Brian Sewell, whom noone could ever accuse of being too gay *snigger* offers this deep analysis in the HateMail:
Is it true that the lives of heterosexual Mancunians are haplessly intertwined with transvestites, transsexuals, teenage lesbians and a horde of homosexuals across the age range? Is Manchester now the Sodom of the North?
Coronation Street has a gay scriptwriter, Damon Rochefort. Fine. Nothing wrong with that. Indeed, its very first writer, its inventor in 1959, Tony Warren, was gay and open about it when homosexuality was still illegal and the penalties dire — and had a tough time with homophobia.
But the pendulum has swung to the other extreme, and where once we had no gaiety at all, we now, perhaps, have rather too much.
So a man who isn’t at all ‘too gay’ says it’s ok for the country’s premier soap opera to depict homosexuality, but not beyond a certain level. Gosh. Does he not understand what a soap opera is? For that matter does he not know Manchester?! But he goes on:
We have constructed a society that surrenders to the will of minorities that shout. We see it among ethnic minorities and sexual minorities, in the disabled lobby and in the funding, patronage and promotion of the arts.
And giving these minorities a huge voice is fundamental to the philosophy of those in charge of TV. As a result, TV is far too politically correct. It fosters all minorities and gives them a disproportionate amount of airtime.
In every kind of programme — be it drama, news, debate or for children — in this land of equal opportunities, minorities are given the opportunity to punch above their weight.
This is an art critic writing, who clearly doesn’t understand what art is about. Unsurprisingly perhaps, given that he’s writing in the HateMail, he’s ascribing a negative agenda to the proper and fair depiction of social diversity – a mean spirited agenda not born out by the facts. Charlie Condou points out:
There are only four regular gay characters in Coronation Street – I play Marcus Dent, who’s in a relationship with Sean Tully (played by Antony Cotton), and there’s also the young lesbian couple Sophie Webster and Sian Powers. That’s it. Hayley Cropper was once a man, but she’s been one of the show’s most popular characters since she joined 13 years ago, the first transsexual ever in a British soap. There is a cross-dresser in Marc Selby, but he is straight and in fact has two women fighting over him. Gail’s father, Ted, was gay – but he hasn’t been in it for years. I wouldn’t have thought four characters out of a cast of about 65 regulars was excessive.
Sewell seems to suggest there’s something morally reprehensible in being gay, and that there’s some kind of promotion of a gay agenda at work (led by a sinister-sounding “mafia”). But in fact you barely see a kiss from the gay characters, just like our heterosexual counterparts. It’s not a “sexy” show.
It’s not about ‘sexy’ of course, it’s about Sewell suggesting he’ll put up with homosexuality (and the HateMail’s readership should too), as long as ‘we’ don’t rub ‘their’ noses in it. That couldn’t be more of a homophobic stance to take. Soap operas may not be high art, but they have traditionally blazed trails worldwide in confronting issues and pushing boundaries, and most viewers have always understood this. Sewell says:
If the audience responds to the proselytising and is happy for the street to swarm with gloomy lesbians and happy homosexuals engaged in relationships ranging from intensely monogamous to brief, shallow and promiscuous, then it must be broadcast after the watershed.
But I don’t think the viewers agree. The days where the pro-Section 28 argument, that we ‘recruit’, could wash with the general public have long since come to an end. Why on earth should non-sexual same-sex relationships only be shown after 9pm? What era does this camp art critic think we’re living in? This argument isn’t really about somehow ‘purifying’ our culture from a homosexual excess – by using language such as ‘Sodom of the North’, Sewell has demonstrated it’s about his promotion of naked bigotry. He’s trying to gain legitimacy by pretending to stand up for a working class which is being misrepresented, but of course the working class in this country has traditionally stood up for proper gay representation better than almost anyone else. And of course he wouldn’t dare try to publish this hatchet job in the Morning Star or Socialist Worker – he and his sponsor Paul Dacre know just who they’re really aiming at. They can both fuck off.
