And now for something completely different.
This one involves Tory party leader David Cameron, suspended Conservative candidate Philip Lardner, a rescinded ordinance called Section 28, Lithuania, and a B&B in Cookham, Berkshire.
It came to my attention that a certain Philip Lardner, until recently aspiring to the parliamentary seat in North Ayrshire and Arran, was suspended from the Conservative party for his statement that homosexuality is "not normal" and should not be encouraged to children:
"Why should Christian churches be forced by the government to employ homosexuals as 'ministers' against all that the Bible teaches? They are being forced by the government to betray their mission. . . ."
The unfortunate remark was reported by the gay news website Pink News in the morning. By mid-morning, Lardner was toast. Conservative Leader David Cameron said, "I couldn't have acted quicker [to take] decisive action in minutes of finding out about this." One imagines the politically endangered Cameron tripping over his robes to get to a news outlet.
This is because support for the Conservative Party has lately fallen precipitously due to accusations in the press that the members of his team are homophobic. Fellow Tory Chris Grayling had suggested to The Observer that perhaps Christian bed and breakfast owners should have a right to not allow gay couples into their homes.
Moreover, Mr. Cameron had dog doo-doo on his shoes for an unfortunate interview he gave for the Gay Times, in which he fumbled badly a question geared to ascertain the trueness of his love for the LGBT community. (Who would have thought one could be undone by a question about Lithuania?) The interviewer wanted to know why, since Cameron had recently said friendly things about gay rights, his MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) refused to support a motion condemning a homophobic law in that southern Baltic state.
There was no graceful way out of this trap, so Mr. Cameron tried a few ungraceful ones. He said he was not familiar with this particular European vote. When that didn't fly, he said he rarely issues instructions to his MEPs "to vote in this way or that." That was, of course, disastrous, inasmuch as the forcing of his MEPs to vote pro-gay was precisely what the interviewer had in mind.
When he saw what he had done, Mr. Cameron proceeded to fine-tune his remarks: "I've tried to have free votes where possible on these sorts of issues but, er . . . I'm responsible for votes here. Sorry, it's not a very good answer." Well, this was shark bait. Did he say "free votes"? British culture secretary Ben Bradshaw later remarked to BBC Channel 4 that it was "extraordinary" that a leader should think equality matters should be left to a free vote.
Having thrown Mr. Lardner under the bus, it remains to be seen for Mr. Cameron whether that hasty sacrificial offering will be sufficient to placate the increasingly ravenous cause of "equality." Gay cultural gatekeepers may yet take pity on their terrified political hostage if they deign to acknowledge that he did at least reach out to them with an equality manifesto promising to rename civil partnerships civil marriages. Also, he has apologized (one imagines, profusely) for his former support of Section 28, a now rescinded act that forbade local authorities from intentionally promoting homosexuality.
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