As Alone in the Dark was on hiatus for a couple of months I thought I’d trawl back through some of columns and articles written in The Mail during that time to see if there was anything worthy of note. Well, there’s quite a bit and as we’re still fighting our way through the silly season, it seems as good a time as any to bring one of these up and have a chat about it. Who better then to start with than Mr. Peter Hitchens who, back at the beginning of July brought his this little joyful piece regarding his views on the Conservative Party and its new relationship with the LGBTQ community.
Peter begins by listing all the things he thinks the Conservative Party should apologise for. Let’s have a look shall we?
- Privatising the railways
- Joining the Common Market
- Loading the police with paperwork
- Devastating the Armed Forces with cuts
- Introducing the GCSE
- Flattening half of British industry by accident in the early Eighties
- Failing to oppose the Iraq War
- Sacking the brave miners of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire who defied Arthur Scargill’s bullying mobs
- I could go on….
So could I Peter and I shall… I’d actually agree that we could use apologies for some of these things from the Tories. The privatisation of the railways has been a disaster although I’d be intrigued to see how Peter would respond to a government take over, especially if it upped his tax rate. The Conservatives have never been anti-war so why Iraq should have been any different is beyond me. The treatment of the miners from the removal of their jobs to the brutal attacks by police is horrific especially as the government failed to create any viable alternative employment.
However, for some reason, Peter has missed a few other things off this list for which personally, I’d like to hear the word sorry uttered by someone on the blue benches.
- Being drawn into a war in the Falklands over land we neither needed nor used in any particular way.
- The stigmatisation of single mothers, working class persons, teachers and immigrants throughout the 1980s.
- The removal of funding from classrooms across the country.
- The cutting of funding for the NHS.
- The constant harping on about moral and family values whilst many Tory MPs got involved in sex, money and drug scandals.
- Allowing public hysteria to stamp on freedom of speech in the video nasty debacle.
Oh… and Section 28. Surely that piece of hateful prejudicial legislation is something that definitely deserves an apology isn’t it Peter?
“David Cameron journeyed specially to a ‘Gay Pride’ event to kowtow to the sexual revolution and simper: ‘We got it wrong. It was an emotional issue. I hope you can forgive us.’
Forgive them for what? Section 28 resulted from a fuss over the appearance of books aimed at children, intended to spread the view that single-sex couples could bring up children without any disadvantage to those children.
I still remember the titles: ‘Jenny Lives With Eric And Martin’ and ‘Heather Has Two Mommies’.”
A fuss. Well, that is one word for how it came about. The original catalyst came from a well know newspaper (guess which) that published an article in 1983 regarding the two books Peter so helpfully named. The paper claimed that these books were promoting homosexuality as the ‘new’ lifestyle and were part of a campaign for the abolition of the family. Within a matter of years, thanks to the hard work and dedication of MP, Jill Knight plus other prominent Conservative party members, Section 28 was introduced in parliament and after a few attempts was included as an amendment for the 1988 Local Government Bill and became law on 24th May 1988.
Using this clause it was now technically possible to make sure councils, teachers and public figures could not attempt to promote homosexuality or (as they were referred to) ‘alternative sexual lifestyles’. At one point the National Union or Teachers tried to claim that it only impacted on councils and not on the schools themselves (in what I assume was a bid to remove themselves from the murky prejudicial waters the law had gotten them into) but this was quickly overruled, once again by Jill Knight who said.
“This has got to be a mistake. The major point of it was to protect children in schools from having homosexuality thrust upon them.”
So the UK which had openly gay and lesbian figures on TV and several openly gay men in the higher echelons of the political arena was suddenly in a position of wondering what it could and couldn’t say about sexuality to children.
Peter however, didn’t and still doesn’t see this as much of a problem.
“Less than 25 years ago, only revolutionaries such as Ken Livingstone endorsed this sort of thing.”
I.E. Talking to children about sexuality.
“Mainstream politicians and newspapers alike were as doubtful about it as most people still are in their private thoughts.
