Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tally Ho!

I rarely listen to 'Any Questions' but this week's edition was quite nostalgic with a panel that resorted to old-fashioned populist tub-thumping. It was reminiscent of the glory days of the last century when Sir Gerald Nabarro and Lord Boothby would tickle the political G-spot of middle England with their inimitable brand of blustering bigotry.
What you wouldn't have got in the old days was two openly gay MPs, Ben Bradshaw and Alan Duncan, engaging in a bitch-fest about banning hunting. When someone asked what the panel would like to chase instead of the fox in drag-hunting, Duncan suggested Bradshaw. Nobody made a pun about 'drag' so I'll restrain myself too.
Duncan tried to draw an absurd analogy between fox hunters and homosexuals on the basis that they were both minorities and this was cheered to the rafters by the rabidly pro-hunting audience in Devon. In terms of 'rainbow alliances' this takes some beating, although horn-tooting huntsmen are undeniably high camp when you think about it.
A minority does not have a claim on freedom or legal protection simply because it is a minority. If that were so, we would legalise dog fights, badger baiting and, for that matter, paedophilia.


I was wondering if I was too hard on Lynda Lee-Potter in a previous post, so I'm indebted to Christina Odone in today's Observer for this quote. Lee-Potter described single mothers on council estates as "idle sluts who aren't fit to look after a dog, let alone a child." As opposed, presumably, to single mothers in £500,000 houses with the benefit of a nanny or au pair so they don't have to miss their skiing holidays. Nevertheless, Odone, that prominent lay Catholic and deputy editor of the New Statesman, has felt able to compose a eulogy to Lee-Potter. It seems that if a journalist articulates the views of millions of people, the vileness of those views becomes irrelevant to how they are judged, even by their political opponents.


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