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Home > Culture and Society

Glad to be gay

The Tories put down their bargepole, swallow hard and embrace the pink vote

3 April 2004

This week saw another facelift for the Party formerly known as the queer-hating bastard Tories, with a summit dedicated to the needs of gay people. Even Michael Howard, once in favour of denying gay people civil rights and making them live in kennels, backed the event. Amongst the senior Tories present was Stephen Norris, who showed the Party’s new caring side with his observation that “Gay people aren't a race apart. Their sexual orientation is as irrelevant as their shoe size.” Despite the fact that shoe size is actually jolly relevant if you’re wearing a pair three sizes too small.

Norris, apparently confusing himself with Ken Livingstone, said “As Mayor, I am determined to make the capital a safer place for everyone regardless of their sexual orientation,” because “gays and lesbians are just as likely to be victims of crime as anyone else.”

However, letting gay people wander in the open like that is a clear threat to traditional Conservative values, and it was left to Ann Widdecombe to remind them of their priorities. “Here we are,” she said, “supposedly the party of the family. We are not offering a family summit, we are not offering a fathers separated from children summit, what we are actually offering is a homosexual summit.” For shame.

It remains to be seen whether the Conservative commitment to “fully represent” the needs of gay people will win them the fabled “pink vote” but they would do well to heed Ms Widdecombe lest in their enthusiasm they lose voters who belong to families. Not to mention that famous election clincher, the fathers-separated-from-children vote.



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