Saturday, April 03, 2010

Why I Have to Disagree With Chris Grayling

Fasten your seatbelts. Just before I went down to the studio to talk about Labour posters on the Stephen Nolan Show I saw the breaking story about Chris Grayling. Tomorrow's Observer has a recording of him saying that he felt that the rights of bed and breakfast owners to refuse admission to gay couples should be respected. He differentiated between B&Bs and hotels, which he thought had no right "in this day and age" to refuse admission to gay couples. It turns out that he voted for the legislation in 2007 which prohibits B&B owners from doing this and he says he would not wish to turn the clock back.

I fundamentally disagree with him on the main issue. This is not about property rights. If you open your house to paying guests, it is no longer just your house. You are running a business, just the same as anyone else, and you should be subject to the same laws as anyone else. If you do not wish gay people, black people, Jews or anyone else in your house, don't open it to the public. Simple as that. No one would accept a shopowner refusing to serve a particular type of person, would they?

We all know the reaction of any right thinking person to any B&B owner who refused an Asian couple accomodation, so I see no reason why it should be different just because of your sexuality. If I and my partner booked into a B&B and were refused at the door we'd probably feel an inch tall. So what, some may say. Get over it. I disagree. Discrimination is wrong in whatever form it takes. Period.

So on the radio I made clear my disagreement with Grayling. Of course, that wasn't good enough for some. Should he apologise, I was asked? I said that he should only apologise if he meant it. Too often we demand apologies out of political correctness. My opponent in the discussion was ex-Mirror editor David Banks, who is normally quite pleasant. This time he went totally over the top and accused the Tories of wanting to go back to sexual apartheid and apartheid by race. That rather lost him the argument.

The trouble is, this will feed those like Ben Bradshaw and Chris Bryant who pick upon any sign of apparently anti gay comments in the Conservative Party as a sign that the party as a whole hasn't changed and would secretly like to bring back Section 28. It's rubbish of course. I know it, you know it, they know it, but it suits their agenda within the so-called gay community to feed fears and worries. It's what they do best. And of course they have already been at it tonight.

Do I believe Chris Grayling is homophobic? No, I do not. Do I believe that his views, as expressed, will be damaging. Yes I do. He has just issued the following statement...
"Any suggestion that I am against gay rights is wholly wrong - it is a matter of record that I voted for civil partnerships. I also voted in favour of the legislation that prohibited bed and breakfast owners from discriminating against gay people. However, this is a difficult area and on Wednesday I made comments which reflected my view that we must be sensitive to the genuinely held principles of faith groups in this country. But the law is now clear on this issue, I am happy with it and would not wish to see it changed."

All fine words, but I have to say I still disagree. I do not think we must be sensitive to faith groups who promote discrimination and bigotry. We wouldn't be sensitive to groups who provoke racial discrimination, so why should we be sensitive to those who appear to condone sexual discrimination. As someone just said on my Facebook thread...
I know why he said it - Christian rights etc. And I don't suppose I'd want to stay at their B&B but you can't back gay civil partnerships with tax credits and then let those same gay couples be refused a roof over their head for the night cos someone doesn't like what they do in bed. B&Bs are not churches. They are a business "service".
Exactly. However, let's not go overboard about this. Grayling voted for the current position and said on the recording, I believe, that he is content with it and would not change it. He expressed a personal opinion, which, however much I might disagree with it, he has every right to do. But he is Shadow Home Secretary and will have to defend himself. Because I am afraid I can't.


Mitchell Stirling said...

Same old Tories.

Number 7 said...

And if the B&B is islamic and refuse entry???

Iain Dale said...

One rule for all.

_ said...

How about we allow everyone in the private sector to discriminate as much as they like in choosing who they do business with? The market punishes those who discriminate on grounds of race, sex etc.; we don't need stupid legislation, which rides roughshod over the principle of free association, to do it.

Unknown said...

Totally agree with you Iain. This is nothing more than discrimination towards gays. We wouldn't tolerate if B&B owners didn't allow brown or black people to stay in their dwellings, why the distinction when it comes to one's sexuality?

Grayling needs to clarify his words immediately. Can't believe what he said so close to election-time. He has a nack for this (remember the Richard Dannatt mix-up in Conference?)

Number 7 said...

Fair play Iain.

Unknown said...

A very good post, Iain. I will admit, before reading it I was inclined towards Chris Grayling's point of view, but your post has persuaded me otherwise. The key part was where you said that when a person opens their house to paying guests, it ceases to be merely their house, and becomes a business, which must be treated, and treat others, just as any other business would. This has really helped clarify my thinking on the issue, so thank you for such a constructive contribution.

Daniel Mason said...

The distinction Grayling is making in terms of religion is absurd.

He seems to be saying it would be acceptable for a Christian to turn away gay people if it offends their faith, but NOT okay for a non-Christian to discriminate according to their own personal views.

Whether it's based on faith or not, homophobia is homophobia and people shouldn't be allowed to hide behind religion.

Anyway, isn't this the chance Cameron has been waiting for to demote Grayling?

Giles Bradshaw said...

I think that they should not be able to refuse admission to people on the grounds of being gay but should be able to refuse admission without giving grounds.

Unknown said...

...Although, having said that, I do also agree with _ (sic) over the longer term, in that I think all anti-discrimination legislation ought eventually to be phased out, once social attitudes have changed sufficiently to render them unnecessary, since I think it's not optimal to have legislation regulating the behaviour of private businesses unless absolutely necessary. But before we reach that point, Iain's argument is persuasive to the effect that B&Bs shouldn't be an exception.

Unknown said...

This makes me angry and sad. I want to vote Tory, but how can I. The guy is an idiot and should be sacked for holding such views and for expressing them so clumsily so close to an election. The Tories obviously don't have enough talent to form a credible government. Maybe the new intake might unearth a few more intelligent people who reflect society as it is now.

Jon Lishman said...

Does this apply to Muslim bed-and-beakfasts, too?

Does religious tolerance (and law) in 21st Century "tolerant" Britain not apply to Christians?

Are there pathetic double standards at work here? (Yeah, always.)

Is Chris Grayling confused about this issue? For sure.

But only as confused as everybody else has been for years, through no fault of their own, including (sadly) Iain Dale (whose guidance I value a great deal on these matters, always).

It's still a mess, but it's nobody's fault.

Least of all Grayling's!

Osama the Nazarene said...

Same old Liebor. Smear, smear and smear again. Of course the Conservative party has changed but liebor want to introduce the thought police. Par for the course for political correctness protagonists.

I agree with you on this issue but would still defend the right of Catholic adoption agencies to not accept gay couples for adoption. That is an issue of conscience and not discrimination. There will be non Catholic agencies which would allow adoptions by gay couples.

Anonymous said...

I heard your radio broadcast, I agree that David Banks was making over exaggerated political capital out of this 'incident' - but his position was more logical than either yours or Chris Grayling's.

Chris voted against B&B owners having this freedom ? Why ? if he disagrees with it ? And if he doesn't want to turn the clock back why is he mentioning it at all ?.

I'm not sure how homophobia is defined, but his comments very definitely show a discrimination against homosexual people.

I quite agree with you that an apology which is forced, has no true meaning. But I don't understand why there is something wrong with Chris Bryant and Ben Bradshaw using evidence such as this to condemn the Conservative Party - nor indeed do I understand why you stand by the party.

You are a high profile Conservative, with cross party respect - and it would seem very sensible for the Conservatives to select you as a parliamentary candidate. However they have not done - on more than one occasion.

The clear reason why not, is that the grass roots conservative members don't want to select gay candidates. Which brings us back to the points which Ben & Chris make so often - that the Tories are fundamentally anti-gay.

Leave them behind - you're better than them.

Mrs Rigby said...

I think there's a difference between a small B&B with one or two bedrooms and one that has, say, more than 5 bedrooms in terms of being a business and regulations etc.

As for the rest, I'm playing Devil's Advocate.

What can, and would, a Muslim family, or Jehovah's Witnesses, or Sikhs, or Jews, and so on do if they ran a B&B? Would they make choices about their prospective guests?

Would they only serve halal, kosher food, for example, even though the guests might not like it? Would some of them insist that couples are married?

Doesn't somewhere that advertises that it's 'Vegan' discriminate against meat eaters? Or is that choice okay in modern Britain?

Iain Dale said...

Northern Heckler, you might have a point if more than 20 Tory Associations hadn't selected openly gay candidates in safe and winnable seats. 8% of the Tory Parliamentary Party is likely to be gay after the next election. That rather undermines the point you were making,

John Demetriou said...

Iain, you're wrong. It is about private property and individual business owner's making their own choice.