Nowadays, opinion formers and MPs have been scared into conformity, and the unhappy majority have learned to keep quiet about their concerns, for fear of the Thought Police.”
Oh those pesky Thought Police, they do cause Peter problems don’t they getting into his brain and mooching through his private thoughts about what we should really do with immigrants and the political party he’d really like to see running the country. Except I would like to believe that people aren’t supportive and open about LGBTQ issues now because they have been forced to be. I’d like to believe it’s because they’ve realised it’s something that affects millions upon millions of peoples lives, it’s something that is part of people from the day they are born and to try and oppress others because of their sexuality is just the same as any other form of bigotry and hatred even when wrapped up in a nice numbered clause.
Who a person does and doesn’t sleep with providing it is consensual has nothing to do with the government or restricting the rights of that person. I wonder how blasé Peter would be regarding Section 28 had he had a gay or lesbian child during the 80s or 90s in the UK.
“This supposedly wicked law was little more than an expression of opinion by Parliament.”
Well this is an interesting point because it seems whenever Parliament now pass laws based on their ‘opinion’… banning fox hunting, banning smoking indoors, allowing a dying man to return to his country before his sentence, Peter get’s very upset about it. Why then should this opinion be allowed to impact on peoples lives and the others not? Personally, I don’t think parliament should have opinions per se. It’s there to reflect and respect the will of the people and I would hope by 2009, the will of the people would not be to ignore sexuality and LGBTQ issues and prevent children from learning about them to help create a culture of understanding and respect. Anyway, back to Peter…
“Nobody was ever prosecuted under its provisions. Try as they may, the homosexual liberation movement have never produced evidence of any martyrdoms resulting from it.
What they still hate about it is that it was the last stand of those in British politics who were not cowed into silence or acquiescence by the sexual revolution.”
Was there a sexual revolution? History suggests that there have always been a myriad of sexualities in cultures for thousands of years and it’s just depended on how liberal and open that society is as to which of them can be expressed. This so-called ‘sexual revolution’ didn’t make more gay men and lesbian women, it just allowed them to come forward and express themselves for who they were. People don’t hate section 28 because it was about non-conformity, they hate it because it was about prejudice, fear and bigotry.
Oh and whilst Peter is correct in saying no-one was ever prosecuted. There were a few trials brought to court under the legislation and, had the law not eventually been repealed, it’s possible someone could have been prosecuted because of it. Here’s my favorite line of the article.
“That way, there is no chance that the stable married family, or the society it supported, can ever come back.”
Yes, that’s right, that’s what all the gays want isn’t it Peter. When they’re not on telly and in movies, Ian McKellan and Stephen Fry and Graham Norton and Sue Perkins and Sandi Toksvig are all sat in a room working out how best to destroy the ‘traditional’ nuclear family. Believe me Peter, when us queer folk get together (I myself am bisexual) we talk of nothing else than making sure all Fathers are shot as soon as they’ve procreated and all children are brought up as screaming queens. It’s ever so much fun!
Sorry, where were we? What Peter and many of his colleagues at the Mail don’t seem to understand at all is that Stonewall and it’s members are not out to take something away from straight people. This is a tired argument and the same that is brought up against gay marriage:
“But it’s destroying the concept of marriage…”, people say. Well, no it isn’t. It’s just allowing MORE people to get married. Surely that is actually building up the concept of marriage? If more people are doing it? It’s actually more popular? Is this a bad thing? Am I talking to myself again?
Section 28 was there to appease the homophobia and bigotry that was institutional in many MPs in the Conservative Party (and, let’s be honest other political parties too). Through apologising, David Cameron is putting that piece of the party’s past behind them and moving forward without the prejudicial undercurrent. Whether this is a genuine move or one to get votes is another matter but I think the sentiment is important. Peter seems so terrified of this ‘other’ world that appears to be encroaching on the ‘nice’, ‘safe’ one he’s built for himself.
He is sort of right though, the days of a society which believed that “one man-one woman” married families could be the only path to stability is long behind us and I sincerely hope it never, ever comes back. We are past it and Peter needs to get past it too.