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Exclusive: Chris Bryant criticises Tories over support for anti-gay Catholic adoption agencies

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  1. Well done, Chris Bryant, for highlighting the fact that David Cameron’s Tories are STILL largely the same as the Tories of Margaret Thatcher’s day, i.e. they are NOT as “caring and sharing” about we gays and lesbians as power-hungry Cameron would like us to believe.

  2. Ian Laughlin 1 May 2009, 5:42pm

    I don’t doubt that David Cameron is sincere in his personal lack of bigotry against minorities: he is after all, a younger Conservative with a reasonable amount of intelligence, and who quite rightly looks down on the Daily Mail reading stupids of Middle England with their endless dyspeptic bile. However, the problem for Cameron is that it is from this class of people that many of his candidates are drawn.

  3. The Conservatives are the party of free-marketeers and social reactionaries; and, guess what? They aren’t always the same people.

  4. Well done Chris. Please Please talk to your colleagues about the proposal to allow faith schools to denigrate their gay and lesbian pupils and their LGBT friends and families in the context of teaching about sex and relationships or to undermine the potential benefits of using prohylactics and contraception. Also please ensure that the BBC and channel 4 is not exempt from duties under the single equalities legislation.

  5. NO faith should have anything to do with the running of anything for the public and by no means anything to do with Children.

    Really really shocking.

  6. Sister Mary Clarence 1 May 2009, 6:36pm

    Did Chris have much to say about the economic collapse brought upon us by New Labour’s failure to regulate the financial sector at all. Falling education standards? The welfare dependency culture? The rise in violent crime? Spiralling unemployment? The seemingly endless revelations of dishonesty and corruption within his party. The nuclear agenda? Their economic recovery programme that is becoming the laughing stock of the world?

    Heavens to Betsy – he didn’t need to did he, because we’re gay so none of those things matter to us at all – how very, very silly of me

  7. Sister Mary is an arrant, egregious fool. The concern is about gay rights and the likelihood of right-wing Tories attempting to erode them.

  8. Sister Mary Clarence 1 May 2009, 7:37pm

    First and foremost Nevile, those right that are going to be eroded were forced upon us by Europe and have got sweet F A to do with any real commitment by Labour to equality whatsoever.

    Secondly, with the amount of power we have abdicated to Europe, it would be all but impossible for any government to back out of the European treaties we have signed granting us all manner of equality legislation we are currently enjoying. Had you even the slightest understanding of what you were talking about, of course you’d know that though.

    Thirdly, if you can be bothered to do a little bit of research before slagging people off, you might actually find out that there are mountains of research that show that equality, tolerance and acceptance of minority and vulnerable groups is going to go straight down the toilet as the economy collapses.

    If you’re stupid enough to unquestioningly fall for all the sh*t that is coming out of the Labour party at the moment you need you head examining.

    There’s some old twat at Speakers Corner ranting on about the end of the world being nigh every week – I bet you fall for that hook line and sinker every time mate, every time ….

    Chris Bryant’s comments are nothing but a tawdry attempt to pick up a votes from a few political dullards in the gay community. He knows the legislation can’t realistically be reversed, and he also knows that he can put that fear of God into many people in the gay community who are too lazy and indifferent to actually find out the first thing about politics.

    Please feel free to come back when you actually know what you’re talking about.

  9. John (Derbyshire 1 May 2009, 7:48pm

    The majority of Tory candidates at the next election will be well to do,public school educated,white,straigt middle-aged men. Iain Douglas Smith,William Hague & Edward Leigh have PUBLICLY expressed their contempt for gay people.Personally I feel very sorry for Alan Duncan,Nick Herbert and Margot James – they should know they are only being “tolerated” by the PCP- and will be unceremoniously DUMPED after the next election. A gay person voting conservative is like a turkey voting for christmas! You ahve been warned!!

  10. Poor Sister Mary is a very vulgar person and clearly not very bright! Unfortunately he/she is unable to see just how many homophobes and religiously foolish people the conservative party contains.

  11. Sister Mary Clarence 1 May 2009, 9:57pm

    Unfortunately Neville having spend too many years working for the Labour party and having seen it corrupt, I’m all too aware of how it really works and what it stands for now – clearly you are not up to date on either.

    Have to commend you for your loyalty though, a few cheap lies about all the good things they’ve given you, and you’re a friend for life. Too stupid to realise they just re-wrapped a present from someone else and passed it on to you.

    Fortunately you’re in an every dwindling minority as most people have woken up to what New Labour really is. Have you vote its going to make sod all different.

  12. @Sister Mary

    Where to start?

    a) You do not address the issue. Instead you seek to deflect from it. An obvious and not very clever tactic.

    b) The fact is that there is an overwhelming proportion of Conservative candidates who consider the readers of this site to be, at best, a little less than fully human and, at worst, a danger to children.

    C) You mention Europe but seem to be both for it and against it at the same time and further contradict yourself by forgetting that it is the Consevatives who are not only the party most likely to try and take us out of the EU but also the party that rails most voiciferously against European “interference” and the Human Rights Act.

    d) In the meantime, David Cameron has sought to appease the anti-European right-wing of his party by withdrawing from the (pro-Europe) main centre right European Peoples’ Party so, following the European elections, it looks like the Conservative MEPs will either sit at the back of the chamber on their own in glorious isolation or, in order to get funding, in a new party formed from the religious nutters, facists and homophobes.

    e) You contradict yourself again in saying that equality goes down the toilet in times of strife but then go on to say that legislation cannot be realistically reversed. It has to be one or the other. What happened to Weimar Germany suggests an answer. Basically, rights given can all too easily be taken away again and 71% of Conservative candidates would seem happy to oblige if only they can have the freedom to do so by getting us out of the EU you seem to despise (whilst enjoying and wanting to keep the freedoms the EU has “forced” on us).

    f) I find it difficult to take your comments seriously any more as, apart from your comments today, you actually stated only the other week that one reason Conservatives voted so often against equality legislation was in order to make it better and the rest of us just didn’t understand this. For the record, I have twenty years in Whitehall behind me.

    g) You also stated at that time that the Conservatives had changed and were liberal and accepting at the grass roots. Well, OK the remaining 29% who answered this survey “yes” or “don’t know” is a start.

    h) Finally, from all the stupid, lazy, indifferent political dullards from the gay community who do not know what they are talking about, please accept our apologies for having the temerity to disagree with your obviously superior opinions now and in the future.

