Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good Riddance to Mr Lardner

Sometimes, you just hold your head in your hands and think 'how on earth did people like this get through the candidate selection procedure?' I could be talking about Labour's candidate in South East Cambs, John Cowan or I could be talking about the idiot Philip Lardner who found himself suspended after some disgusting views on homosexuality were posted on his website. I'm glad the party took a very speedy decision and sacked him. It isn't the first time his views had got him into trouble.

He apparently thinks homosexuality isn't 'normal'. It is in fact quite normal. It's just not the 'norm'. He talks about it as not being an 'equivalent lifestyle choice'. It's not a choice. It's how you're born. And anyone who believes otherwise is an ignorant fool.

Tory Rascal has written a heartfelt post about how it makes him feel, being in the same party as dinosaurs like Mr Lardner. I sympathise with him, but he knows, and I know that people like Lardner are increasingly rare. The party has changed, and it's in no small matter due to David Cameron's leadership. He's called Lardner to account and I hope any Conservative does the same if they encounter people in the party who hold similar distateful, and profoundly unconservative views. They should be chucked out of the party for good - not just suspended. Mr Lardner already had one strike. He's just had his second. I wouldn't bother allowing him a third.


Red Rag said...

I appreciate you are in a tricky situation, but how many more Tory PPC are there like this. Cameron could have sorted this out months ago by getting Grayling to fall on his sword, he didn't he just hid him away from the press. He then could have then said to your local association parties to check how many more knuckledraggers are hiding in the shadows.

How do the gay community know there are not any more out and out homophobic PPC sleepers in your party? They don't and by the look of it neither does your party.

Benny said...

Good riddance! It's a shame the ballot papers have already been printed.

Mick Turatian said...

Your reaction here is overblown and it's part of an increasingly pervasive tendency that people standing for a political party (or indeed pretty much any job) have to conform to a set way of thinking.

I don't really care about what the "issue" might happen to be in any given case. Surely what matters is whether this man's view will really have an impact on his ability to be an MP or put him so at odds with his party's manifesto as to make him unsuitable to adhere to it.

Should parties or other organisations be so centralised that every aspect of every potential candidate's thoughts be investigated and vetted? How much more bland, uniform and centralised would you like the world to be?

Would it offend you if homophobes voted Tory?

Liz said...

John Cowan was standing in my constituency. I was just wondering this evening: what happens to the ballot papers? I'm presuming they've already been printed - in cases like these where a PPC has been sacked, do they still appear on the form? Are constituents who don't follow the news told that their preferred candidate isn't standing any more?

I'm a little alarmed that all three main parties have had to sack PPCs - it seems each party is lacking some due diligence. All three had form.

Paul said...

Is/was Margaret Thatcher unconservative then?

golden_balls said...

you seem quite happy to comment on Mr Lardner but nothing about Julian Lewis ?

do you agree with his comments regarding age of consent where he compared the health risk of HIV infection from male homosexual activity to the danger of serving in a frontline position in the military ?

Joe Litobarski said...

Completely agree. But this is hardly going to win back the support of gay voters put off by Grayling's comments about B&Bs.

Witterings from Witney said...


Please do not think that I am entering into an argument with you, but a number of points.....

While accepting that homosexuality is not the norm, it is not normal in the biblical, or procreation, sense. Neither is it 'how you are born', it is a choice made which can be dependant on your upbringing, education, and the 'society' within which you mix.

Should a candidate be 'punished' for expressing a personal view, or one which may be based on one's understanding of christian belief? Does a political party have the right to suppress, for party ideology, an individual's view? If one does not agree with the 'accepted viewpoint' and does not allow any other line of thought, where would society be - witness votes for women, even the ability to debate. Should someone be punished for echoing a view held by many others?

This decision by your party and you is an affront to free speech, is it not? Are you against the freedom of individuals to think and thus have thoughts with which you and your party do not agree? Is this not a tad 'Orwellian' in nature?