Young children are to be taught about homosexuality in their maths, geography, science and English lessons, it has emerged.
As part of a Government-backed drive to ‘celebrate the gay community’, maths problems could be introduced that involve gay characters.
In geography classes, students will be asked why homosexuals move from the countryside to cities – and words such as ‘outing’ and ‘pride’, will be used in language classes.
The lesson plans are designed to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues and, in theory, could be used for children as young as four.
They will also mean youngsters are exposed to images of same-sex couples and books such as And Tango Makes Three, which tells the story of two male penguins raising a chick, which was inspired by events at New York’s Central Park Zoo.
The HateMail is so sick. ‘Are to be taught?’ Really? When the materials are optional? And the scaremongering about younger children learning about same-sex relationships – what’s that about? Is anyone suggesting they start watching hardcore gay porn? No. The material the HateMail is decrying references a real world example of same-sex behaviour in the animal kingdom. Do they think they would get away with such bigoted reporting if it were about race? Of course not – they still think that attacking gay people is fair game though. It isn’t.
Lesson plans have been drawn up for pupils as young as four, in a scheme funded with a £35,000 grant from an education quango, the Training and Development Agency for Schools.
The initiative will be officially launched next month at the start of “LGBT History Month” – an initiative to encourage teaching about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues.
The lesson plans, spread across the curriculum, will be offered to all schools, which can choose whether or not to make use of them.
But critics last night called the initiative a poor use of public money which could distract from the teaching of “core” subjects.
At least the Torygraph acknowledges the teaching materials are optional, but check out Melanie Phillips’ latest hardcore rant:
Alas, this gay curriculum is no laughing matter. Absurd as it sounds, this is but the latest attempt to brainwash children with propaganda under the camouflage of education. It is an abuse of childhood.
It’s an abuse of childhood to educate children appropriately about same-sex relationships? That’s batshit crazy and she knows it.
And it’s all part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very concept of normal sexual behaviour.
So we’re back to gay = abnormal. This may have been a normal argument itself about 25 years ago but it isn’t now. Homosexuality has always been with us and exists throughout the animal kingdom. It’s no more harmful than heterosexuality, it isn’t a choice and is by any reasonable definition normal. Mad Mel is getting lost in her own mad hyperbole again.
Not so long ago, an epic political battle raged over teaching children that homosexuality was normal. The fight over Section 28, as it became known, resulted in the repeal of the legal requirement on schools not to promote homosexuality.
As the old joke has it, what was once impermissible first becomes tolerated and then becomes mandatory.
Except it’s not mandatory. Nothing like a lie, eh Mel?
And the other side of that particular coin, as we are now discovering, is that values which were once the moral basis for British society are now deemed to be beyond the pale.
Right so homophobia was the moral basis for society eh? How lost she must feel now then. And how alone she should be.
What was once an attempt to end unpleasant attitudes towards a small sexual minority has now become a kind of bigotry in reverse.
Expressing what used to be the moral norm of Western civilisation is now not just socially impermissible, but even turns upstanding people into lawbreakers.
People who break the law are lawbreakers. The law doesn’t allow anyone to break the law, even on religious grounds and nor should it. Fuck off and grow up Mel. The world has moved on, and if even Tories have accepted that then it shows just how out of touch you and your hate rag really are. It was inevitable that there would be a mini backlash after the failings of the Christian devout to get their own way, but this is ridiculous. And futile. She (and they) won’t succeed in turning the clock back.
It should come as no surprise to those of us who track the HateMail’s bigotry, but check out the guy on the left’s right arm.
This is in response to the story about Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy succeeding in their case against Peter and Hazel Bull, zealous Christian B & B owners who wouldn’t let them share a room on religious grounds.
Join with me here in condemning the HateMail yet again, and continuing to encourage everyone we know who still buys that rag finally to stop.
The HateMail is in complete panic (and can’t stop lying):
A rattled Nick Clegg today sought to defend himself over his claim that the British people have a ‘more insidious cross to bear’ than Germany over World War II.