Read my piece here: (offensive language included by way of warning)

I think it's morally wrong, but think about it logically - why stop a private business owner from making choices like that? Why, under the law, should the State have a say over this?

Let the free market work for itself. Would B&Bs with homophobic rules and regs survive in our day and age? Probably not, and deservedly so. But let people decide, not the bloody state.

Just a rep said...

Religion makes people cranky. Why should pharmacists have an opt out for what they believe goes against their religion and B&B owner not? Personally, I think it should be one rule for all. As you were -lets get back to the 80's!

Roger Thornhill said...

I strongly disagree with you, Iain.

What you are basically saying is someone has no right of refusal.

If someone turns up for business not of
the business owner's liking, you are saying they must be forced to do business with them. That is absurd, authoritarian, totalitarian. It makes the individual lose the right of self determination. A business becomes just a cog at the whim of the state, of thought police and the mob.

You are tramping over not just property rights but the freedom of association, the freedom of self determination.

Forcing someone to work against their will is slavery.

If an employee of a hotel took it into their hands to refuse, then the compliant is between owner and employee as much as rejected customer, in terms of breach of (employment) contract.

But is it the role of the State to intervene? No.

This is not a case of "Tory Nasty Party", but if does seem a case of irrational, collectivist, illiberal, Authoritarianism, forcing people to be slaves.

Btw I would boycott a place that rejected gays, but that is my choice and i am using my freedom of (dis)association to exercise it, not mob rule.

Krishna said...

Completely agree. There's no place for discrimination - and trying to cloak is behind the label of "religious faith" is just ridiculous.

Unknown said...

Over 6 months ago I warned you about your complacency about an inevitable Tory win in this year’s election (which I wanted - note the PAST tense).

No "Dogs, Irish, Blacks or Gays" sums up many of the old entrenched attitudes of the old Tory party which I thought was a thing of the past.

Scratch beneath the surface and it does not take long before these old attitudes come to the surface.

I am deeply saddened by this. I was going to vote Tory in the May election as I cannot stand the idea of another 5 years of Brown.

I know you do not hold the same views and are a force for good in the Tory party. It will be a long time before I even consider voting Tory again.

I'm not a dog, Irish, black or gay but I find these attitudes offensive and there is no way that I would give my vote to a party that has someone in its leadership who holds such views.

Terry White said...

Unusually I find myself disagreeing with you somewhat on this one Iain.
Am I in favour of discrimination? No. However, as reasonable change develops it does not always do so at a reasonable pace, nor in a faultless way. It is fair I thnk to say that hotels should not be able to discriminate but for homeowners I do wonder whether their rights and feelings are rather being trampled on.
Perhaps you are right in saying that they should not open their doors to B+B if they wish to bar gays, but I am becoming increasingly uneasy with all the political correctness. Effectively it is taking on at times a rather quasi-fascist mentality where if you think or feel differently then you are simply wrong and must back down. What about the 'rights' of people of faith? Are they irrelevant because certain people think they are wrong? Should we proscribe against them? I don't think one can force people to change and I'm not sure one should try. To use the eponymous title of the lovely film about Quakers starring Gary Cooper, 'Friendly Persuasion' is better.
As for the New Age fascists, look out. Behind all the smiling and hugging and massages and their 'Course in Miracles' there is a determinedly intolerant streak that brooks no dissent or variation from their views. That is why I use the term quasi-fascist. The true test of democracy and freedom is not to uphold rights when we all agree but to go to the wall on behalf of people with whom we might disagree when not to do so would impinge upon their rights just as much and undermine democracy itself. This has been happening in Britain under New Labour for some years and we ignore it at our peril. I would remind people that had we followed the urgings of the Daily Mirror back in the 1930s we would have had Hitler welcomed up the steps to Buckingham Palace on a red carpet with the ghastly Oswald Moseley inserted as puppet ruler. Yes folks, the Mirror was a big fan of our Oswald back then and it is, through 'writers' (I use that term loosely) such as Kevin Maguire, just as biased and closed-minded now as it was then. It is happy to stand up for some peoples' rights whilst those of others it disagrees with would be crushed under its jack boots if we let it. Beware those who would lead you to Utopia. Give me a little bit of imperfection anyday.

Boo said...

I am a tad agnostic on this issue. If there is wide spread discrimination that prevents people access to a service then fair enough, but if a few holdouts want to refuse service, then where the damage? The only damage is to the owners pocket and reputation as people go to the more accepting competition.

golden_balls said...

This does give the Labour Party an attack point when it comes to the Tories and the gay community.

It will be interesting to see DC and how he reacts will he offend too many people on the right if he slaps him down.

good post though iain nice to see you haven't lost all your Independence before the election.

Guppy said...

The law voted through by Ben Bradshaw allows discrimination against gays in this case:

The Regulations do not apply where a landlord shares small premises if he or a near relative lives in another part of the same premises.
This exemption is in place to preserve an individual’s right to privacy in their own home.

This does not apply however to someone advertising a service to the public at large.

Grayling was talking about moving that exemption back a step not allowing full blown discrimination, but as he says the law is now in place and he is not suggesting repeal. He was simply mulling the matter over.

I for one would not want politicians forced to deny contemplating (minor) law reform or for Labour and the LibDems being allowed to use strict adherence to their movable feast of views on gay rights to become a stick to beat the Tories.

Tapestry said...

The free choice to be openly and contentedly homosexual cannot be matched by an equivalent freedom of business owners to state a preference as to who they will house. Fair enough.

If politics is swinging back into a less tolerant phase, as it does tend to do during worsening economic times, how far will open tolerance be permitted and maintained?

Would, for example, the B&B owner be obliged to house known paedophiles in their house, or violent criminals?

It seems to me that a B&B owner can refuse anyone they like, as long as they don't give specific reasons other than 'we are fully bookeed'.

There should be no obligation on a gay couple to hide their happiness, or on a B&B owner to prove that they are overbooked.

That way the two freedoms are preserved. Open prejudice should not be permitted, but then neither should we demand more enforcement by the state. That way we all become slaves.

Willy said...

Let's imagine, for a second, that i find the idea of men sodomising each other to be sickeningly depraved.

What if the thought of it happening on my own property, in my own place of business, appalls me.

Am i allowed to post a NO SODOMY sign on the inside of the room of couples i suspect may partake of this act?

Anonymous said...

As a B&B owner who happily accepts gays, I agree it is unwise of Grayling to say what he thinks, but I would defend to the end the right of B&B owners to decide who they should admit into their home.
At issue is the definition of a B&B as opposed not only to a hotel, but also to a guest house. The latter are businesses the primary purpose of which is to provide accommodation with food. On the other hand a B&B is a essentially a home first and a business second. People come to us to experience our hospitality based on our particular concepts of running a home. Good food and accommodation is secondary, for it is almost taken for granted.
Within every good home, there have to be rules, mostly unspoken, based on the values of the owners. There is no absolutely right way to run a home, but Government should never interfere with our right to run it as we wish.
Iain is confusing Conservative libertarian values with prejudice. We like and respect many gays but we have had enough of the nanny state, thank you Iain.

leftpeg said...

This will be a one day wonder but it does help make his Toniness' point about what they say and what they believe...

Simon Lewis said...

I have to agree totally with you Iain about people's opening their homes.

I have to say that i have mentioned this before that I feel Grayling is very flaky and not up to the job.

I think if the Tories get in you will see undue pressure put on the leadership to change the laws on this type of discrimination in the same way as section 28.

Of course section 28 was always misunderstood by the grassroots Tories. They screamed gay promotion when it was nothing of the sort.

In addition, I have to smile as it helps Labour! But then you knew i'd say that:-)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Iain. You're way south of the mark on this one.

As I said over at The Groan....

Private property.

Personal choice.

Anathema to leftists.

If the way forward for the brand of Tory thinking you represent is to legislate on matters of conscience, and that represents the majority view in the party, then one of us, Iain, is no longer a Tory.

I should perhaps also reiterate my further comment that if it were my own establishment gay couples would be more than welcome.

Anonymous said...

I see after posting that Thornhill and Demetriou have already made my point far more eloquently and persuasively than me.

Mick Turatian said...

But that's not how they see themselves, is it? That's a label you're applying to them because you don't like their tenets.

This is the dilemna of legislating in the arena of competing minorities.

It's this same phenomenon that prevents pub landlords from determining themselves whether smoking is allowed in their premises.

JuliaM said...

"What you are basically saying is someone has no right of refusal."

Well, that IS the way this country is moving.

In fact, I wonder how long it will be before shops displaying that 'No more than two schoolchildren at a time' notice have to remove them for fear of prosecution under age discrimination laws?

Paul said...