Just a few thoughts......

Iain Dale said...

Witterings, I can assure you that it is not a choice. If it were, most hay people would not have made it. Their lives would have been immeasureably easier in many ways.

Graham said...

If you read ConservativeHome you will see that the views of Mr Lardner are far more widely shared by grass roots Conservatives than Iain Dale is prepared to admit. Indeed it seems that ConservativeHome has suspended posting comments on the subject because too many of them show support for Mr Lardner.

Unsworth said...

OK. So, definition of 'normal', then?

Usual? Commonplace? Acceptable? What?

Mick Turatian said...

Cameron could have sorted this out months ago by getting Grayling to fall on his sword

That's exactly the problem with this kind of intransigent thinking. Cameron should have defended Grayling by saying that his point of view was legitimate and that when two minorities' interests compete, the wisest thing to do is to stand back.

Why should homosexuals kowtow to the religious? And the other way round? I'm very tired of people who seek to be offended.

Live and let live, say I as a straight atheist.

Witterings from Witney said...


If I were to accept your initial comment/response, what about the other points I raise? Do you honestly accept that a political party can 'smother' free speech and thought? Really?

Brian said...

Is he related to Ring Lardner?

DeeDee99 said...

I didn't realise that a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate had to conform precisely to every policy statement made by the Party Leadership.

If so - how come some Tories are free to say they want to join the Euro and others don't.

How come some Tories can say they think the UK belongs in the EU and others don't.

How come there is quite a wide variation of views on lots of different subjects - because the Conservative Party has always been a broad 'church' which encompasses a range of views.

So how come a PPC cannot express a view which is slightly different from the Party line when it comes to homosexuality?

I am not anti-gay; I disagreed with Grayling when he said B&Bs should be able to turn gays away ... but for the life of me I cannot see why saying homosexuality isn't normal is so dreadful.

It isn't normal. Attraction between opposite sexes is normal. That's not to say it's wrong, shouldn't be permitted or gays should be discriminated against. I am sure the vast majority of gays had no choice in the matter. But if homosexuality was normal, there wouldn't be a human race.

I really think this politically-correct obsession with not offending anyone has gone too far.

And before anyone says there's another homophobic Tory, I am not a Conservative voter.

Richard said...

This is what you wrote Iain:

He apparently thinks homosexuality isn't 'normal'. It is in fact quite normal. It's just not the 'norm'.

Er ...perhaps you should re-write.

Better still, just lay off homosexual topics. Your comments diminish you.

You are a first class political commentator. Stick with it.

Ian M said...

Sorry to disagree with you on this one and its an issue on which I am usually indifferent

I think its more important that the electors of North Ayrshire and Arran get the chance to vote for a Conservative candidate that to appease a minority who feel offended by what he says.

We still have Baroness Warsi in the Shadow Cabinet and her comments as candidate in Dewsbury in 2005 make those by Phillip Lardner timid.

I don't agree with the comments at all but I recognise that Phillip Lardner's opinions are shared by a significant percentage of the population. Indeed in the Referendum in 2000 promoted by Brian Souter over the abolition of Section 28 by the Scottish Parliament, with a turnout of 31% (better than many local elections) over 80% supported the Section's retention. In the Party this should be regarded as a matter for personal conscience not for discipline

Ironically he would not comment on this in the UK Parliament since in his Constituency its a matter for Holyrood not Westminster

I hope the Scottish Party will not bow to pressure from London and the Metropolitan elite

Braveheart said...

Lardner's personality and beliefs were well known.

North Ayrshire and Arran Conservative Asociation. chose Lardner, knowing what he was and what he was like...

I think someone in the Tory Party should behaving a close look at the local party....

James Featherwell said...

There is a measurable amount of public "disgust" over what Evan Davis describes as "what urban gay men get up to after dark", so it is not an issue that is so easily cast aside.