The Lib Dem leader attempted to laugh off criticism of his astonishing attack on our national pride – in which he said we suffered ‘delusions of grandeur’ and a ‘misplaced sense of superiority’ over having defeated the horrors of Nazism.
Campaigning ahead of tonight’s crucial second live TV showdown with party leaders, Mr Clegg said: ‘I must be the only politician who has gone from being Churchill to being a Nazi in under a week.’
He also came under fire today over donations made to his personal bank account, to which he responded: ‘I hope people won’t be frightened from trusting their instincts by doing something different this time. We have got a very exciting opportunity for real change in this country and I hope we will take it.’
The Murdoch high command can’t stop it:
Gosh, that’s pretty uncool, and may suggest that expensive suits at News International are rattled by Cleggmania, which could leave them out in the cold if the Tories fail to win on 6 May.
What seems to have upset them are ads that the Indy has been running along the lines of “Rupert Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will.” Brooks apparently rang Simon Kelner, the editor-in-chief and now chief executive of the Indy to complain that dog does not eat dog in Fleet Street.
Anyway, the Brooks-Murdoch posse turned up at the Indy’s HQ – now housed in the Mail’s London premises, the old Derry and Toms department store in Kensington High Street, got past security and appeared unannounced and uninvited on the editorial floor.
“They barged in and Kelner had to take them into an office where discussions took place. Rebekah was observed in gesticulating mode,” says my source. The incident was mentioned on Radio 4′s Today programme, where Trevor Kavanagh, a Sun guru, was found to be unbriefed about the whole thing.
The Sun isn’t pulling it off through censorship:
The Sun newspaper failed to publish a YouGov poll showing that voters fear a Liberal Democrat government less than a Conservative or Labour one.
The Liberal Democrats accused the newspaper, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, of suppressing the finding. The paper, which endorsed Labour in the past three elections, declared its support for David Cameron during the Labour Party’s annual conference last October. Like other Tory-supporting papers, it has turned its fire on Nick Clegg over his policies, pro-European statements and expenses claims since he won last week’s first televised leaders’ debate.
YouGov also found that if people thought Mr Clegg’s party had a significant chance of winning the election, it would win 49 per cent of the votes, with the Tories winning 25 per cent and Labour just 19 per cent. One in four people Labour and one in six Tory supporters say they would switch to the Liberal Democrats in these circumstances. The party would be ahead among both men and women, in every age and social group, and in every region. On a uniform swing across Britain, that would give the Liberal Democrats 548 MPs, Labour 41 and the Tories 25.
Even the tactics Craig Murray alleges YouGov has employed to smear Clegg aren’t working. And it’s all a reminder of a change which I think is playing a major part in determining the outcome of this election, namely that these papers used to determine people’s opinions, and no longer do. Political commentators aren’t getting listened to, party political broadcasts and press conferences are getting ignored; the whole process of opinion formation has completely changed. Long-term departure from print media has certainly played a part in this, but for all the talk of an election determined by the Internet, Twitter and Facebook and other social media don’t yet have that sort of power. They are however keeping the narrative of Clegg’s sudden rise (and its desirability) visible and a story in itself.
Also whilst the usual pundits are saying Clegg’s ‘upstart’ narrative is accidental, in truth it seems to have arisen from a confluence of factors which have been bubbling up in political life for some time now, the principal one being that the public now detests politics and politicians alike. They may not know how they want to express it, but Clegg has shrewdly made a strong attempt to do so for them in the first two debates. Could he have done that without the continuing, massive popularity of his shadow chancellor Vince Cable? Probably not – Cable has been legitimising the Liberal Democrats for some time. But conventional wisdom has also long suggested that the British public was eurosceptic, waswedded to nuclear power and nuclear weapons and madly in love with American power; Clegg in the last fortnight has challenged that entire paradigm and has astonishingly been increasingly admired for it. I suspect if he directly attacked the Iraq War (and Afghanistan) in the manner of Charles Kennedy he’d rise even more.