I wish it were a case of "same old Tories". If it were, they'd still be able to distinguish between personhood and conduct. What Christians object to in these sorts of cases, is being complicit in what they see as sin, wrongdoing, rebellion against God.

If they refused two homosexual men two single rooms you would have a case. That would be equivalent to turning away Jews/black people/whoever else, since it's about identity rather than conduct.

Costello said...

So Iain there is no private property and there is no freedom of speech. We are all, apparently, beholden to you and your views and must seek your permission before using our own property as we wish. If some B&B owners want to put personal prejudice ahead of profit then so be it - it's their property and their bloody money. Ultimately nobody loses out by them and the other B&B owners who are more concerned with earning money will be very happy to take in the customers rejected.

ArthurBea said...

I agree with Iain. This is very disappointing. It will lose the Tories a lot of votes, possibly including mine. I await clarification and action from Cameron.

Anonymous said...

Hotels and B&Bs have always retained the right to refuse or eject guests at the discretion of the management.

lucky tattie said...

I lost count of the number of family homes for rent that we were not even permitted to view because we had children, and the landlord did not want to rent to families. As they were running a business, should they have been compelled to rent to us, or is that type of discrimination okay?

john in cheshire said...

Iain, I agree with Roger Thornhill and disagree with you.Oh, and I'm gay by the way.

DeeDee99 said...

I think Grayling was wrong. As you say, a B & B is a business and all businesses should be required to adhere to the law of the land.

I have a feeling this will be one gaffe too many for Grayling. Bring back David Davis - he was a far better prospect as Home Secretary anyway.

JMB said...

From what I remember from the news coverage at the time, he did not allow unmarried couples to share a bed. I think he made this clear on his advertising.

A "civil partnership" is not a marriage so it was applied to them in the same way as male and female unmarried couple.

A B&B is very different to a hotel so cannot be expected to operated in the same way as one.

thespecialone said...

This is a very minor issue for most people. Of course Labour and Libs will try to exploit it but really outside of London and the media it will be a big fat 0.001% on the richter scale.
What the vast majority of people want to know is what is the next government going to do to secure their jobs. And to get the debt and borrowing down.

Michael CP said...

Roger Thornhill - spot on.

dazmando said...

Firstly this may of been recorded in secret but Chris Grayling was at a public meeting of a leading centre-right think tank.

Secondly just because a senior Tory says something in a misguided belief that he is defending peoples right to invite people to their own home does not mean that the whole Tory party is some how homophobic.

Old Holborn said...

Iain Dale and the State insists that we all eat broccoli as it is good for us.

Woe betide you if you don't like broccoli.

New laws to force people to eat broccoli, whether they like it or not were passed by 646 MPs recently. Not liking broccoli is now a criminal offence.

Eat up all your broccoli. By Law.

Moriarty said...

I'd have thought that in this day and age we might have invented a pill -a white one say -that stops people from feeling anything at all at any point in their lives. Even better: one that eliminates free will and so stops the proles from making bthe "wrong" choices. Think of the advantages? True we'd eliminate sensual and aesthetic pleasures but we'd create a world in which nobody was offended by anything. And being offended is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. And totally inappropriate in this, the 21st century.

Victor, NW Kent said...

There is an important point here. It cannot be a legitimate aim for anyone that this country be turned into one where only one shade of opinion is tolerated, where we must be devoid of any convictions that do not accord with a pervading greyish norm.

I see no reason why Grayling thought it necessary to articulate these thoughts as he is a politician and should seek to avoid controversy in a pre-election period.

Imagine a parent with a 16-year old child who wishes to invite a lover to spend the night in her home. If the parent denies permission is that illegal because they are of an age to have sex? The right to decide what happens in your own home is not simply a matter of law. Smoking in a private residence is not illegal but I do not allow it in my house.

Hoteliers and restaurateurs have the right to refuse admission on a great many grounds. In so doing they may offend drunks, scruffy people, and prostitutes. Should their rights be overturned by law since they are businesses?

Most people go where they will be welcome, there is plenty of choice available.

Bird said...

You are making a mountain out of a molehill Iain and feeding smear merchants from the Labour Party and Lib Dems.
If I were running a small B&B, I would definite discriminate about who would cross the threshold.
It wouldn't matter if it were two men or two women seeking a room. I would turn away shifty, dirty, aggressive, drunken, crimina-looking types.
Re two men: I would only refuse them (sorry, we're full) if it was an older man with an obvious rent boy.
Nobody has commented on the sly secret recording - a Labour speciality. I remember Gordon Brown handed Piers Morgan a tape during the build up to the 2000 GE. (Piers Morgan Diaries) Apparently Liam Fox had been secretly recorded making disparaging remarks about the NHS.
I suppose we'll have a long song and dance about this and it's probably already pencilled in for Any Questions and Question Time.

Anonymous said...

I am of Asian extraction and brown coloured. I experienced manytimes subtle and othertimes overt discrimination in B and B houses in Aberdeen. Aberdeen hotels were usually full, and B and B houses some with 1/2 spare bedrooms were the only options for visitors and short stayers.
I often saw the shock on the faces of landladies when they saw me on arrival with my suitcase as my name mentioned over the phone earlier sometimes did not indicate what my ethnicity was. I understood their predicament when some after asking about me over the phone gently recommended a nearby hotel.

Was I upset? No. These B and B houses with 1/2 rooms are different from large hotels and the services are homely. Having had the above expereinces, I still think that the choice of who to have should be theirs.

But after stays with them,having allowed me albeit reluctantly, they always welcomed me back, charging me less than their advertised rate. Many times I have stayed in these B and B houses with
my Asian-looking wife.

The Labour, Libdems and Nolan have been hysterical particularly the latter. Chris Huhne was blowing this up saying Tories have not changed. So have Libdems with their opportunistic behaviour facing many directions at the same time and Labour clutching at anything that makes Brown electable. I wonder whether Nolan and Huhne ever stayed in these Band B houses. To me the legislation is stupid. I have no problem in understanding Grayling who I criticize frequently through e-mail messages to him for not properly articulating the need for tight immigration control.

Catosays said...

Their house, their beliefs, their rules.

If you can't live with that, Iain, then go somewhere else.

John said...

Another example of where a politician's naiveity is more damning than what he actually said. Grayling's a pillock and shouldn't be in his job for that reason alone. He only got the job because he fits the Tory identikit for home sec. Male, check; white, check; straight, check; tough, check; prepared to kick the minorities every so often, check. Job's a good'un Chris, on you go.

Summer said...

You are wrong Iain. Freedom of association and freedom of thought and action are the principles I will defend.

Discrimination is rife in this country, Universities discriminate against Public School Pupils; employers discriminate against Christians; the BBC and the Guardian discrimnates against Conservatives; the Police discriminate against members of the BNP; Climate Change Belivers have descriminated against the work of Scientists who don't agree with them. Do you see the Observer getting hot under the collar about any of this?

If I own a business I should be able to do business with whom so ever I choose. If I want to run a smoking pub, or a B&B for Christians, or a club for women muslims, or black policemen (oh, sorry, I can do the latter two already), I should be able too. The market will decided if I stay in business or not.

The state is a public servant; there to make sure law is fair and just (if I want to make a case), that public finaces are run effectively, and ensure the security of the relm and the interests of the British people. Labour have failed on every count, but think they can tell me who I can let in my house - even if they want to burgle me!!

The fact there are still people who believe in freedom and the subserviant role of the state in the Tory party, is the only reason I will still consider voting Conservative to get rid of the evil, left wing, Maxists, who think they have the right to bully us, and tell us what to do and think.

Anonymous said...

This is a small matter. The big one is the Labour government is aloowing NHS medical records to be processed in India ( Today's the Times on-line) Why the Libdems and labour supporters are not exercised about it. This is after the Labour ministers assured that this will not happen.

Old Holborn said...

oh look

A hotel run by and exclusively for

Gay men

No Women and straights

Joe Public said...

In my house, I can choose my Guests; at my business no customer may be discriminated against.

Lady Finchley said...

Operating a bed and breakfast is a business so they have to obey the law - tough titty. I think it decidedly creepy that any couple with children would operate a bed and breakfast anyway. I would have never exposed my son to a variety of strangers - call Social Services I say!

For all the Labour trolls - calm down dears - your hysteria borders on desperation. And for all the delicate souls who think they can't possibly vote Tory because of (an admittedly) stupid gaffe just think Nick Herbert, Alan Duncan and all the openly gay candidates too numerous to name - just the facts please!

And finally - bring back David Davis!

Anonymous said...