But what Mr Lardner really means when he uses "normal" in this context is that he disapproves of homosexuality and is disgusted by it. His heroes appear to be Ian Smith and Enoch Powell. In other words he represents a wing of the Tory Party that dare not speak its name and as a result, must meet in secret, for the risk of exposure means public asperity. How ironic.

Craig Ranapia said...

Ian et. al.:

I don't accept "everyone does it" as an excuse for obnoxious behaviour from children, so why should I put up with it from a parliamentary candidate?

I've held political office, and back on Planet Earth discipline and restraint counts. Even if you think poof are horrible disgusting animals who should be taken out behind the barn and shot, I don't get why you're applauding lardner's noxious lack of judgement and discipline a little over a week before a God-damn general election. The media and your opponents are looking for a stick to beat you over the head with. That's politics. Handing it to them, and expecting a pat on the head for it -- that's idiocy,

Houdini said...

I feel sad that free speech and free thinking is dead in the modern Tory party.

So you are saying that it is now compulsory to agree with and accept homosexuality or you cannot join the Tory party?

I find your attitude offensive and I think you are the one who should be thrown out of the Tory party. Your illiberal, intolerant, dictatorial post is probably the worst piece of nazi like smut I have ever read and I feel ashamed to be a member of a party who holds views like yours.

Craig Ranapia said...


Oh, should I buy a new frock for the pity party? Philip Lardner is welcome to be a saloon bar bigot wherever, whenever and to whoever he pleases. When he is a parilamentary candidate for the Conservative Party he shows some eff-ing discipline and judgement. If he doesn't actually back party policy and the leader to the extent that he will STFU in public, then I've got to ask two questions: 1) Why the hell are you on the hustings? 2) Why should I believe you can actually hack working under caucus discipline, let alone as part of a functional government?

Dioclese said...

I feel the same way about homosexuality that I do about religion. You are entitled to live your life any way you choose as long as you do not enforce your views on other people and make them to live and think the same way.

I support free speech. This man is at liberty to believe what he does and to express those views, but has no right to force those views on other people. As regards him being a candidate for parliament, people are at liberty not to vote for him.

Having said that, if you belong to a club and disagree with the rules, you should leave that club - so Cameron was quite right to dismiss him for what he did. It brings the party into disrepute.

RB said...

He is entirely wrong, in my view. Any sexuality is inherent and natural. That seems to me to be self evident.

He is entitled to his opinion, and try as anyone might, one cannot dictate the views held by others.

If your article had welcomed his removal on the grounds that his views are so fundamentally out of kilter with his party that he had to go, that’s fair enough.

If your post had criticised the view he was expressing in the context of what he was saying in relation to his position on the promotion of homosexual lifestyles in schools, fine. But you didn’t. You described him as an idiot (which I doubt) and his comments as “disgusting”.

He also promotes respect, politeness and tolerance. He thinks the law is wrong and that parents should have the choice as to what their children are taught. Most of us agree that choices based on prejudice should not be available. But one man’s prejudice is another’s strongly held and considered belief and the difference between the two is a thin line dependent always on which side of it you stand. And therein is the essential difficulty of the peaceful coexistence of all people in a modern society.

You, as so many “groups” in society are now want to do in relation to their own identity, confuse your demands for tolerance and equal treatment as a mechanism for universal and compulsory relinquishment of any view not married to your own. This is why you seek the unattainable, whatever laws are passed. Tolerance is just that – respect, and fellowship offered and received between different people of different backgrounds, outlooks and strongly held beliefs.

He’s an easy target and he made himself so. Muslims and other religions despise or pity homosexuals, but I have not seen much outrage expressed at the selection of any Muslim or other religious faith PPCs, who, as Muslims or other, are often inherently and irreversibly opposed to homosexuality. For them you exercise tolerance.

I weary of “minority top trumps”. Outrage reserved for the “unprotected” in society – the white, middle class, heterosexual, male.

I don’t give a fig if you are gay or straight or whatever. I live my life and you live yours. Our equality, one with the other, is undeniable, just as it is with any other human being.

