Tory blogger Iain Dale complains about an item here yesterday. I mentioned that Dale, who is gay, is hoping to become the Tory candidate at Bracknell, Berkshire, and invited subscribers to PinkNews, the homosexual website, to attend the open primary on October 17, saying: 'You don't even have to be a Conservative to attend.' Dale says my comment - 'Isn't it charming how homosexuals rally likeminded chaps to their cause?' - is homophobic, as is my description of him as 'overtly gay'. He has complained to the Press Complaints Commission, and suggested his readers email complaints. I have nothing against Dale. Nor am I homophobic. But if he wants to become an MP, surely he'll have to become a little less sensitive. Incidentally, the Tories are having their first gay pride event at their Manchester conference next week. They'll promote a new 'gay-friendly' logo, Conservative Pride. Isn't life grand?
Isn't it just. Oh well, PCC here I come.
UPDATE 9.30am: Peter McKay has confirmed it didn't come from him.
I must say I'm quite surprised at the furore created by the piece in my
column yesterday. As regular readers will be aware the EH section is meant to be
a lighthearted gossip piece and is certainly not meant to be taken
However I understand that perspectives on these things are different for
different people and realise that though no offence was intended, you did indeed
find the piece offensive.
I'm certainly happy to offer my fullest apologies for any offence caused
and reflect that I may have made an error of judgement on this occasion.
Of course I'll happily through a few bobbies in the direction of your
nominated charity and hope that all is now fine and dandy.
I look forward to hearing from you.
I accept the apology and shan't be taking the matter any further. I think the point has been made, not just by, but by the dozens (perhaps hundreds) of you who have been in touch with the Mail and the PCC. Thank you all for your support. It means a lot.
I think there are two lessons here. Don't take this sort of thing lying down. Fight back and you can get a result. It wouldn't have been possible without the internet, though, would it?
It is all very well for me to do this. I am in a position to. But what about if it had happened to someone else without the facilities to do what I did today? Think on that.
I am going to ask the Daily Mail to make a donation to Help for Heroes.
UPDATE: I shall also be asking for the article to be removed from the Daily Mail website.