Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Do the gay maths...

Oh, how I love it when Melanie Phillips writes something so outrageous that my Twitter feed goes into a complete spin – or laughs it off. The beauty of social networking sites is that they can instantly make humour out of a situation.

Here's a good one:

Marcus is going out on Friday and Saturday night, but he also has a dinner date on Tuesday, and a lunch to attend on Thursday. How many spray tans will he need? #gaymaths”

Or, more more ironically:

Q: Steven and Martin live in Bristol, and decide to book three nights away for a romantic weekend break at a small town in Cornwall. If they arrive on the Thursday afternoon, what is the likelihood (in percentage terms) that they will be returning home on Thursday evening?

A: According to the hotel's website "there are no petty restrictions, you can come and go as you like”...


There are, justifiably, plenty of people writing about the wave of homophobia which has hit public life recently. It may be tempting, but I'm not going engage in a round of Melanie Phillips-bashing. She's barmy enough as it is, and probably best left in her own mad, sad little world. I'd love to think that we could “build a paywall around the Daily Mail website to keep the articles in", as David Schneider proposed, but it's never going to happen until Melanie meets her maker, or the Mail goes bankrupt.

Phillips, of course, is no stranger to this sort of controversy and nor is the Mail. But Phillips does join a hateful festival of vitriol which has been playing since Steven Preddy and Martin Hall won their court battle against the Chymorvah Hotel for its refusal to accommodate them in a double room.

Hot on the heels of Roger Helmer's ignorant outburst (and a later article on Conservative Home), we witnessed the brief appearance of a blogpost by Richard Drax MP in which he slurred the “questionable sexual standards” of gay and lesbian people in the context of Phillips' unhinged rant about gay maths.
And there's a vocal cabal of Tories who are doing everything they can to undermine Cameron's new fluffy approach to LGBT issues.

In the open comments section of his blog, I asked Richard Drax what it was exactly what it was about my sexual orientation that he found so questionable. Was it the fulfilled and happy social life I enjoy with like-minded friends, some of whom also happen to be gay? Or maybe the loving and committed relationship I share with my boyfriend? A matter of hours later and the blogpost was gone, replaced by a mumbled half-apology and a restating of his not-originally-coherent views on education in schools.

It looks like Drax may have been got at by the Tory high-command, although quite how Roger Helmer got away with it, I don't know. But a new surge of homophobic sentiment seems to be creeping in from the Tory right.

I'm no fan of conspiracies, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone, somewhere amongst the Tory backbenches is crying out 'please bring back Section 28'. And if they aren't, isn't it being inferred anyway?

One theory is that an increasing number of backbenchers are so incensed by the realities of the coalition that they're keen to make as much trouble for David Cameron as possible. That we know already in fact, judging by the recent rebellion over Europe. And, if you were under any further illusion that the new breed of Tory was somehow more progressively aligned, take Dominic Raab MP's tirade in the London Evening Standard today.

I hope, (and I do believe) that Cameron personally will not stand for anti-gay sentiment, but his inconsistent approach in dealing with ignorance, let alone outright homophobia in his party makes a mockery of the new, fluffy-bunny-Toryism. And Cameron is too damaged by his own past failures to let his party return to its default setting of prejudice.

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