With Cameron giving the impression he wants power because he believes he’s due it, and New Labour now only being a power winning-and-retaining machine, Clegg is far from an ‘upstart’ – he has become the ‘insurgent’, representing tool to move past public’s loathing for the Way Things Were. The first debate allowed him to rise over the top of the biased, distorting right wing press and communicate directly and spin-free with the electorate. Maybe the electorate has been waiting for the chance to finish the hated New Labour (and its Tory copycat) off, and has seen him as a unique historical opportunity to do so. Cameron’s director of communications Andy Coulson may have already realised this too late – the flip-flopping between dog-whistle politics and the failing ‘Big Society’ message suggests he does, but Mandelson has also been caught flat footed. Johann Hari says:
Rattled, the right-wing press now demands Cameron start publicly thumping the table and articulating the agenda he whispers to them behind closed doors, and can be uncovered in his policy documents: big cuts in public spending, big tax cuts for the rich. But Cameron sees the polling and the focus groups, and he knows the public loathe his real agenda. That’s why his performances in this campaign are so stilted. Once Cameron is forced to address us directly, without being bigged-up by the Murdochracy he has promised to feed and fatten, he withers under the weight of his own deception.
For a moment, the media demonisation of the liberal-left was switched off in favour of equal time and open access – and it revolutionised our politics. If this happened day in, day out, how would our national conversation change?
The conversation has begun to change, and Murdoch, Dacre & Desmond are being kept out of it. Let’s keep it that way.
I have no issue with allowing Jan Moir to have said the disgusting, hateful, homophobic things which she did about Stephen Gately after his death. Nor do I have an issue with the Daily HateMail having the right to publish them. Freedom of speech after all means you must champion speech you dislike, as well as speech you like, but it does have other provisos too, which I believe the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) wilfully ignored. Its argument was as follows:
In a ruling, the commission said it was “uncomfortable with the tenor of the columnist’s remarks” but that censuring Moir, and the paper, would represent “a slide towards censorship”. It added: “Argument and debate are working parts of an active society and should not be constrained unnecessarily.”
The PCC’s director, Stephen Abell said the article contained flaws, but the commission had decided: “It would not be proportionate to rule against the columnist’s right to offer freely expressed views about something that was the focus of public attention.”
It’s a ridiculous argument. The PCC was set up because there is no such thing as absolutely free speech, yet now they conveniently champion absolute free speech, when their code was flagrantly breached? They have it entirely the wrong way around – censoring her would be the problem, not censuring her. For speech which is constrained there have to be consequences, which the PCC was set up to enforce. Yet PCC director Abell persists with a thoroughly absurd argument – the article doesn’t just contain flaws, but untruths, and in the name of denigrating Gately for his sexual orientation. I don’t think for a moment that an article can only be homophobic if it uses outright homophobic language; the subtext of her hate-filled rant couldn’t have been more homophobic. The PCC disagrees there too:
Gately’s civil partner, Andrew Cowles, said he was disgusted by the article and claimed the Daily Mail had broken the PCC’s code of conduct on three grounds, arguing that it was inaccurate, intruded into private grief and contained homophobic remarks.
The code says that the press must avoid making pejorative references to a person’s sexual orientation, but the commission said that Moir did not use any abusive or discriminatory language.
“While many complainants considered that there was an underlying tone of negativity towards Mr Gately and the complainant on account of the fact that they were gay, it was not possible to identify any direct uses of pejorative or prejudicial language in the article,” it said.
The PCC added that a distinction should be drawn “between critical innuendo which, though perhaps distasteful, was permissible in a free society – and discriminatory description of individuals, and the code was designed to constrain the latter rather than the former”.
So a homophobic subtext is now ‘critical innuendo’? Whilst it’s entirely possible that 25,000 could be wrong, that is the biggest disgrace of all. Whilst making Moir and the HateMail pay a price wouldn’t be unnecessary constrain argument or debate – her column contained neither, just underhanded homophobic slurs, and the PCC has impressively absolved itself of its own remit. If the quick way around it is merely not to use proscribed words in combination (ie. ‘fag’, ‘poof’, ‘homo’, ‘queer’) then the Commission and its code might as well not even exist.