  13. Well, I couldn’t have put it better, Ivan. Well said!

  14. stephen kay 2 May 2009, 12:46am

    @Sister Mary Clarence
    me thinks you should stay out of defending our civil rights because you are not doing a good job.With allies like you who needs homophobes?

  15. Jean-Paul 2 May 2009, 4:54am

    Sister Mary Clarence:

    I especially like the last line of your post 6.

    Honestly, I have never had the pleasure of relating to Neville, but I also have never been impressed with the outrageous, public insults he has liberally showered on my friend, Brian Burton.

    Brian is a senior citizen, a WWII vet, a cancer survivor, an active member of his faith committee, and he has been in a successful same-sex relationship for 30 years. He is also a friendly and upbeat person. His ENORMOUS flaw is that he can’t be bothered to check his spelling sometimes, and he is a christian.

    I’m no expert, but in my mind Neville is projecting on everyone and anyone everything that he is himself. Don’t miss him the next time you have a chance to take a swing at him. Needs to learn some manners, that’s all.

    And carry on…you’re doing just great.

  16. Sister Mary Clarence, no, Chris Bryant doesn’t need to apologise for the economic state we are in and you need to remember that it was Margaret Thatcher and her Tories who enforced the nation’s march down “Wall Street”. There is no such thing as society, stated Margaret Thatcher in an echo of Gordon Gecko’s praise and commendation of greed, greed, there is nothing so good as greed!

  17. Jean-Paul, I am most impressed by your comments on Brian Burton, but as someone who is an atheist and who has been in a relationship for forty four years, I do not have time for religious people and their namby pamby pandering to theistic nonsense.
    As far as the redoubtable Sister Mary is concerned, he/she does not seem to realise that someone who attacks conservative homophobes is not necessarily a supporter of the Labour Party.

  18. Sister Mary Clarence (Parish of St Egregious) 2 May 2009, 2:18pm

    Thank you Jean Paul J

    Geoff, its about a little thing call responsibility. Who accepts it and when.

    We have untold religious nutters on here, hacking on about the word of God, divine will, and assorted shite, abdicating responsibility for their own lives by claiming that what we are, where we are, and how we are is the result of the interventions of a greater being.

    I think most people on here hold little sway with that argument. My personal view is that if people need a spiritual crutch to support them through life’s journey there fair enough, but if they decide to try to beat me with that crutch, then God help them.

    The Labour party came to power in 1979, they have held power for almost two decades. I don’t remember Tony Blair’s speech in the South Bank of the Thames on election morning to the background of ‘Things can only get better’, saying “We’ll do our best, but of course people need to remember that the Tories have really messed things up and we’re not going to be able to sort everything out”.

    How short are the memories of the militant Labour fanatics on here. Cast your minds back to the late 70s in you can:

    Prices doubled between February 1974 and December 1978

    Jobs-1,000 a day went in Labour’s first three years.

    Unemployment was 500,000 in 1974. It reached 1.6 million in 1976.

    By 1978 fewer council houses were being built than in any year since the
    Second World War.

    25,000 hospital beds went in the first two years of the Labour government

    A family of four on average earnings was worse off in 1979 than in 1974.

    25% inflation

    The country strangled by strikes, power, transport, manufacturing, everything – the final straw that lead to Labour’s annihilation in 1979 election.

    Funny, I don’t recall Margaret Thatcher getting up to make her victory speech either saying, “Blimey, we’ll do our best, but of course people need to remember that Labour have really messed things up and we’re not going to be able to sort everything out”.

    Any legacy from the last Tory government are policies that Labour chose to continue – privatisation, right to buy and PFI to name but a few. Unfortunately they had little or no idea about how these should be managed, but carried of regardless like deranged lunatics.

    Nearly 20 years they’ve had to sort things out and what have they done, they’ve bankrupted the entire country. All you can say is, “its not their fault”. That, my friend is, pathetic. It is through their stewardship and theirs alone that we are where we are now. No other Western power is faced with the situation we are in, because they have taken us to the precipice and beyond. We are falling uncontrollably into economic ruin and yet this doesn’t even factor on the radar of some members of the gay community who have been bought off with a few thinly veiled lies about the introduction of equalities legislation.

    What legacy do you think we are leaving for generations to come, or don’t you care? Little Shirley Twat here, our very own rent-a-gay MP isn’t talking about any of that though is he? Talk about something nice, something safe and divert attention from the real crisis. Why are some gay people so stupid that they think these things won’t affect them? I can never understand that mentality.

  19. Jean-Paul 2 May 2009, 2:40pm

    neville:

    With all due respect, I believe I know as much about atheism as you do, (I would shut up for no-one when I was an atheist from the age of 18 to the 16th of November, 1970, when I was 26).

    However, when I had a problem with religious teachings (which was a daily preoccupation with me at the time), I distinctly remember preparing my arguements and approaching the authorities of the religion in question; not intimidating and insulting the fine people who benefit from the human need and desire to participate in a wholesome group which the laity of most religions are. Although I do believe that few of them even care to be well informed about the corruption of the organization itself.

    Furthermore, I know enough about atheism to know that hardly any two atheists agree on anything, which is no different from any religious institution, simply because people are people wherever we are and whenever we spend our four score years of life on this little blue planet which everyone, including christians and atheists, are in the process of ruining for future generations. Did you know, for example, that white plastic shopping bags clinging to the branches of thousands of trees in Ireland has been declared the national flower of the Emerald Isle?

    Personally, I have had more than my fair share of the nattering nabobs of negativity who are basically christianphobes and/or religionphobes. However, I do respect their proclivity to develop whatever worldview they want, without saying publicly that they belong in a psychiatric ward which, you must admit in all honesty, is what you said about Brian.

    Let me congratulate you most sincerely on your successful relationship of 44 years. Most impressive and an excellent example for the younger generations. You deserve a place of honor among our elders.

    As far as the exemplary Sister Mary Clarence is concerned, go ahead and take your turn at the bat. You have a stock of good arguements, and there’s nothing I like more then an intelligent debate. It is a learning experience for me, even when people occassionally get out of hand. No harm done.