This does raise the argument about choice. The law why no discrimination about sexuality is because they like race have no choice in the matter. The same cannot be said about religion, where people do have a choice. So why the dilemma in the law? I always think of the hair dresser lady, who got convicted of indirect discrimination; because she would not employ the Muslim girl with the head scarf. The premise of the laws are at odds with each other.

Cuttlefish Comics said...

Many B&B owners and hotels exclude children.

I, as a parent, am excluded from plenty of establishments in this country.

Rod said...

At the end of the day I would like to here what politicians really think. No wonder people don't take an interest as the order is toe the party line, and so you get the remark"they are all the same". I long for the day that a politician can speak his mind without the usual point scoring. That silent majority may believe he is right in what he says and they may not but at least let our politicians give an opinion without the usual 'ism tag which follows.

Jason Myers said...

Well that's the great Tory week over - Grayling has messed up a lot recently Cameron should ditch him from David Davis ASAP! It looks bad and gives Labour something to bitch about.

What makes the rights of a gay person more important than those of a Muslim or Christian? If their belief is that being gay is wrong why should they surrender their morals in their own home?

Dick the Prick said...

OOOOOOOhhhh, I dunno. good last paragraph Iain.

I reckon it's like the smoking ban nonsense - why make one size fit all. The stats come back, when given a clear up and down that people are in favour of the smoking ban - cool. But chuck in a 'should clearly designated boozers have the right to choose?' and the majority of people aren't in favour.

My point would be - why try and make 1 size fit all? Why not just clearly state that they're either not in favour of gayers, smokers etc.

I've never been a fan of linking sexuality with racism - the Brits are a prurient sort and if it is a 'business' it may be because they were skint and the only available asset they had to sell in Ruin was their hospitality - but does that deny them choice?

Racism is bollox; sexuality can be taboo. But I fully agree with anyone's right to their opinion.

Anonymous said...

David Davis would still be the shadow home secretary had he not indulged in the futile exercise of the by-election, a non-event. If he gives up his assumption that he is a leadership material and work with colleagues as equal he will come back some time in the future. I doubt at this stage.

No Society said...

The problem is not Grayling its this idiotic law. I go to a pub they can refuse to serve me without providing reason. You can go to Blackpool where B&B refuse all male stag parties.Get this;you can even go to the south coast and find women only B&B i.e.discriminating against men and same sex male couples. KFC made a legal marketing choice over pork products. Where is the freedom of choice for the small business.This country is suffocating under the stranglehold of out of control PC brigade. . Madness.But very dangerous madness.

Dick the Prick said...

Reading through the comments (and OH's plan that we all eat broccoli is marvellous - Kevin Keagan on taking on the Toon Army insisted they all eat 1/2 pound a day and did rather well) it seems that we're naval gazing.

Does anyone give a toss?

A small anecdote could be when us lads went on a stag do to Hull - needless to say, they would have wanted gays that night.

Red Rag said...

Iain - Why is everyone pointing to his voting record as if he is some kind of gay rights leader? He only voted in 27% of gay equality votes and has one of the worst attendances to gay equality votes in the Shadow Cabinet. Those figure speak for themselves and no amount of spinning will deflect what his real views are.

Sean Blake said...

This man has always reminded me of a younger Norman Tebbit and sadly he hasn't disappointed - even before an election has been called.
I was very struck by your own diary in the Observer,Iain, when you were chronicling another week of rejection by yet another Conservative constituency.
If 20 Tory Associations have indeed chosen gay candidates, was this really done at grass roots level? It would be interesting to know.
On another note, no parliamentary seat should be assumed to be "safe" (as you blogged) for any party, otherwise what's the point in any of us voting? There are enough disaffected voters out there to guarantee 'None of the Above' more than 20 seats if they were allowed to stand!

Elby the Beserk said...

Where does it end? What happened to "The management reserves the right"? Do we have to force everyone to have the same "conscience".

I assume therefore, Iain, that you have no time for single sex schools.

Where do you draw the line? Is not forcing people to act against their conscience a breach of human rights? And fascistic/totalitarian? Have we not already brought in the thought police thanks to these bastards in New Labour?

Many teachers want BNP members banned from teaching = how does that differ?

Sticky ground, Iain - I understand your position but in this case disagree - to make people act against their conscience is the thin end of the wedge.

Hughenden said...

Hi Iain,

Whilst my opinion is open to being changed, at the moment I must say that I disagree with you. The premise of many arguements for gay rights is that equality equals acceptance. It is my view and experience that this is not the case and that there is a very sensitive and delicate balance to be struck between the two. Equality in the law is a good thing, but you have to weigh it with the other side of the scales: acceptance.
With sweeping equality laws such as this, the reaction within the communities they affect (in this, and many cases the Christian community) is often negative and serves as a rallying cry to 'fight back', as it were. In areas where we were once making ground, we suddenly see an increase in suspicion and deridement as a result. This could easily set us back 10 years if it continues.
I'm a fan of slow and steady progress where a series of smaller and less wide-ranging laws are made which are amended every now and again to allow society to catch up. At the moment we have, in typical Labour fashion, a sledgehammer to open a boiled egg.
I can see your perspective, if my partner and I were turned away from a B&B I would feel very small, embarrassed and annoyed. I would feel worse if I turned up at a B&B in the full knowledge that the couple operating it had to do so for fear of being shut down, and are having to supress their beliefs also however much I may disagree with them.
I write this from the perspective of a Conservative, a gay man and an atheist. I don't necessarily agree with what Christianity and many other religions say about homosexuality, but I'll stand by their right to air their views. If freedom of speech is curtailed in one community, how long before that spotlight shines back on us?

Patrick said...

i say; if there are gay only hotels why not Christian only b&bs.

i have sympathies for the Christians as they are probably no gays in cookham. Cookham is not london.

anyways, me thinks they should have been turned away on the basis that they were Lib Dems rather than gay.

Anonymous said...

Iain, I do get a bit fed up with the way you bang on about gay stuff. I don't actually care one way or the other, although I do substantially resent that homosexuals have hijacked the lovely, evocative word 'gay' so that I can no longer use it in its original definition.

So someone rents out rooms in their private house, and according to you they are not allowed to express a preference as to who should occupy those rooms.

And yet you bang on about 'freedom of speech/expression' in other areas.

I don't give a flying f*** about what you do in your bedroom But get used to it... some otherwise perfectly reasonable people have a problem with the relentless gay agenda being forced on them and prohibiting their freedom of speech.

You may disagree with Chis Grayling, that is your right. It is equally the right of others to agree with him.

As to "No one would accept a shopowner refusing to serve a particular type of person, would they?" What planet are you living on? It is perfectly acceptable for Muslim pharmisists to refuse to fill out contraceptive prescriptions, or Muslim checkout personnel in supermarkets to refuse to sell alcohol. So why should it be prohibited for guest house owners to express a preference as to their guests?

Unsworth said...


If I was running a B&B (mercifully I am not) I wouldn't refuse you and you partner on the basis of your relationship. However I certainly would be entirely justified in so doing on the basis of your lurid choice of necktie.

Duchamp? Neine danke.

Vladimir said...

Can I just say that it's disgusting that in these supposedly enlightened times, many B&Bs are still permitted to refuse rooms to dog owners? If you open your house to paying guests, then it's not just your house, and you should accept that some people will want to bring their pets. By law, absolutely anyone should have a right to a room, regardless of the owner's thoughts on the matter! I don't care if he's Muslim and therefore has religious objections to dogs. He must be forced to take them by law. Anything else would be doggophobia.

Iain Dale said...

I do not "bang on" about gay stuff. I was responding to a story which is on the front page of a newspaper. If I had done an ostrich, no doubt you would have been the first to criticise me for it.

You say: "You may disagree with Chis Grayling, that is your right. It is equally the right of others to agree with him."

Er, yes, that's why I allow comments on this blog. It's for people to disagree with me.

Elby the Beserk said...

Hypocrisy central

Charity's gay only job advert

The launch of Britain's first gay-only cruise next month has been cancelled.

Charity defends gay-only job advertisement

Elby the Beserk said...

Oh dear, Iain. A little research would have saved you SO much embarrassment

How restrictions on free association can backfire - Hotel owners in Britain who cater to gay travelers say they could be forced out of business by regulations which would make it unlawful to indicate a preference for some guests based on sexual orientation. “At the end of the day, this is our home and as a landlord we have the right to refuse entry to anyone without giving a reason,” says the owner of the Guyz hotel in Blackpool

Iain Dale said...

How very odd that you think this would cause me embarrassment. Gay B&Bs should of course also be required to admit straight guests.

Old Holborn said...

Should Jewish Delis be forced to sell bacon sandwiches?

your move

Unknown said...

red rag, since when have you been a champion of gay rights? Your blog is littered with foul language and sensationalist crap that any red top paper would be proud of.