Jan Moir’s homophobic Daily HateMail article is starting to bring up difficult questions:
The piece, by Jan Moir, has also prompted more than 1,000 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC).
A Met police spokesman said: “We have received a complaint from a member of the public.”
Moir defended her column saying suggestions of homophobia were “mischievous” and that the backlash was a “heavily orchestrated internet campaign”.
It’s awkward isn’t it? Was her invecive against Stephen Gately actually hate speech? I suspect it might have been, but is that the most important consideration? She clearly had an agenda in writing the article, as did the HateMail in publishing it, but does trying to prosecute her for it not make her a martyr and absolve the HateMail from being a regularly homophobic rag? Brendan O’Neill goes further:
The irony of the anti-Moir brigade is that it is witch-hunting Moir in the name of ‘tolerance’. She was intolerant, they say, and that is intolerable – therefore she can no longer be tolerated. The irony of expressing shrill intolerance of someone for being intolerant is lost on these illiberal liberals. In a sense, Moir hasn’t done anything particularly wrong; certainly she hasn’t done anything ‘evil’. Causing offence is a natural part of rowdy and testy public debate. No, the real problem arises when people politicise their feeling of having been offended, when they effectively argue that it is unacceptable for them to have felt offended and thus the offending party must be chastised. Offensiveness is a part of life; the politics of inoffensiveness is a threat to free speech and open debate.
Apparently attacking Jan Moir is a substitute for actually arguing why her attacks on Gately were wrong, why her ludicrous assertion that civil partnerships can be fatal was wrong, and justifying why her homophobic hate was wrong. O’Neill sounds very much like he’s advocating absolute freedom of speech, but maybe he’s not – maybe he’s just suggesting that the article didn’t cross the line between causing offense and inciting hatred. Maybe in that he has a point – Moir didn’t after all say that all gay people were evil, that Stephen got what was coming to him, or that gay equality should be rolled back; but hatred is rarely couched in such terms. It’s a seductive argument – liberal values should always have to be justified and rejustified – what I would ask though is why? Why should she be given a free pass to publish homophobic (which is clearly what it was) invective? Why should she not be held to account for it? Why should it have to be explained every time that homophobia is wrong and why it’s wrong?
I’ve seen similar commentary suggesting that being intolerant of her intolerance makes us worse than her. I don’t buy the argument for a second – I would on any occasion that she was threatened in any way or if violence were advocated, but I’ve not seen such comments. The vast majority of the attacks back on her represented common sense disgust at a homophobic attack on a man unable to defend his reputation, but I accept it did miss the greater point. Daily HateMail editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, the man ultimately responsible for authorising the article for publication, remains the chairman of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) editors’ code committee. He runs an overwhelmingly homophobic tabloid newspaper, yet is also responsible for the means of redress against journalistic homophobia – Jan Moir is actually just a bit player in this story.
There are obvious limitations to free speech – there always have been, but I’m not suggesting that her anti-gay speech be banned; her freedom of speech comes with responsibilities and consequences. In a society now largely gay tolerant (if not necessarily friendly), the right solution was to go to the sponsors underpinning the article’s publication and make the case to them that their active or tacit support of Moir’s article would have business consequences for them. They apparently agreed (how many large businesses want to appear homophobic these days?) and their departure caused an impact on Dacre’s business; he won’t be thrilled with that, or with her. The nature of social media means however that this highly effective online activism is unlikely to coalesce into a larger movement – that’s regrettable, because the means are now there to bypass outdated (and ineffective) structures like the PCC, and hold bigots to account (not to mention toxic waste dumpers). We do need to constantly talk about where the line needs to be drawn with freedom of speech – but I remain highly impressed at the stand the Twitterati (and others) took against naked anti-gay hatred last week.
