lack of any evidence of supporting fascism on this thread, the number of people executed for treason by Britain during WW2 was, well not many more than ... 1. 3 were executed after the war.

Graham said...

Surely the more interesting revelation is that in today's Guardian, namely that the Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling thinks that people run bed and breakfasts in their homes should "have the right" to turn away homosexual couples.

The Conservative Party has always had candidates who are gay, whether openly or otherwise, and David Cameron has certainly moved the Party in a direction of thinking that openly gay people should not suffer discrimination because of the prejudices of others. The problem is that huge numbers of supporters, including evidently at least one front bench spokesman, just do not buy into that analysis, and given half a chance will justify their prejudices on the basis of religion or conscience.