I don't think anyone will be taking lessons in piety from a rabble rousing prat like you.

Brian said...

Shopowners aren't obliged to sell to all and sundry, they can refuse to serve a customer without giving a reason. It's something to do with individual freedom.

Elby the Beserk said...


You miss my point. We have you on the case of this poor couple, we have the Guardianista self-righteous mob howling for all their worth, and yet apparently gays are exempt from the laws that pertain to the B&B owners. Should you not be exercising your indignation against that? 10 minutes on Google produce seven or eight examples of gay/women only institutions (hotels/holidays/gyms/adverts). One assumes that it is legal for gays to discriminate in such cases, but not others? Or what?

Man in a Shed said...

I think common sense is needed here.

A B&B is more than a business, its a home.

A free market solution would be to make sure people advertise any religious restrictions they may have, to avoid embarrassment of refusal.

For those who have no religious constraints they will get more business, and everyone should be happy.

After all I see no problem with a Halal or Kosher B&B, and if you want a full English breakfast you'll book elsewhere !

The truth is that whilst their is a discrimination case to be answered, there is also a religious persecution case, which this is starting to amount to.

The English are reasonable and tolerant people and we don't like morals made into the states laws where its not necessary. In the case of B&B's these regulations aren't necessary and do amount to persecution on the basis of faith.

Nigel said...

This is clearly a matter which sharply divides opinion. It's also something about which Grayling says he has no intention of attempting to change the rules.

I would have loved seeing him explain his foolishness to Cameron.

Otherwise, agree with you entirely, Iain.

Twig said...

A classic example where politicians are out of touch and the public should be able to vote for policy.

Power to the people!

golden_balls said...

Grayling isn't even shadow cabinet material i'm afraid. First the Dannatt gaffe then the crime figures rucus now this.

If we have to endure a conservative government then i agree with other comments David Davis should be brought back.

It does bring back into focus the Labour slogan camera on camera off. What Tories say in public is different to whats said in private. another Labour poster perhaps is required !

If chris grayling and the comments on this post are the sign of a new liberal Tory Party you have much more work to do in convincing the gay community.

Anonymous said...

I do not "bang on" about gay stuff. I was responding to a story which is on the front page of a newspaper. If I had done an ostrich, no doubt you would have been the first to criticise me for it.

Sorry, Iain, but you got that very wrong. I pay almost no attention to whatever lies the newspapers are promulgating. I go by the content of your blog. I note you did not answer my question - if Muslim pharmacists and checkout staff are allowed to constrict their services to what they approve, why shouldn't guest houses?

Eddie 180 said...

There is an attempt to play this up as the Tories, and Grayling in particular, being anti Gay.

It is not, and there is no evidence that Grayling is anti Gay.

It is about tolerance.

You say that they should not open their doors as a business if they are not prepared to allow gays a room. Unfortunately the B&B owners are victims of new legislation, which has denied them the right to follow their religious beliefs in the way they could just 2 years ago.

Graylings comment is not to say that Gays should not be allowed to stay in a B&B, it is to say that the owners may have a genuine difficulty due to their faith. Grayling stated that he did not want the law changed, but he was showing a degree of understanding for those that have been caught by this new legislation, which effectively throws them out of an established business, or demands they forget their religious beliefs.

It is irrelevant how justified those religious beliefs are. It is widely accepted that some people do hold a religious view that homosexuality is wrong. The legislation takes away their right to have a belief.

It is a clash of two fundamental human rights.

To express sympathy for those caught out, who will have their human rights denied them, while stating that they will not change the law, is not to show prejudice, but understanding. It is an attempt to find some middle ground, but ground where the law, nonetheless, prevails.

It is illegal to take many drugs, but if somebody is an addict the state shows understanding, and may even prescribe drugs for them in a process of weaning them off the drugs.

That does not mean the State condones drug taking - but it does accept that some people, for whatever reason, are mentally forced to follow a particular path.

This is about tolerance, not homophobia.

OldSlaughter said...

"Discrimination is wrong in whatever form it takes. Period."

This is a bit of a silly sentence of easily refuted.

John Demetriou said...


"Er, yes, that's why I allow comments on this blog. It's for people to disagree with me"

What a shame that you seem unwilling or unable to properly engage in the counter-arguments to your piece.

Your silence in the face of reasoned criticism comes across as lofty and arrogant. And you wonder why people rip the crap out of you round the web.

Iain Dale said...

You'd be the same J Demetriou who only yesterday was begging for linky love in the Daley Dozen. I don't read your blog and after this I won't be changing my habits.

I've made four or five comments in this thread. I laid out my arguments in the original blogpost. I don't need to repeat them constantly in the comments.

I just saw your tweet calling me a twat. You've called me worse. Which is another reason I never bother to link to you. Because if that is the level of your debate, what's the point?

John Demetriou said...

Er, Dale, that wasn't a beg for linky love pal. That was me being curious as to how you could blog for so long, and leave out any reference to the two best bloggers in Britain.

And yes, I have remarked upon your twatness and for good reason. You make bold lofty pronouncements, pretend to be the standard-bearer for all things conservative and when you are challenged, you throw your toys out the pram and reach for the ad hominems. That is, if you actually bother to turn up to debate.

So, no engagement with the comments in this thread then? Bar a few cheeky one liners? Lovely stuff.

Oh, and pot kettle black time here methinks - you complain of my abusing you on Twitter, yet a year or so ago you turned up on Hitchens's site and referred to people including myself as loons.

When asked for clarification or apology you failed to show up, despite there being no justification for the initial attack.

Glass houses, stones etc. Grow up son.

Iain Dale said...

Two best bloggers in Britain?!! LOL. No one's heard of you.

Run along.

John Demetriou said...

That's right, Dale. That's why we shot straight to number 8 IN YOUR OWN TOTAL POLITICS BLOG CONTEST last year for Libertarian blogs. We feature in the top ten in your own competition and you say you've not heard of us.

We're on most libertarian and many conservative and other blogrolls, despite us not reciprocating links or asking for them, and you've not heard of us.

We've locked horns on here and on Hitchens, and you've not heard of us.

Or is it that you once threw a little tantrum long ago at us and decided to pretend we don't exist.

Sorry Dale, there's no escaping the truth - Boaty & D are the best Bloggers since bread came sliced in the oddly well-formed, floppy shapes of two staunchly handsome and vastly intelligent young men.

We are the Cream of the Crop, and don't y'forget it.

Roger Thornhill said...

@Eddie 2:22

I don't want "tolerance" from the State, I want it back in its box. One should not need nor seek "permission" in regards to freedom of association.

Fudges like this keep the "fenceposts" in place, and at any time we can be caught out and fall foul of the nebulous whims of the State or Mob.

Unknown said...

So what if a heterosexual couple had been refused on the grounds they were not married, just what right of redress would they have had?

The homosexuals in this case seemed to come across as rather militant types to me, put up to it by Mandelson and co.

Oh and I've lost count of soldiers who have had Muslim shopkeepers refuse to serve them (one recent case outside of Guildford), but I don't ever remember the BBC making such a fuss.

Oh and Muslim shop workers refusing to serve customers wanting alcohol and pork. Again the BBC never reported these stories. Why not?

AndyR said...

I have some sympathy for people who worry about what others do in private, and suggest that these people don't open B&Bs.

It's not a Christian B&B or a Muslim B&B. It's a B&B.

In my not too humble opinion...

Owners have every right to refuse entry to any customer who they believe will cause trouble or damage the property, or will break the law, or are not able or willing to pay. But not on grounds of gender, colour or sexuality.

In other words, you can refuse on the grounds of WHO they are (personality, behaviour, beliefs) but not on the grounds of WHAT they are. There are some things that people don't choose, and can't change, and they shouldn't be discriminated against because of it. But I have no problem discriminating against people on the basis of their attitude, religion, or anything else they choose to be. I think that's fair and reasonable.

I think the problem with too many people is an overwhelming obsession with the act of gay sex. I have some gay friends, and surprising as it might seem, they are not having constant anal sex... in fact, some of them might be having as much as the rest of us, which probably isn't all that much on average.

For anyone who still things that it's OK to discriminate against gay men on the grounds that you don't want two strangers putting their penis into each other's bottoms next to your nice clean bedsheets, you do know that straight people also have anal sex sometimes, right? How are you going to stop that?

Obnoxio The Clown said...

"That was me being curious as to how you could blog for so long, and leave out any reference to the two best bloggers in Britain."

Anna Raccoon and Thaddeus J. Wilson?

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think Chris is right. and if a Christian couple do not believe that homosexuality is right they should not have to give them a room to share. All rights should be respected.It is their home as well.

Johnny Norfolk said...

I know a B&B ( very posh) that the owner if he has a young couple staying tells teem he has children and if they are are noisy in love making he would ask them to leave as he has done before. should he be allowed to do this. ?

Paddy Briggs said...


Mr Grayling knew exactly what he was doing. He is too smart a politician and the election is too close for it to be anything other than a reminder to the electorate what deep down the Tories believe in. The homophobic vote should now be in the bag...

AndrewJK said...

This reminds me just before the last general election a Labour spy was in a private meeting held by a Tory MP talking about the party having to put up taxes if the Tories won the election which went against the party line. The recording was released to the press and caused a lot of embarrassment for Michael Howard who was forced to reiterate policy and sack the MP as a candidate. But the damage was done.

The Conservatives have to understand that Labour will have their spies everywhere with their taping devices hoping to catch some poor bugger out, and this time it's Chris Grayling, and as he's hoping to become home secretary it's much more damaging. I dont believe for a second Grayling's homophobic even though I don't support his views but as Iain says his opponents will use any seemingly innocent or innocuous remark and blow it totally out of proportion to pigeon-hole the entire party as gay-bashing, dyed-in-the-wool relics from the past.

I wonder who will be next to get caught out...

Anonymous said...

Ian, I agree with you one hundred percent. It's as bad as sticking up a notice, "No coloureds"

When I wrote about Ricky Martin coming out, I was surprised at the strength of feeling from the US as people wrote to me telling me how gay performers still have to put up with abuse and rude remarks.

Why can't a man kiss another man in a stage performance if Madonna can stick her tongue down Britney's throat? Straight people kiss on the screen, so that should mean everyone.

I don't understand what all the waffling and pussyfooting are about. Gay people have human rights, end of.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

You ARE always banging on about being a homosexual. Didn't you go crying to the Daily Mail after they said you were overtly "gay"?

Count the number of references that you have made to homosexuality on your blog. I know - your blog, your rules, but anyone who comes to your blog KNOWS you are a homosexual. Get over it - you've got your homosexuals rights, your "gay" pride march, your representation through Stonewall. There are homosexuals everywhere, who seem to have an agenda of promoting homosexuality.

Believe it or not, some people don't think that the actions of homosexuals are agreeable. They might not want to lynch them, but perhaps don't want them to sodomise each other in THEIR house.

Their house, their rules.

I'm saddened that you feel that you have to shout your sexuality to the world so often - you homosexuals have made your point, no need to shout about it any more.

Iain Dale said...

Feeling a bit repressed, are we?

Johnny Norfolk said...

I think you shoud be able to refuse anyone you wish to sleep under your roof weather they are paying or not.
I do not believe in discrimination at all in general but overiding that is an owners right to say who comes into his property.Some B&Bs will not take children or pets. same in some hotels.I think Chris is just bringing some common sense to this.We have all suffered discrimination at some time or another. It just needs sensitivity understanding for both sides and move on.Its not just homosexuals that have feelings you know.

Dick the Prick said...

Is J Demetriou mental?

Stanislav & Anna Racoon.

Unknown said...

Is it a wonder we have such bland useless politicians? Grayling has a point of view that right or wrong doesn't make him some 'gay hater' as the awful Mandelson and co are trying to make out.

I notice the BBC have refused to play the rest of Grayling's comments about hotels having to comply.

I just wish the BBC would be as hard on the leftie types that think breaking the law is OK, such as breaking into Kingsnorth power station.

If the BBC think the law should be obeyed then I look forward to the BBC attacking the left for their use of violence on climate change protests, anti capitalism protests and so on. I won't hold my breath.

OBC News said...

Afraid I have to take the unfashionable stance and disagree with you Iain. A B&B-owning couple have the right to turn away a non-married 'straight couple' just as they have the right to turn away a 'gay couple' or just a couple of people that they think are going to be trouble. Or rather, the fact that that right has been taken away from them is a step back, and in no way 'progressive'.

That said, your point about B&Bs being a business is a persuasive one, but I agree with the commenter who says that when it comes to business, the market is far better able to regulate than the law.

The Purpleline said...

FFS it is his personal viewpoint, are we going to destroy people's right to think for themselves, it is not a collective just yet.

He never advocated changing any laws, what he said was correct he can see and understand a persons view.

I wonder what Lib dems would say to a person booking in at a B&B with an under age girl or boy? would they prohibit entry or just accept it!

It is time for common sense to come back to the fore, Iain you raved about the Gene Hunt poster yesterday as being very positive for David, well Gene was not in anyway politically correct. Gays are not and should never be a protected species. I would much prefer a B&B to advertise in their literature that they are Christian, Muslim or Jewish and follow that religion faithfully. Then any Gay attempting to book must understand they will get told seperate bedrooms or not at all.

Finally, this is not the same as saying no blacks or no Irish or Dogs as we know Gays come in all shapes and colours from all countries on the planet, so ergo there can be no discrimination of them.

Unknown said...

It seems to be Loon Central in here this Easter.

What have Muslims got to do with the B&B incident? Why, of all people, bring Muslims into a B&B debate.

Why do people assume this couple would be sodomising each other?
Most long- term gay couples I know are more like Morecambe & Wise than restless lovers. The owners are basically objecting to two blokes snoring next to each other.

If you run a B&B business service, whether you're gay, christian or whoever, you should be open to all- however the individual services you supply should be up to you. A vegetarian owner has to accommodate a bacon-eating guest but doesn't have to give them bacon.

Turfing people off the premesis when they've pre- booked, arrived late in a strange place doesn't sound very Christian to me anyway.

Jesus was himself born in a born due to a guest house mix-up and doubtless would have taken them in.

Treacle said...

I am really angry with Grayling over this. This election is on a knife edge, and it is vital that the Conservatives win. 5% of the electorate are gay - and then along comes Grayling and says it's basically OK if B&B owners put up a sign outside saying "No gays", which is no different from having a sign saying "No blacks" or "No Irish". I have an uphill struggle persuading my friends that the Conservative party is no longer homophobic. Then Grayling decides he is going to open his mouth. What right does he have to damage the party's electoral chances in this way? Does he not realise that he is alienating exactly the sort of voters the party must attract in order to win?

Anonymous said...

The BBC and Guardian have axe to grind. They are playing this big. In the case of BBC, Tories have said that they will see license fee money used to help other private channels as well as the highspeed braodband. The Guardian will lose its advert money of the adverts are placed on-line. I would have preferred DC cautioning his team to be that much careful before blurting out anything. I am not impressed with Grayling on many things including his so infrequent appearances in the media and not talking much about immigration which scares Labour.

Adrian said...

Grayling was trying to be sympathetic. Although it's unlikely that any change in the law will be countenanced, it's clear that many people would like a measure of choice in who they allow into their home as paying guests. That's all.

Dick the Prick said...

Cheers Iain

Haven't had the stupidity to log in at work for nearly a year now but you & Guido are still the best in the business. Have been wandering over Lib Con for a bit - now that, Sir, is pure comedy.

This was a brilliant thread - is the outcome that he made a fair point and lob it back into committee? I dunno.

Hope you & yours have a lovely rest of Easter & hope blogdog is in fine fettle.

As always


Anonymous said...

When the first anti-discrimination laws were enacted, the very smallest businesses were exempt. I believe that is how it should be.

If someone has a very small number of rooms available in their own home, they should be able to select whom to rent their rooms to. They are clearly making a bit of extra cash in their spare time, rather than operating a full-time business.

If they have more than a certain number of rooms, then they should not be allowed to discriminate. If you are earning a full-time income from something, then you clearly have to treat people fairly.

If gay couples could not find anywhere to take them, that would be a problem. If they can simply go down the street and find a business which will serve them, then the market should be free to cater to everyone's tastes, including homophobes.

Anonymous said...

You can believe in the law but have sympathy with people who don't and are affected by it.

If I were a B&B owner I would not discriminate, but then - suppose a known paedophile turned up on my doorstep? Or Nick Griffin?

I certainly would not give house room to Gordon Brown or Peter Mandelson. But that is down to pure prejudice.

steveal said...

Dear Mr killemallletgodsortemout,

Hear! hear!

Jay Blanc said...

I'd understand your objection over "taring us all with the same brush" over this gaff... except for one minor detail.

This wasn't a lone voice from the back benches... It was a high ranking front bencher. Not only a front bencher, but someone who would be charged with Enforcing the anti-discrimination laws from his chair in the Home Office...

Iain, we all know that the only way that the conservatives can shrug this off is if he recants or resigns. Otherwise, his views become defacto Front Bench Policy.