Yes, sack him if his views are incompatible with the party he represents. But show the respect and tolerance that you demand from others, Ian.

Paul Dean said...

Oh dear; if someone does not join in with your consensus they are a dinosaur. This kind of bullying-into-consensus is very dangerous as the spread of the "left of centre" consensus has shown in the last decade.

The view Lardner expressed is a standard Christian view, so to me, his dismissal says, "You can be a Christian and a Tory so long as you don't talk about your Christian views". If he was sacked for being stupid enough to say something (anything) controversial close to the election, then fair enough, but if he was sacked for actually having those views then the insidious control-freakery of consensus is clearly winning.

Richard said...

I agree with Houdini and RB. It is abhorent that we must all agree that homosexuality is a good thing to be a good Conservative. How long before we all must to agree that it is the best thing?

Paul Halsall said...

I just hope Christian and Syed have a happy ending!

Craig Ranapia said...

Just have to wonder how many of the folks here would be treating Lardner as a free speech martyr id he'd opined that the "many people" who think the Tories are being less than entirely honest about how deep their spending cuts will be - and how they're going to pay for their campaign pledges -- are right. Yes; A Concervative candidate saying that George Osborne, not to put to fine a point on it, is a liar.

Free speech, folks.

VotePeterShields.co.uk said...

I'm fed up with the disproportionate power that the gay mafia now seem to have compared to their tiny vote. Why do we pander so much to them? Is it because they are disproportianetly represented in the senior echelons of the media?

This homogenous, narrow orthodoxy that pervades our politics is stifling. No wonder most don't vote or are turning to the BNP who are prepared to speak the truth plainly.

What's more, anyone who's done honest canvassing will know that Lardner's opinions are quite mainstream - even more so amongst Labour's core voters than in the Conservative heartlands.

I'm so glad that I've cut all my tribal links to party politics. Free thought is so liberating.

Paul Halsall said...

Gay people are perhaps 4-8% of the potential electorate, but well over 10% of actual voters.

Pissing us off is a mistake.

Treacle said...

Unfortunately the Conservatives had the gay vote in the bag, but have lost it. First there was David Cameron's interview with Gay Times, then there was the Chris Grayling comment, and now this. The gay vote could perhaps have withstood one of these, but not all three. I have just received an email with this in the subject line and no message: "Are you in a quandary what to vote? Conservatives are so homophobic, I am going with Daddy Brown." It looks as if it is doing the rounds. Chris Grayling and Mr Lardner may have thrown the election away.

Ian M said...

I've seen that's been said but which way does a Conservative who lives in Skelmorlie, Largs, the three Towns or Arran now vote ? -assuming they haven't done so already

VotePeterShields.co.uk said...

"The gay vote" ... what the hell is that? Does your sexuality determine your views on immigration, civil liberties, education, taxation, defense, Europe, socail justice ...

Whay has the "gay vote" become more important than the "catholic vote" or the "muslim vote" or the "heterosexual vote" or the "pensioner vote" or the "parent vote"? Because they shout the loudest? Because they have the biggest influence in the media?

The whole idea that a single issue should determine who runs our country show the inherent stupidity of the Pary system - and sadly, large numbers of the electorate.

What a shame that epitaths such as bigot, homophobe, racist, hateful, europhobe, climate denier etc are used to close down any non-conformist views. Our nation & political life are all the duller for it.

I'm glad I've freed myself from the pary political straight jacket (or is that homophobic - should it be a gay jacket?!)

Kate said...

"Any sexuality is inherent and natural. That seems to me to be self evident."
By that logic we should decriminalize
acts of paedophilia between consenting adults/children, should we?

Paul Halsall said...


Children cannot give consent - that is why paedophilia is wrong.

But there are all sorts of sexual activities that are learned, and are enjoyed by both gays and straights - oral sex, for example, anal sex, consensual S/M, even water sports.

All those things should simply be allowed because it is nobody's business to ban them.