    However I believe it is a cheap trip, and we all tend to do it, to degrade one another as thinking human beings in the heat of the moment. Maturity and manners facilitate following the debate and understanding the points of view.

    The Canadian Parliament is no better, and I often have and will continue to approach my MP to tell him what I think of the lack of common civility seen on public television by millions of Canadians who just roll their eyes and switch the channel to a football game, which accounts for the excessive amount of apathy which characterizes so many Canadians when it comes to politics.

    There’s more where that comes from, but I’m afraid my pedantry is showing and it is time to move to another thread.

    Warm regards.

  20. @Sister Mary

    As a political expert of considerable standing who critisizes others for their lack of research, I’m sure you have no need for me to point out that it was the Conservatives who came to power in 1979 and remained there for nearly two decades before Labour were elected twelve years ago in 1997.

    Nevertheless, you appear confused on these facts and, like I said earlier, it is difficult to take you seriously. Perhaps you would benefit from attending one of my lectures.

    I also note that you once again avoid the issue under discussion in the article that started this thread and fail to engage in respect any of the points I made. Instead you rant randomly without coherence and hurl abuse at others.

    I have no paarticular brief for Chris Bryant (or any Labour MP) but in respect of your resorting to childish “Shirley Twat” name calling, I suggest before doing this again you consider what superior contribution you have ever made to the democratic process and whether you have ever been brave enough to face the electorate.

    As regards your continuing effort to win us over by insulting our deficient “mentality” perhaps the following is on the minds of some readers:

    a) what is the use of all the jobs in the world if employers can refuse to employ you, sack you or abuse you because you are LGBT?

    b) what is the point of all the schools in the world if they are run according to Section 28?

    c) what is the use of all the council houses in the world if you can be refused a tenancy, evicted or harrassed by the neighbours for being LGBT?

    I could go on but you get the point. And to forget this point is to risk us all having to return to the closet with all the pain and damage this causes.

    Perhaps this is what the people who you think of as stupid think about when considering who they vote for (in addition to “does Candidate A or Candidate B think I’m a danger to children?”).

    Furthermore, as this site’s outstanding political sage you will also realise that it is societies that promote social equality that, ultimately, also prosper economically. It’s to do with the dynamism created when engaging the full range of creativity in the population alongside the diverse skills, challenges to orthodoxy and new ideas that emerge from the widest possible spread of fully respected members of that society.

    Put another way, everyone, including able bodied straight white men, benefit from the full inclusion of women, non-whites, the disabled and LGBT people in society. The rights of each minority work to the benefit everyone.

    Politicians who cannot understand this will not serve a society well. Sadly, that would still appear to apply to 71% of Conservative candidates.

  21. Sister Mary Clarence 3 May 2009, 2:33am

    Thanks for that Ivan, speaking as non-white, disabled and gay, I’m grateful for everything that Europe has given me. I am indebted the vision Winston Churchill for his vision of a United States of Europe, and those with the vision and foresight to draft the European Convention of Human Rights, and a number of other pan Europe treaties and agreements that have bought about a more equal world for many of us, not least the more recent Treaty of Amsterdam.

    I will however not offer one grain of thanks to those who have stolen the glory of others and palmed it off as their own – namely that bunch of chancers, fraudsters and embezzlers that are running the country at the moment.

    I don’t see any acknowledgement in your posting for the influence that Europe has had over the direction of equality legislation in Britain

    Apologies for the typo in my previous rant – 97 – 79, however I you don’t seem to have offered any comment on Labour’s pre-Thatcher years debacle. It didn’t seem to be a veritable Shangri-La of equality from my recollection, so maybe if you don’t feel that all the credit should go to Europe, you could talk us through their apparent Epiphany?

    Apologies also if you find it offensive if I use the term ‘Shirley Twat’, perhaps you are more comfortable with Chris’ tabloid nickname, ‘Captain Underpants’ instead? What a shining role model he is for the gay community strewn all over the press in a pair of week old unddies hawking his arse on Gaydar. The only other time his name has been in the papers is in connection with Harriet Harman’s dodgy donations scandal hit election to deputy leader. I consider neither of these to represent a ‘superior contribution’ to the democratic processes of this country – but maybe its just me.

    I’ve also had a good look round for this ‘poll’ that is being cited to see exactly what was asked of who, but there seems just to be a circle of posting from gay sites referring to it and each other. So until I see exactly what was being asked I’ll reserve any judgement.

  22. Jean-Paul 3 May 2009, 3:03am

    Ivan:

    Well said. And intelligible to boot, plus a very minimal amount of personality persecution. Chapeau.

    Speaking as a gay Canadian living rather comfortably with my sexual identity in a small city where there are few signs of discrimation (although there are rednecks who can show up at the most unexpected moments and who would beat up a blind man just for fun), I can only imagine the stress LGBT persons are experiencing in thriving cosmopolitan cities like London and elsewhere in the UK.

    Frankly, without really knowing the history of the politcal parties involved in these most interesting exchanges of ideas, I am especially impressed that there are extraordinarily well informed LGBT individuals whose main concern appears to be the present and future well being of members of our minority.

    There is some truth in what you say about Sister Mary Clarence’s occasional and useless vulgar expressions, as I told our friend neville about his use of off-the-cuff expressions in my last post.

    We all tend to do it, and I believe it is because the stress of city living so easily angers people on a daily basis and in a million tiny little details, anger which is of course suppressed and which surfaces when one is contradicted in a public forum such as this one.

    In that sense, what I said to neville applies to her as well and to everybody else: it facilitates the intelligibility of the debate when offensive expressions are toned down.

    Your post is a fine example of what I mean.

    Having said that, is it not correct to evaluate politicians according to their platform on issues other than gay rights, if only in passing? Personally, I believe the ecological and economical crisis we are all confronting cannot be completely ignored.

  23. Jean-Paul, Thank you for my little write-up. 39 years is correct for my loving relationship. I chuckled at WW2 Vet. I was born 1939, a month befor the break-out of WW2. I am still on holiday in UK Jersy States and I can see the French coastline from here. See you ‘My Prince.’

