Apr 2010

Courting the homophobic vote

Meanwhile, as Gordon Brown represented his nation by prostrating himself before the throne of Her Majesty, David Cameron was on the other side of the Thames prostrating himself before the altar of public opinion. He rolled up his sleeves and ran his fingers through immaculately styled hair to symbolise his dynamism and vigour. Unencumbered by other members of his party (almost none of whom can be trusted in front of a microphone) he desperately sought to portray himself in a presidential manner.

He echoed John F. Kennedy’s “ask not what your country can do for you” speech (though his phrasing was far clumsier and ended up being about as inspiring as a wet Sunday afternoon in Basingstoke). His promise to champion “the Great Ignored” called to mind Nixon’s appeal to the Silent Majority. In fairness to Cameron he did have almost as much charisma as Nixon. His body language and “look at how at ease I am” mannerisms screamed Bill Clinton. Though in a supremely irritating, nails-across-a-blackboard kind of way. I’d only have been mildly surprised if he’d pulled out a saxophone and donned a pair of shades.

Most of all though, he was aiming for that Barack Obama vibe. He never actually said “Yes We Can!” but you could see how much he wanted to. It was all about Change. Vote for Cameron and he’d usher in an era of change. It’s a time for change. Indeed, it’s the Year Of Change. So everyone in Britain should Vote For Change. Change and Hope. Oh, and Optimism. Change, Hope and Optimism. That’s what President Cameron would represent.

Unfortunately though, a vote for President Cameron would actually result in the election of Prime Minister Cameron. And if you thought the shower of fools and villains flanking Gordon Brown on Downing Street were depressing, just wait ’til you see who Cameron will be taking into power with him. Tawdry backward-looking reactionaries who actually mean it when they sing God Save The Queen. Bankers, puppy-killers, nuclear weapons enthusiasts… and that’s just Oliver Letwin.

Still, at least the moats will be clean.

And as Daveybloke Cameron was filmed in front of a carefully selected crowd of young, ethnically diverse supporters on the South Bank he spoke passionately about the sort of people he would represent. The sort of people his government would really listen to. “The Great Ignored” he called them. They were black and white, he said. They were rich and poor, he said (though I found it difficult to swallow the idea that “the rich” are really part of The Great Ignored). They were hard-working taxpayers, he said.

In the background you could see a short scuffle as Conservative security guards wrestled a megaphone from shadow home secretary Chris Grayling who was shouting “not the queers though, Dave, not the fucking queers!”

Indeed, if anything illustrates just how shallow this tory ‘change’ really is, it’s the ugly homophobia that seeps from under the pretty plastic facade that Saatchi & Saatchi are fashioning around the party. The past couple of weeks have seen Cameron spectacularly implode during an interview with Gay Times. An interview in which he first claimed that homosexual equality was “a fundamental human right” and then suggested that he was unwilling to put pressure on other tories to support it. The next leader of Britain, it seems, is pretty damn equivocal on the subject of fundamental human rights.

Gay Rights campaigners predictably criticised Cameron for his less than forthright support of their fundamental human rights. At the same time, Conservative elder statesman Lord Norman Tebbit was also attacking Cameron for this wishy-washy attitude to gay rights. Except he was under the impression that Cameron’s lip-service to equality was actually going too far. All a bit limp-wristed and pink for Grand-Vizier Tebbit’s liking, it seems. Daveybloke shouldn’t be concerning himself with such “trivialities” as “political asylum for African homosexuals” says Vice-Emperor Tebbit. Protecting fundamental human rights shouldn’t be a high priority for the British Conservative Party. At least, not according to the British Conservative Party.

Then, to top it all off, out comes Chris Grayling — shadow Home Secretary let’s not forget — with his suggestion that people who run Bed & Breakfasts should have the right to refuse entry to guests on the grounds of their sexuality.

That the people of Britain look likely to elect these bigots as their next government is very sad indeed.

Posted in: Opinion