You know that's the rule, you can't be on the Front Benches and disagree with your leader. So if he stays without recanting, then that's Cameron approving of him. And we may as well give up on the idea that Cameron isn't beholden to the right wing of the party.

David Anthony said...

Chris Grayling is a liability. Get rid.

Old Holborn said...

I Love Politics

Man slightly offends 5% of the population, possibly, even though no one has checked, so he has to go.

The majority (55 MILLION of us) however, are ignored. Each and every day. By just 645 people.

Keep it up.

John Moorcraft said...

How do those who believe Bed and Breakfasts have the right to select who they should and shouldn't allow to stay the evening suggest owners should notify potential customers who is and is not welcome?

Is this something the homosexual couple will be informed of when trying to book in at reception, are we going for a signs in the window approach or do we have another solution to this issue?

Martin S said...

I saw the couple concerned on the TV. All those sleeve tattoos? I wonder if it was only his homosexuality they were discriminating against?

Those kind of tattoos can worry some people.

Mr Rob said...

"No one would accept a shopowner refusing to serve a particular type of person, would they?"

The uncomfortable fact is that we have been conditioned to accept the removal of the shopkeeper's choice in some instances in order to promote different principles - you would bridle if a shopkeeper refused to serve a person because he was black, or Irish, or in this case gay.

Yet in other cases where you subconsciously agree with the shopkeeper's choice, eg he refuses to serve someone who is drunk, or who is verbally abusive, I suggest you would allow him his choice.

Thus you would say it is the shopkeeper's choice when it comes to the person's behaviour, but not when it come to the "type" of person.

Now, if you do not agree with the various libertarians who have posted here that it is always the shopkeepers choice (I happen to), perhaps you would consider this:

Whereas a black man is so termed because of the colour of his skin, ie his "type", what defines a gay man?

Would you allow that it is his behaviour, specifically his sexual behaviour? Or else how else would you tell him apart from straight men?

Eadwulf Cudel said...

Well I was going to vote Tory - but not now. And its not because of Grayling but that Mr Dale is lead onto the BBC to attack his own party on what should be a matter of conscience. I thought it was the Labour Party who opposed free will and fostered the ideal of collectivism, seems like the "New Conservatives" are another side of the "New Labour Coin".

"Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions"

Gazza's UsefulTips and Blog said...

tally agree, Iain, if someone opens a business they MUST adhere to all the laws of our society. It is simple and it is plain. This does not stop them from disliking some people's behaviour. I can see that the sight of 2 guys snogging over the cornflakes may offend so everyone has a duty to behave with decorum. Guests and owners alike. You are right; I am sorry to say Grayling is wrong on this.

Treacle said...

David Anthony is right. This is all over the news. Chris Grayling will have to be replaced. You can't have a Home Secretary who thinks that discrimination against gays is acceptable. It is not as if Grayling was much good anyway. If he stays, it will show that the people who say "Same old Tories" are correct.

Can David Davies be brought back from the wilderness? Or is he a homophobe as well?

Jay Blanc said...

Wow. So many people doing the modern day equivalent of saying "I'm no racialist, I just don't see why B&Bs can't put 'No Blacks' signs in the window."

It's kind of depressing and worrying. I sincerely hope it's just the magnification effect the internet seems to have on Kooks.

Danny Law said...

Gosh there are a lot of self righteous types on this thread.

Anyone not signed up to the equality and diversity mantra is clearly a knuckle dragging racist/sexist/homophobe etc. Yeah, right! Or is it that some of us like to think that the freedom to choose how we run our ‘petty’ lives trumps the equality and diversity Stalinism that exists at the moment.

Worst of all. For simply having the temerity to question the equality and diversity dogma – libertarians become racists/homophobes etc etc. – wonderful logic. That British establishment authoritarianism is never far below the surface. It used to be that religion was the touchstone of conformity. Now it’s the new religion of equality and diversity. Why should I have to defend myself against insults just because I disagree with the autocratic attitudes of the opinion forming classes? The fulfilment of the predictions of Orwell, Rand and Zamyatin in our present society is beyond irony and satire.

Finally, some of the holier than thou types on this thread might like to get off there soap boxes for a minute and look at some of the real inequities in this society. Vastly disparate levels of health and longevity across the country. Children leaving school barely able to read. Old people unable to heat their homes in winter, cancer suffers denied drugs to prolong their lives. These are the REAL inequities in life. Not because a B and B owner wasn’t cute enough to get round the diversity rules by simply saying they were full.

Vienna Woods said...

Old Holborn, you are such light relief in this storm - and quite correct, of course.

Some 20 years ago, my other half and I were refused B&B because there is a slight age difference between us (25 years) and he believed that it was a case of the boss banging his secretary. We still laugh about that today, yet why can't gays laugh and move on? They never do, of course and seem almost bound to shriek from the rooftops as soon as they are offended.

Jack Bauer said...

"Treacle... 5% of the electorate are gay - that's total baloney.

Bogus figure based on crap from a fifty year old "study" by a child-rapist enabler.

It's 1% at a stretch. If you'll pardon the double-entendre.

But no matter. You are so PC addled and close-minded that there is no point is trying to talk reason with your ilk.

Of course, what SHOULD happen, is a B&B owner should welcome homosexuals with, well not open arms of course, but equanimity. Then they can prosletyze non-stop to their homosexual paying guests.

Point out the error of their ways. Maybe convert them to a religion that will help them. Stuff like that.

Maybe that's better for all concerned. Free speech wins out.

Sungei Patani said...

Why all the fuss?

If a homosexual couple want to run a B&B exclusively for homosexuals why not?

If a heterosexual couple want to run a B&B for hetrosexuals why not?

Unknown said...

So the nutjob fringe here think that you're "PC addled" if you think breach of contract and dumping your customers in the street at night in a strange place is a problem.

These hoteliers weren't Christian by deed. What attempt did they make to help the people or find an alternative? No genuine Christian behaves like that. They were Pharisees. All judgement and no compassion. Big difference, taught to us by the Lord Himself actually.

If only some of the nutjobs here simply understood the Christian faith.

And Iain must be beside himself with concern that it's his comments that have deflected Mr John Horseshit Talk into changing his vote away from the Conservatives.....

...Posssibly the most childish attempt at emotional blackmail on the internet this weekend?

Fortunately in the Conservative party the decent people have always outnumbered the mad and the bigoted and we will continue to do so particularly as new homes are avaialable in the fringe parties.

Grayling is no homophobe by the way, I think he just made a slip which if it wasn't for the tape no-one would ever have known.

Jack Bauer said...

It's such a pity that a so-called conservative like Mr Dale doesn't grasp the great civilizing concepts of free speech and property rights.

It's all touchy feely garbage about "not offending" certain groups.

The fact is: a Bed & Breakfast in a person's actual home is DIFFERENT to a Hilton hotel. The addition fact that an outrageous "law" has been enacted by a corrupt statist big government is irrelevant.

Personally I would have no problem welcoming or serving a nicely behaved homosexual couple; the same as a nicely behaved hererosexual couple.

But SO WHAT? That is not really the point.

As many have pointed out there are plenty of "gay" establishments which openly discriminate against heterosexuals by a number of methods: both overt and covert.

For starters they call themselves "GAY... insert word here."

That is clearly an OVERT method to stop heterosexuals entering the premises. No doubt about it.

Again, so WHAT.

Mr. Dale has nothing to say about that because he in intellectually incoherent; and he is more than happy to play the games of the ruling lumpen Marxetariat which riddles the establishment like a cancer.

This is way beyond what we used to laughingly call "politically correct."

It is the true totalitarian thought control of the Marxist-Leninists which now controls the establishment.

The fact that Mr Dale can be wheeled out to give an ill-thought out doffing of his cap to the new masters, is what is truly sad.

The idea that this will HARM conservatives amongst most normal people who don't live and work in the BBC institutionally leftist bubble, is laughable.

But that's not the point. The point is to supposedly FORCE David Cameron to "sack" Grayling this week.

This will prove to be about Cameron's speherical fortitude. How about it Dave?

Jess The Dog said...

To be honest, this is a storm in a tea-cup. A tea-cup on a tray with a little kettle, shortbread biscuits and a selection of fruit teas...

Grayling was wrong, but I think he was coming from a different angle..attacking the increased regulation of small businesses, the marginalisation of the Church of England and the way that the 'Englishman's home is his castle' principle has been wholly undermined by this government.