  24. Sister Mary Clarence, you do seem inclined to judge people or groups of people not according to their current or most recent behaviour but according to their long-past history. We have to judge people and parties according to their current behaviour. Of course, in doing this some consideration of their past behaviour is wise. But unless we are talking about people who have done such things as murdering or raping others in the past, our recollections of others’ histories ought not to cancel out the good they are doing now or have recently done.

  25. thank you for the update, i dont think there is much over support tho

  26. Just because Sister Mary may not want to display his/her capacious bloomers on the internet, it does not mean that she can be holier than thou over those who do wish to display their underwear on a gay site. I am sure that if Sister Mary did wish to display his/her drawers on such a site, her devoted readers would resist making remarks about the possible miasma which might arise from them, and would not accord her with the epithets ‘Droopy Drawers’.

  27. a) I offered no view in respect of the EU because it was not called for when I was only pointing out the various inconsistencies in your arguments – not least in supporting a party that has such a poor record on EU issues and opposes the so-called interference in our affairs for which you are so grateful. Indeed, many Conservatives would want us to leave the EU altogether.

    b) There remains the issue of what will happen after the upcoming European elections when David Cameron’s populist pledge to take the Conservative MEPs out of the European Peoples’ Party will come to haunt him as he is faced with a choice between teaming up with the religious fruitcakes, fascists, women haters and homophobes in order to form a new multi-national grouping (ie. one eligible for funding under the EU Parliament rules) or sitting alone (ie. a position which does not qualify for funding). Given the state of Conservative party finances, the latter option is unaffordable so people should be aware when they vote Conservative in the EU elections that they will, in fact, be voting for MEPs who will most likely be forced to form part of a very unsavoury new European party.

    c) David Cameron is no Churchill.

    d) As for stealing the glory of others, there is a point to be had here. However, member nations being subject to EU laws is different from their acting upon them. Ask LGBT people in Poland or the Baltic states where, as reported on this site, Pride parades are banned and marchers attacked whilst the governments do nothing. In other words, credit where credit is due. As an aside, it is Labour and Liberal democrat members such as Michael Cashman and Baroness Ludford respectively who have led the charge to get these rogue governments to obey the law.

    e) I have offered no view on the Labour government of the 70′s. Likewise, I have offered no view on the Conservative government of the 80′s and 90′s. Neither have I discussed Gladstone, Disraeli or Cromwell. Interesting and complex though all these subjects are, it is not the issue being discussed aside from the point that there are wider issues than LGBT ones when considering who to vote for.

    f) I did deal with the wider issues point but let me put it another way. If you were a woman in Afghanistan, would you vote for a party that would make the country richer now (ie. as things stand, to the benefit of the men who will oppress you) or one that would make you equal (ie. to the eventual even greater benefit of all)?

    g) In addition, the assumption behind your position is that the Conservative party has the answers to our current problems. The evidence for this is unconvincing. And the fact that the answers coming from Labour or anyone
    else anywhere around the world are also questionable means we’re in the kind of ugly pickle that simplistic “my party is bigger than your party and here is some utterly random stuff to prove it and it’s all your fault anyway” views will never solve.

    h) I am not offended by “Shirley Twat” or, for that matter, the fact that you use the opportunity of a weak apology to remind us of “Captain Underpants”. I merely find it vapid, pathetic and a distraction. I am, however, disturbed that you seem to be advocating that a member of the LGBT community should live his life in order to please the social norms of Daily Mail readers. Why bother to oppress us when we can do it so well ourselves and to each other? In addition, I take it you have no evidence as regards the age of his undergarments. And, like his appearance on the internet, it’s none of my business anyway.

    i) I note that having failed to deflect form the issue at hand or to win the arguments, you are now seeking to discredit the survey. For anyone who has bothered to read this far, this is classic political spin tactics in perfect sequence. Just very poorly executed.

    j) The fact remains, it is overwhelmingly the Conservatives who vote against equality and respond to surveys in this way.

  28. The previous post should have started with @Sister Mary. Sorry, I’m having a Fat Finger day.

  29. Thank you for that,Ivan.
    I agree entirely.

  30. Sister Mary Clarence 3 May 2009, 1:21pm

    ‘I am, however, disturbed that you seem to be advocating that a member of the LGBT community should live his life in order to please the social norms of Daily Mail readers’

    Sorry Ivan too busy to response to all your posting just now however in relation to the comment above, I don’t. I do however believer that those in public office should conduct themselves in a manner fitting of that public office and I don’ think Mr Bryant has done so, and I think him subsequently whinging to the press about the way he was treated was ugly too.

    I also think that those Conservatives under the last Tory administration who got caught with their d*cks out also failed to behave in an appropriate manner and largely got what was coming to them in the press.

    Call me old fashioned, but I think he might have re-enforced a few negative stereotypes about gay people in so doing (although probably more so amongst your Daily Mail readership)

  31. Jean-Paul 3 May 2009, 4:40pm

    Neville:

    Your post 26 was afair swing at your opponent. 1 point for you.

    Regarding my post 19 where I had the temerity of commenting on your manner of expression, even if it had nothing to do with the issue at hand, I am sorry if I have offended you publicly in any way, and please, please don’t think I am patronizing you. I’ve had enough patronisation in the RCC to barf at the very mention of the word.

    Fact is, I am no better than you; chances are you are superior to me by far and in many, many ways.

    This debate interests me. The future of the world is in the balance. I need to follow the arguments of all sides expressed with the clarity with which you can all express yourselves, un point, c’est tout.

    The one thing that has not been stressed enough, in my opinion, is that everyone should VOTE on June 4th. If I see anything less than a 60% turnout at the polls, then I will conclude that the UK and the EU are about as apathetic as Canadians and Americans, thereby making a farce of our democratic system.

    Afterwards, you will notice that it will most likely be those who did not cast a vote who will be complaining, criticizing and condemning, something Dale Carnegie said any fool can do, and that most fools do do.

    Finally I am slightly dismayed, only slightly, that you posted not a word in reply to my post 19. I’m not trying to be cruel, but if you have the time to degrade Brian, why can’t you find a minute to acknowledge my comment in some way. If you recall, I began by saying that you can feel free to tell me to f*ck off, and I would rather hear that from you (I will not hold a grudge) rather than listen to your silence which indicates to me that you are completely indifferent to me.