Homophobic Daily HateMail columnist Jan Moir would like you to believe that it’s mischievous of those of us who seem to be part of an ‘orchestrated internet campaign’ to believe her hatchet job on Stephen Gately had ‘homophobic and bigoted undertones’. Does that make Stephen Fry ‘mischievous’? What about Phillip Schofield? A selection of Tweets:
Schofe Sat down to read up on the day. Dear God Jan Moir I hope when you lie in your bed tonight reflecting on your day you feel utterly ashamed
stephenfry …mischievous in the extreme to suggest that my article has homophobic and bigoted undertones.” UNDERTONES??!
Let me refer you to Charlie Brooker, who has a way with words, particularly for filth like Moir:
It has been 20 minutes since I’ve read her now-notorious column, and I’m still struggling to absorb the sheer scope of its hateful idiocy. It’s like gazing through a horrid little window into an awesome universe of pure blockheaded spite. Spiralling galaxies of ignorance roll majestically against a backdrop of what looks like dark prejudice, dotted hither and thither with winking stars of snide innuendo.
Read the whole thing. It’s a great piece, and as usual he’s right about absolutely everything. Fortunately the outrage has caused HateMail sponsors Marks & Spencer and others to withdraw from the online page at least, suggesting she’s caused considerable damage to her employer, who might think twice in the future before printing an article quite so horribly hateful again. There’s simply no money in it after all. A national newspaper, even a rag like the HateMail can’t really afford over 1,000 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission either.
What an odious cow. I sincerely hope she loses her job.
Many of you will today have been exposed to the filth that is Jan Moir’s article, insinuating that Stephen Gately died because he was gay. Want a taster?
The sugar coating on this fatality is so saccharine-thick that it obscures whatever bitter truth lies beneath. Healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again.
Whatever the cause of death is, it is not, by any yardstick, a natural one. Let us be absolutely clear about this. All that has been established so far is that Stephen Gately was not murdered.
And I think if we are going to be honest, we would have to admit that the circumstances surrounding his death are more than a little sleazy.
After a night of clubbing, Cowles and Gately took a young Bulgarian man back to their apartment. It is not disrespectful to assume that a game of canasta with 25-year-old Georgi Dochev was not what was on the cards.
Cowles and Dochev went to the bedroom together while Stephen remained alone in the living room.
What happened that night? Only Gately’s civil partner, Andrew Cowles, left, and Georgi Dochev, who they took back to their apartment, know the truth
What happened before they parted is known only to the two men still alive. What happened afterwards is anyone’s guess.
A post-mortem revealed Stephen died from acute pulmonary oedema, a build-up of fluid on his lungs.
Gately’s family have always maintained that drugs were not involved in the singer’s death, but it has just been revealed that he at least smoked cannabis on the night he died.
Nevertheless, his mother is still insisting that her son died from a previously undetected heart condition that has plagued the family.
Another real sadness about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.
Be gay? Sleaze! Be gay and get married? DEATH WILL SOON FOLLOW! Gays can’t help but be hedonistic and do drugs, are rampantly unfaithful, unhappy and DIE! Evidence? Who cares about that? Coroner’s reports? Who needs them? Secrets are being kept! That’s what gays’ families do!
But hold on a minute. I’m gay. I’ve been sleazy in my time, but since when has a consensual sex life a bad thing for anyone – straight or gay. I’m also married, and I haven’t died yet. I’ve been married for nearly 4 years, been together with the same man for nearly 8, but I’m confused what this ‘happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships’ is. Where did it come from? Is it spread round the watercoolers at the Daily HateMail? Was it something Tony Blair evangelised about one day when drunk?
Enough. This vile homophobia must be smashed. Complain about this odious cow to the Press Complaints Commission here. Article 12 of the code has been pretty thoroughly breached, and she and the HateMail must pay a price. Far be it from me to suggest a flashmob outside the Daily HateMail, where we all tear up copies of the rag (but who’s with me?) A retweet from Charlie Brooker says it all I feel: