The Chris Grayling story is the gift that just keeps giving. Just when you think the Tories are going to move on from it, back it comes. The Telegraph site carries a piece by Ed West today called ‘The Conservatives anti-gay? Have you actually seen a Tory social event?’ His central argument is that the Tory party is very gay friendly – and points to local Tory social events in Haringey (why does this make me think of the Private Eye sketch ‘It’s Grim Up North London’?) as an example of Tory modern gay-friendliness. The central thrust seems to be “I have been invited to Tory party events by gay tories (they told me on Facebook) and they all seem a bloody nice lot”. He goes on to state: ‘To put it in terms that will annoy Guardian readers as much as possible, any group of people who increase house prices in one’s area are going to be acceptable to conservatives.’
Let me be clear, I don’t think that every Tory party member or candidate is homophobic. I’m fairly sure the Labour Party also has homophobic members too (can’t see it in the Lib Dems but I could be wrong), but people are concerned about policy. Those who attack Grayling’s line are not, as that twit Daniel Hannan asserted at the weekend ,‘grandstanding’ – rather this is to challenge the assertion by Cameron that the Tory party has changed. For Hannan, the Grayling story isn’t about homophobia but rather enabling people to do what they want in their own homes. He wrote: ‘to pretend that Chris’s remarks make him a bigot is ridiculous’. So if we had a Tory candidate who said they had ‘sympathy’ with a B&B owner who wanted to exclude blacks does anyone seriously think that Candidate would even be a member of the Tory party once that quote appeared in the press? Of course not. So if we treat sexuality differently to race we are putting an individuals sexuality in a different box. We are accepting that the law can deal with one category of individuals differently from another. One is superior to another. That seems a pretty big deal to me.
On to North West Leicestershire and the Tory candidate Andrew Bridgen who the Leicester Mercury reports as having “considerable sympathy” with bed and breakfast owners who wish to turn away gay couples. The comments apparently follow a visit by Chris Grayling. Oh yes, the story just keeps running…
Finally, I’m sorry this blog seems a bit Tory bashing as of late but I can only work with the material I’m given!