    And carry on… you’re doing great.

  32. Jean-Paul, I am not in the least offended. You may have noticed by now that I firmly believe that religious faith is totally irrational and is therefore a mental illness. Thus anyone who resorts to referring to the Bible, to God,the Pope or to any other religious authority will get, to use a religious metaphor, short shrift from me, usually in the from of being recommended for treatment in a mental hospital.

  33. I must concede one point to Sister Mary, and that is to do with decorum. I agree that it is not acceptable for someone in a public position to behave in a less than proper way e.g. John Major,Edwina Currie and strawberries and cream! But I have mixed feelings about certain kinds of behaviour, for I think that the French have a more enlightened way of looking at things, in that what is done in private is irrelevant so long as it does not affect the individual’s ability to do his job without fear or favour. Whatever Chris Bryant did in the past in relation to sexual matters in a public forum should not be repeated now that he is Deputy Leader of the House, but what he does in private is precisely that – private.

  34. Neville wrote: “I firmly believe that religious faith is totally irrational and is therefore a mental illness.”

    You know, Neville, I am inclined to agree with you. And I am not being facile. I am being serious.

    I have spent the last year helping a friend who is suffering from Auditory Hallucinations. Unfortunately there is no way that his family and friends can convinced him that the sounds he hears are coming from within him, not from outside. He is utterly sure they are external, and unfortunately has rejected his family and friends, including me. I tried to put him in contact earlier today with the “Hearing Voices Network”, based in Manchester, but have received another assertive denial that the sounds are internal. When I mentioned this further denial to my partner over lunch today, he said, “He’s suffering from exactly the same thing as the saints and mystics – including, probably, Jesus Christ, Mohammed, and the the prophets”.

    Voices from god = Auditory Hallucinations.
    Visions of god = visual hallucinations.
    Both forms of hallucinations constitute mental illness.

    It was interesting learning of the “Hearing Voices Network” today because it is made up of individuals who suffer from Auditory Hallucinations and their approach is to help sufferers live with this illness but recognise that it is an illness, that the sounds are coming from within. One of their suggested strategies is rather amusing. They advise sufferers that if they have an attack of the voices on the street, they should consider putting a mobile phone to their ear, and simply shouting back! Passers-by won’t know the phone isn’t switched on. Passers-by won’t think they are “loonies”. And the sufferer will be able to deal with the attack in a satisfying manner.

    Imagine Jesus putting his mobile phone away, then smiling at you and saying, “Ha, ha! Fooled you! You thought I was talking to God the Father! But, nah, I was just having one of me many hallucinations, mate!”

  35. theotherone 3 May 2009, 8:42pm

    Ivan:

    it is you not ‘the sister’ who misrepresents the argument.

    The issue being discussed is not weither some in the Tory party think we are ‘less than human’ so please don’t go muddying the waters.

    We hear baout the reserch but not what the question was. the question, my good woman/ man, is importent because…well you see unlike Liebour there is a tradition of Libetarianism running through the Tory party. If the question was about weither any group should be forced to adopt a particuler policy then they would vote against it – it’s a cultural thing.

    Oh and before you acuse me of being a Tory: I’ve been involved in LEFT WING/ ANARCHIST (depending on how disalusioned I was at the time) activism for years. I’ve laso worked with fellow ‘Trans’ People, helping them orginise and campaign for fairer treatment by doctors, I’ve forged links with the local police department to make sure they take violence against ‘Trans’ People more seriously. But then I’m just a reactionart Tory because I don’t suport a party that wants to allow schools to teach children that Homosexuality is wrong arn’t I?

  36. Jean-Paul 3 May 2009, 8:58pm

    Eddy:

    Makes perfect sense to me. And knowing you, I’ll bet that you are attempting to help this person without the least bit of remuneraton.

    Persons quoting the bible at me make me every bit as furious as it does Neville. I must admit that I have yet to succeed the challenge of ignoring them. (I am 64 and I basically believe in the Golden Rule but I see no way of being de-baptized from the RCC as John Hunt has done).

    For example, when I was younger and scrounging a living in Montreal, I had to share a small apartment (a flat) with a sunni muslim from Lebannon of my age. He installed the koran high above every beautiful Renoir and Cézanne print I had carefully attached to the walls of the living room.

    He had the habit of taking a daily shower with the bathroom door left open (to get rid of the steam, he used to say). Problem was, the bathroom was right next to the kitchen.

    One day when I went to boil some water to make a cup of tea, he came raging out of the bathroom wearing only a towel and accused me of spying on him while he was showering, and you can take it from there…

    When he was fully dressed and came into our tiny living room, still fuming, I made damned sure he followed my every move as I got a hold of the koran, which was carefully wrapped in some kind of green fabric, and tossed it out of a window into an open garbage bin four floors below.

    He looked at me and tried to compose himself. I then went into the closet, took out his empty suitcase and set it in front of him telling him that I was going for a swim at the YMCA and that I expected to see him gone and out of my life forever when I returned.

    I learned later that he had gone to live with his sister-in-law, the one he used to brag about f*cking behind his brother’s back for years, saying that all women were basically sluts.

    I never saw him again, lucky for him.

    My point being that I cannot be too harsh with Neville, because I basically am no different from him. In fact, I have also tossed as many bibles as I could find into garbage bins over the years, especially the ones which I found in the rooms of every motel in which I have spent a night or two while travelling.

    I believe my room-mate was an exception, because I have met hundreds of muslims at our local multi-cultural pot-luck suppers at the golf club, and they are every bit, if not more, well balanced as I. In fact, I love sitting around a table with them, dipping pieces of my flatbread into a bowl of scrumptuous cous-cous, and shooting the breeze.

    Mobile phones will soon be a dime a dozen and your idea is not only original, it is ingeneous. Are you sure there isn’t a tad of French in you?

  37. vulpus_rex 3 May 2009, 9:05pm

    I really do wonder what it will actually take for some of the blinkered morons who continue to support this government to change their mind?

    Gordon Brown has been a catastrophe as a chancellor and prime minister. His incompetence and dishonesty has known no boundaries.

    The stench of New Labour corruption is so bad that the press and international community are queuing up to give them a drubbing.