B&Bs are a peculiarly British tradition and provide the best opportunity for such a perfect 'teacup storm'. Of course owners should not be able to turn away people because they don't like 'their sort' or disapprove. But in reality there needs to be compromise. There are niche markets with Buddhist and vegan B&Bs, gay B&Bs (including Tantric sex and whipping) and so on...if someone wished to set up a Christian B&B with fairly-applied rules and conditions, then that should be permissible in law. I doubt the market would support very many though, and the effort would discourage the casual bigot. One could even envisage Islamic B&Bs with prayer room and Halal food, also gay-only B&Bs. All part of life's rich tapestry....but with most establishments welcoming to line with the principles of a free market and majority demand.

Jack Bauer said...

"Stephen said...
So the nutjob fringe"

My my. Well, you are the expert on nutjob fringes!

Let me attempt to explain somethings to you Stephen.

Though I do realize your mind is so closed that you think people who disagree with you are "nutjobs." That doesn't sound very Christian or forgiving of you by the way; but I shall attempt the onerous task.

1. You need to do a minimum research into legal "contracts" before you pontificate from a position of total ignorance.

2. All of us are imperfect. Is this not one of the fundemental beliefs of Christianity? You clearly get the imperfect part, which probably explains your judgmental and, let's face it, rather hysterical, hyped up denunciation of the behaviour of others whom you judge to be below you in Christianity.

3. It is rather amusing to read a person complaining that "nutjobs" need to "understand" the Christian faith. That is so compassionatley put. Calling someone a "nutjob" or "Mr John Horseshit Talk" is clearly the Christian way of gaining sympathy from people with whom you disagree. Well done.

4. You selectively cite the Bible (I assume you refer to the Pharisees in the New Testament) but you ignore many other parts of the Bible, including the Old Testament. Do you really want a biblical discussion on homosexuality, all that rendering unto Ceasar, et al?

5. Dude... how about removing the BEAM from your eye first, and leave the pontificating to someone more qualified. Like the Pope.

Sean Blake said...

Let Chris Grayling and the Christian couple turn the other cheek - what a refreshing spectacle that would make.

John McDonald said...

It would be nice though to think I could choose a Christian Guest House in the knowledge my young children wouldn't be subjected to morals we don't agree with!

Perry de Havilland said...

A Tory who does not support free association or private property rights. What a surprise. Not.

Unknown said...

It's obvious to all but the thickest here that I don't want to "gain sympathy" from the nutjob fringe.

The clue is me calling it "nutjob fringe"- it's supposed to be sufficiently unambiguous that even the densest and nutjobbiest can understand where we all stand. Hello Jack.

I am actually *defending* my religion. I *know* for example what Jesus would make of your own hysterical opposition to Obama helping to protect and heal the weakest in society. Not very kind is it?

I might once have wanted you to nevertheless vote sensibly but as even that's gone, what's the point of pussyfooting around and pretending you're not a nutjob?

Or does diddums Jack Bonkers need some Political Correctness enforced to protect him from other people laughing at him?

Unknown said...

I find your statement - 'I do not think we must be sensitive to faith groups who promote discrimination and bigotry' utterly outrageous. The owners were NOT promoting any such thing, but holding to their deeply held (Christian) beliefs.

It seems to me that certain 'minority' groups are not satisfied merely to have acquired the same rights as 'the rest of us' in law but demand that everyone has to accept their lifestyles on an individual level too. It seems to me that the oppressed have become the oppressors. As far as this couple's poor career choice goes - presumably it follows that if you don't want to authorise abortions, then don't become a Doctor. If you don't want to handle alcohol, then don't work in a supermarket which sells it. And FYI - shopowners frequently refuse to admit - let alone serve some people merely because they are aged 10 - 17 and wearing a hoodie.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, what about the right to privacy? Why do the owners of the B&B think they have the right to poke their noses into peoples' sexuality anyway, the kinkos? According to the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, no-one should be refused goods or services on the grounds of sexuality.

Chris Grayling supported and signed this Act. Why did he do that if he doesn't agree? the B&B owners were therefore breaking the law, and also, I think people have a right to privacy.

Jimmy said...

Adrian Watson was vetoed a couple of weeks back as a candidate in S. Antrim for expressing precisely the same view. I'd be interested to hear the reasoning which holds that a view which is consistent with being shadow Home Sec is inconsistent with being a PPC.

The trouble is that for tories civil liberties are like a new song to which they haven't yet properly learned the words. Some of them I accept have tried very hard but you get the feeling that it just doesn't come naturally to them.

Dave said...

"No one would accept a shopowner refusing to serve a particular type of person, would they?"

I'm a retail veteran Iain and you're wrong. Shops are private property. I could and did ask undesirable people to leave my shop. They had no legal right to enter the premises.
I could also refuse to serve them. I did not have to sell them anything. I had the right to withdraw any item from sale at any time. I was never under any obligation to sell an item just because someone wished to buy it. If an item was incorrectly priced I could withdraw it from sale, but would often sell it at the lower price in order to foster goodwill. The choice was always mine.
You don't get it.

Iain Dale said...

Dave, I am also a retail veteran. You are right. Of course you are at liberty to refuse to sell something to someone, or refuse to serve someone. But if you do it because they are black or gay I can assure you you would be in deep trouble.

Little Black Sambo said...

"I am sorry to say Grayling is wrong on this."

How did you resist the temptation to add "end of"?

And as for "er" - it is short for "you are a silly fool and I don't need to explain why".

Anonymous said...

In a 2007 Radio 4 interview Prescott, commenting on his time as a ship’s steward stated: "The thing that struck me most was that when I joined it they didn’t sail out the North, they sailed out the South and there were a lot of gay guys on board and I was quite amazed at this."

He went on to say: “And I remember saying, spending three months on a voyage and there were ten gay guys in a room and I said, ‘I’m not staying in a room like this.’ Anyway I went in another room."

Prescott’s spokesperson at the time explained the comments away thus: "It is important to put the comments in context. He (Prescott) was talking about a time when he was incredibly young, about seventeen or eighteen and not quite going away for the first time but pretty much. He was getting used to a very different life thousands of miles from home in the days when society was less tolerant than it is today.”

Moriarty said...

Jimmy would make a good point about "civil liberties" were it not for the fact that his government would like to lock you up for 90 days for watching the wrong Bollywood film.

Steve Nimmons said...

It could be argued that Grayling’s comments are a matter for his own conscience, despite how one feels about them personally. Political thinking and the free exchange of ideas is at serious risk however from recording of private meetings (even be they at think tanks). It’s probably not surprising that citizens are embracing surveillance culture with gusto, but what does this say about our political system, a right to free speech and the ‘reverend rule book’ of Chatham House? Make your fortune now by selling electronic counter-measures to your public representatives! This gaff will not be the last…

Roger Thornhill said...

@IainDale 8:16

"But if you do it because they are black or gay I can assure you you would be in deep trouble."

"deep trouble" for sure, but that does not alter the fact of forced slavery. It does not mean that the trouble has to be, or has any right to be, from the State.

Anonymous said...

This is probably only a 1 or 2 seat gaffe, similar to Amess's. Much less than Winterton's 5-6 seat gaffe.

Anonymous said...

> If you open your house to paying
> guests, it is no longer just your
> house.

I think it is; it is your private property. You may choose to open it up to say whites only, or whites and blacks and not muslim, or to everyone. The house belongs to you. What you do with it is your own business.

The basic rule is; all contracts must be voluntary and well-informed.

So you cannot *force* someone else to board you in their motel/hotel/etc, no matter how much you want them to and no matter what reason they have for denying you.

To provide an example; say a man has a million pounds and runs a business. Why can't I force him to give me a job, no matter how unqualified I am? if he's running a business, then he's hiring people, so he must hire me!

James Burr said...

Phew, what a relief this whole thing has been for me! You see as a smoker I've known for some time that hotel rooms aren't covered by the smoking ban and clearly smoking is a legal activity. But how enlightening it is to discover that all those "No Smoking" signs in B & Bs are illegal as they have to admit anyone into their rooms! Now it's been confirmed they can't turn me away or stop me from doing what I want in my room I shall rest easy feeling that a bit of liberty has been restored to Britain!

What, you mean I can stay but I can't smoke? In much the same way these two guys were allowed to saty but weren't allowed to share a bed? Oh how disappointing. But if that's the case why is this even news?

I'm confused now. Which is it? Do they have to accept anyone and have no say in what happens in a rented room (as long as it's legal) or are they allowed to turn me away and tell me what to do in there?

Answers, please. And no hypocrisy thank you.

Mrs Rigby said...

Iain, three years ago the owners of Guyz hotel in Blackpool said his gay clientele ... "would feel uncomfortable mixing with straight customers."

Perhaps you could ask him, and the owners of the hotel in Bournemouth who were also quoted by the Times, what they think of this matter.

If they still think it would be unreasonable for them to be forced to take heterosexual guests then, surely, the opposite has to apply.