    Yet despite the fact that they are manifestly the worst government in recorded history 26% of the population accoridng to a recent opinion are so dumb they will vote for more of the same.

    Shame on them.

  38. Remember a while back when christianists were screaming “no special rights for gays”? Now the worm has turned and THEY are demanding special rights. Hypocrisy rears its ugly head again.

  39. @theotherone

    a) The issue being discussed is a survey showing that 71% of Conservative parliamentary candidates support an exemption from the law that will have the effect of diminishing the human rights of LGBT people. If you do not have full human rights, you are in effect less human than the next person.

    b) The question was, ironically, asked by the Conservative activist group who carried out the survey so Sister Mary might be a better source if you want to know the exact wording.

    c) The Conservative party is a loose federation of social conservatives, business conservatives and libertarians. The nature of the party at any one time depends on which group is winning the struggle for the upper hand. It has not been the libertarians for maybe 100 years and therefore the nearest thing we have in the UK to a proper libertarian party is the Liberal Democrats – particularly since the “Orange Book” faction took over the leadership and started to ditch the beardy/folk music/elbow patch stuff of the past.

    d) I am disturbed at your implication that cultural exemptions to the equal treatment of LGBT people might be acceptable. Why stop there? Perhaps the BNP could ask for a cultural exemption from race equality? LGBT people could refuse to employ catholics? Let’s all just have our own laws. Better still, one law for all.

    e) I would not accuse you of being a Conservative. It is a perfectly legal activity.

    f) Take George Orwell’s advice and do not use unoriginal/witless/hackneyed expressions like “Liebour” if you want to be taken seriously.

    g) I have no idea what your last sentence means.

  40. Neville:

    Much obliged for your post 32.

    Now that I have begun to develop more respect for you, you can’t expect me to leave you alone, can you?

    I’ll try to be brief.

    Although I identify myself as being Acadian rather than French (for treacherous historical reasons that not every Acadian share), I am aware of the tremendous contribution the European French have made towards the enlightement of western civilisation.

    More precisely, and if you’ll bear with me for a moment, I feel towards France the way a ‘Brit’ might feel about its historical connection with Germany (or is it Prussia?).

    I may be mistaken, but wasn’t George III of German origin? And wasn’t he quite mad, to put it midly, when Wellington whalloped Napoleon at Waterloo? I would see that as a ‘treacherous absence in a case of emergency’. I’m simply trying to help you to understand my sense of Acadian identity, and I’m not at all sure I’ve chosen a good example.

    However, speaking of enlightement, why does it seem to me that the Wolfenden Report, which was passed by Paliament after all, has not had the lasting liberating effect in the UK that it has had in Canada, e.g. Prime Minister Pierre E. Trudeau stating: ‘The Government has no business in the bedrooms of the Nation.’

    Can you briefly explain to me how the backlash to the Report still appears to have a strangle-hold on the LGBT population of the UK?

    I know you are a busy man, and I am not in any hurry for an answer.

    However, Ivan, Eddy, Sister Mary Clarence are more than welcome to help me solve this enigma? Why do you still appear to be struggling for equal rights after the Wolfenden Report was accepted???

    Warm regards

  41. Jean-Paul 4 May 2009, 5:44am

    Brian Burton:

    You seem to be following this thread, so I think I may have a chance of getting in touch with you here.

    After hearing from you, I looked up the UK Jersey States on Google Earth.

    Depending on where you actually are, you should be able to see the ‘Phare de Goury’, Portbail, Sunset Granville, Mont-Saint-Michel, Saint-Malo, and/or Paimpol on the French coast, not to mention Iles Chausey.

    The island itself appears to have a breathtakingly beautiful beach at St. Aubin’s Bay (I can almost smell the salt water), and there seems to be a lot of activity around the WW2 Gun Emplacement and the Corbierre Lighthouse.

    I am so happy for the both of you.

    ENJOY!

  42. Jean-Paul, I applaud the war you have waged against Bibles and Korans. I can understand too how much you enjoy tucking into exotic Middle-Eastern dishes. I admit that when I first lived in the Middle East I fell head over heels with Islamic culture, their way of life, their manners, and their food. Now I “throw Korans out of windows”, so to speak, while continuing to enjoy their exotic foods . . . but in England. Do those Muslims you eat cous-cous with know that you are “a practising homosexual”?

  43. theotherone 4 May 2009, 11:21am

    ivan: I no not remember saying that exemptions where aproprate – can you point out where I’ve said that?

    As to religious exemptions: Labour (if you like that phrase more) have put in place laws that allow religious groups to spew forth Homophobic/ Biphobic and Transphobic nonsence as long as it’s ‘part of their religion.’ Only last week they said that Religious Schools (I am reminded, when typing this, of Foucoultian pararels between Schools and Prisions) should be allowed to teach that Homosexuality is wrong. Labour also wanted to bring in laws to force Single and Queer people to work unsociable hours to allow people with children to work 9 to 5. Labour insist that anyone who wants to apply for an Arts grant must tell all about who they sleep with. I could go on…

    As to Libitarianism: I take it that if the Tories are not a Libitarian party they suport I.D Cards, data bases on children that label them as criminals as soon as their out of the womb, incresed detention without trial, the NHS database, the DNA database? I take it that the Tories have brought in legislation that allows them to extend the life of a parlament indefenatly (effectivly canceling elections and killing Democrisy?)

    And lastly: if you’ve got half a brain you will know that the exact wording of a question in a poll can determin the result therefore I’d like to know the wording of the poll and the sympathies of the group that carried it out before I pass judgment. You, on the other hand, are so wraped up in a desire to defend Labour you’re willing to end up with egg on you’re face.

    Oh and if you want to tar me with the brush of racism I’d like to ask: when will you stop beeting your wife?

  44. Jean-Paul 4 May 2009, 1:19pm

    Eddy:

    As far as I know, there is nothing in my behaviour or in my demeanor, my choice of clothing or my attitude that would alert anyone to the fact that I am a practicing homosexual. I am in fact just an ordinary guy.

    As for the muslims I have met at the golf club, only two know for sure about my sexual orientation.

    One is an engineer who works for the provincial government and who couldn’t give a sh*t about what I do in my bedroom because both his sons are practicing gays, and he is married to the daughter of a local lawyer who has been a friend of my family ever since I could remember.

    The other one is a medical doctor who is primarily interested to learn how to use the English language in a more effective way, but who makes damn sure I do not get anywhere near his 20-year-old son whose face only a mother could love.

    I expect that like the rest of us, they do gossip about me, but they do not seem to avoid me. If anything, they seek me out because, if you’ll excuse my lack of modesty, I have always been an upbeat and amusing person without the least amount of effort. I get that from my mother, I believe.

    On a more serious note, perhaps we could talk about being de-baptized from the RCC one of these days.

    As you know, catholics are so caught up in confusing canon laws, that I can make all the formal demands in the world and all the parish priest or the bishop would have to do is refuse to answer me in any way to deflect my intention of having my name removed from the baptism register of the parish in which I was baptized without my consent.

    On the other hand, there are seven ways that a catholic can be excommunicated, only one of which would apply to me. I would have to toss a ‘consecrated host’ in a garbage can in full view of a priest and the assembly of the faithful during a regular mass. Someone has suggested that a better way would be to visibly drive a nail through a ‘consecrated host’, but I am not interested in shocking the congregation which is after all composed of the finest people I know and with whom my family has shared a good number of wholesome activities.

    In the final analysis, I am not as interested in being excommunicated, in which case my name would remain in the baptism register, as being de-baptized with the assurance that my my name would not be included in the statistics of the catholic population of the world.

    In the meantime, it would take a tad more than a team of wild horses to drag me into a catholic church again, and I have left instructions in my will to be cremated.

    Furthermore, I have specified that I want the bankground music of my secular funeral services to be ‘Life Begins When You’re in Love’ played by Charlie Kunz, and the ‘Canadian Suite’ played by my favorite jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, with an open bar of course, although I do not drink myself.

    I also want my ashes tossed into the river at Port-Royal in Nova Scotia, which is where my ancestor, Abraham DuGast, landed in the New World in 1642.

    That’s what you you get for asking me personal questions, my friend, and I will not be offended if you’re conscience tells you to mind your own business.

    All the better if this post can somehow be connected to the subject at hand.

    Warm regards

  45. Jean-Paul, impressed that you have attended in detail so that carry-on upon your death will be as you want it, and that no religious will be able to commandeer your death to peddle their nonsense. So many take no action and then all their rational non-believing friends and family find themselves at some service headed by a cleric wittering on about the Resurrection and Life Eternal.

    I attended a funeral recently and none of us knew what kind of occasion it would be. To cut a long story short, the speakers at the Crematorium got almost blown apart when Meatloaf’s “Bat Out of Hell” started up! (The deceased was a mother of 69, who had left strict instructions she wanted nothing but celebration upon her death and for people to have a good time in memory of her and that she wanted to leave life . . . like a bat out of hell!

    By the way, Jean-Paul, I saw in another thread, can’t remember which, that you described me, and Keith, as “crazy old coots”. I was surprised, given that a couple of weeks earlier you told me you rather fancied having a ginger-ale avec moi! :-)

  46. Jean-Paul 4 May 2009, 6:59pm

    Eddy:

    I remember distinctly saying to RobN that the two of you may seem like crazy old coots sometimes, but that that only makes you colorful characters to me.

    Trust me, I meant no offense, and if you remember, the first posts of yours that I read, about a month or so ago, did not sound as down to earth as they have been doing recently. Am I imagining that or what?

    Do you remember downgrading members of the laity who were ‘oiling up to you as if you were Jesus’s brother and how disgusting it was for you?’ I have a lot of sympathy and affection for members of the laity who are cradle catholics, mostly uninformed and who prefer not to know too much about the church’s dirty laundry.

    It’s the Conference of Canadian Bishops which has turned me against the RCC by refusing time and again to dialogue with members of Dignity Canada, a small group of Canadian gay catholics of whch I am proud to be a member, who believe the church’s sexual theology needs to be revised and that the church leadership needs to consider a certain amount of reform (e.g. college of bishops having more to say) if it expects to remain a relevant part of the new millenium.

    To get back to your posts, you went randomnly from upper to lower cases, some of your sentences were incomplete or grammatically incorrect (I’m such a snob!), and you kept telling everyone to drop religion because it was just a bunch of crap. Do you remember that or was I dreaming?

    I am not judging you, only saying that the younger generations could easily have interpretated your unusual writing style as Ernest Hemingway’s when it was obvious he raised his elbow a few times too often before sitting at his typewriter.

    I don’t know why, but for the last couple of weeks your writing style easily portrays the sincere person you are, how intelligent and kind you are, and most of, as far as I’m concerned, how interested you are in the well-being of others, namely moi.

    As for Keith, I believe he deliberatly acts the fool. I’m no expert, but I suspect he has endured a great deal of pain in his life and he is distracting himself by saying whatever comes into his mind (and f*ck the world) which I find most amusing, but again the younger generations have no idea of what older guys like us have gone through, and I’m not so sure that they are interested in finding out.

    They are caught up in the moment, as I was when I was young, and very often judge other men according to what kind of action they could expect from them. Does that make any sense?

    The fact is I would not only be willing to share a ginger ale with you, I would be willing to have you over to our house for a meal and I would put on my yellow tutu to show you how well I can pirouette for a guy my age on the off-chance you would visit this desolate neck of the woods!

    I’ve seen London on Google Earth, don’t forget, and if I had my way I would be living in Virginia Woolf’s house in Bloomsbury, not here where culture means having hot dogs and coke in the park on Sunday afternoons. No Universities, no symphony orchestras, no live theatre, no Julie Andrews, Noel Cowards or Charlie Kunz.

    Also, if you’ll take a minute to recall the incident, I said that to RobN, whom I happen to like very much, when he had been flippant with you after reading one of your posts. I thought that as a mature man yourself, you would have understood that I was simply trying to tell RobN that he would be more successful in communicating his ideas if he developed a more respectful attitude for older persons, even if at times they might sound foolish to him (like crazy old coots).

    Moreover, I believe RobN understood because he wrote me a touching post where he convinced me that he not only has a body and a thinking mind, but that he also has a heart… an expression I prefer to ‘someone speaking from the gut’.

    My very best friend here in Bathurst (besides my partner) calls me ‘Babylon’ because I am inclined to ‘babble-on’.

    Incidentally and finally, I loved the story about the bat out of hell, and I would ask you, please, not to wait so long before asking me for an explanation for any remark I may make in the future.

    Je t’embrasse,

  47. Jean-Paul 4 May 2009, 7:14pm

    Eddy:
    One more little thing. My ‘appartenance’ to the RCC has been really f*cked up by the present papacy; I am ashamed to call myself a catholic as a result of Ratzinger’s constant blunders, and I believe could wing it on my own from now on, because I am not interested in any other religious institution, period. And I’m dead serious about wanting to be de-baptized.

  48. Jean-Paul, thanks for long reply.

    Glad you’re eager to be de-baptised. Do pursue it, but in the meantime “don’t ‘ang around”! Simply ditch every bit of superstition and supernatural belief from your life immediately. Take all your religious paraphernalia around to your local charity shop if it pains you to drop it into the appropriate recycling bins. And then let the rational flood in. (There’ll be plenty of mental space and physical time for it once all the nonsense is gone.)

    Re. you saying my posts have appeared to become more down-to-earth, hmmm, may I suggest that perhaps you have simply got used to me and where I am coming from? (If anything I am more eager to get higher off this fucked-up earth than ever, and less inclined to tolerate bull-shit and efforts-to-control from anyone!)

    Re. your admonition that I should not “wait so long before asking [you] for an explanation for any remark [you] may make in the future”, I did question your crazy-old-coot classification in the thread in which you made it but that thread fell off the front page as all threads do and you didn’t appear to keep following it.

    Lastly, I am amused that you continue to think that the second part of your crazy-old-coot classification applies to me, and that I am of your age. I’m not. I don’t know why you think I am aged but it could be because of my style and/or my references to history. A lot of young gay Brits today unfortunately can only speak of today’s money-hungry celebrity-worshipping culture and can only express themselves in the popular idiom. I expect (and hope)I stand out as certainly not being one of them.

    Lastly, you said in some recent post of yours something along the lines that you have found Pink News a most satisfying place of discussion. In case you are not aware of it, are you familiar with The Guardian’s Talk pages? See:
    talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@@.ee74cb9

    If you haven’t experienced the freedom of thought and style permitted and encouraged there, I suggest you hurry on over and jump in!

    But take care! :-)

  49. Jean-Paul 6 May 2009, 8:19am

    Eddy:

    I deeply offended you with the ‘crazy old coot’ thing, didn’t I?
    I’m willing to give you any kind of apology you would like, although if you’re anything like me, you will not be inclined to ever forget the remark. I’m sorry. You are not a crazy old coot; I am.

    I don’t suppose it will make any difference, but that expression is so common around here that it gets a short chuckle and life goes on. It’s like the use of the word ‘bloody’ in the UK. It’s a word that I absolutely detest, have tried to use but I wasn’t proud of myself for doing it, yet the ‘Brits’ think nothing of using it day in and day out.

    But the crux of the matter remains an enigma to me. Why does everybody pick on RobN so ruthlessly?

    Thanks for your advice on being de-baptized, which could more accurately be called your advice on being an atheist.

    I don’t remember telling you, but I was a highly articulate atheist before entering a Trappist monastery at Oka in the province of Québec. Later I was transfered from one monastery to another because I wanted to study existentialism and de Chardin and all they wanted was for me to study some supposedly updated Aquinas theology.

    It was Thomas Merton’s ‘Seven Storey Mountain’ that turned me around in 1970 when I was 26. Like him, I also was most disappointed at what I found in cloistered life, and my spiritual director, with whom I shared the occassional cigarette (surprised?) made it real easy for me to get a dispensation from Rome on account of the abbot having a reputation of being as spiritual as a tomato. That’s where I thought up the expression ‘Rev. Drone’.

    I enjoyed being an atheist, I remember it well like Maurice Chevalier sang in ‘Gigi’. Even then I followed the Golden Rule, except that I didn’t really give a sh*t about politeness when speaking to a priest or a nun or anything like that. If anything, I had more friends because I wasn’t so f*cking neurotic.

    Yes, I did say that I enjoyed PinkNews. I also enjoy 365gay dot com where I make a comment from time to time using the name of ‘bentham’.

    PinkNews has brought me back to my senses in ways that only I could understand. The very best thing that has happened to me, besides being welcomed by a gentleman like Brian Burton, is that Keith has unwittingly helped me to recuperate my sense of humour.

    I love to laugh, and of course that means that I can cry when it’s time to cry – which is what I feel like doing when I think of how much I offended a guy like you whom I’ve grown to love so very much… you know what I mean.

    I’ll come back to this thread to write down the website you have suggested. Don’t you just hate it when you’re comfortably installed in your easy chair with your laptop and every pen within reach is out of ink? I ain’t moving cause I gotta few more things to do on the Net before I call it a day.

    Actually, it’s 3:17 a.m. in Bathurst, New Brunswick and the moon is out. I’ll be taking the dog for a run around the house soon and then I’ll crash.

    Finally I don’t know why I thought you were an older person. I didn’t particularly find you very mature when I first read your posts. As I said, I find that in the last couple of weeks you have become one of the wisest, kindest, ‘honest’ and challenging men I have ever read on PinkNews. Go figure. Maybe I’m just not a good judge of character; that’s what my partner has been telling me since Napoleon was a foot soldier. Well, how old are you then???

    Je t’embrasse (we Acadians do that a lot, but not as much as the Belgians).

  50. OK, J-P, I will accept that “crazy old coot” may have a lighter feel to it in your neck of the woods. I have used our contemporary British plain-speaking to American relations of mine and seen them shrivel in shock. There are substantial amazing cultural differences between Western countries.

    Right now, I’m rushing on over to that emergency call you gave concerning the plight of someone on the Faith Schools thread!

    Bye.

  51. Vulpus Rex; Sister Mary Clarence – my question is simply:

    - Cameron and co at the top of the party seem OK, open minded. But the grass roots is full of – pardon my french – nutcases. I mean, the Christian Conservative Fellowship, the Cornerstone group – please convince me that the tory lunatic fringe (IDS, Edward Leigh, and various cranks) is under control.,,

    Do your best to convince me most of the tories are relatively sane.

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