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Home > Politics

Tebbit gets anal

When the whole country is panicking about its newly discovered obesity epidemic and everyone is rushing to blame food manufacturers, advertisers, lack of exercise and Tessa Jowell, it takes an aging Tory peer to put things in perspective. So it was down to Lord Tebbit, speaking on the Today programme last week, to point out that the actual cause of childhood obesity is none of those things; no, the real root of the problem is buggery.

5 June 2004

When the whole country is panicking about its newly discovered obesity epidemic and everyone is rushing to blame food manufacturers, advertisers, lack of exercise and Tessa Jowell, it takes an aging Tory peer to put things in perspective. So it was down to Lord Tebbit, speaking on the Today programme last week, to point out that the actual cause of childhood obesity is none of those things; no, the real root of the problem is buggery.

That's right. Gay men having sex are the cause of fat people. Lord Tebbit's reasoning had two main components: firstly, same-sex relationships lead to a breakdown in family life which causes families to stop eating together which means women are more likely to go out to work instead of cook for their children so, logically.... children eat more.

His second and more persuasive argument can be summarised thus: obesity is an epidemic. AIDS is also an epidemic. Buggery causes AIDS. Therefore buggery causes obesity. QED.

And the Government are implicated as well, because it is doing "everything it can do to promote buggery". We must confess that this is not a Government promotion we were previously aware of - certainly there are very few - if any - official posters saying "buggery is great!" But the Government's use of taxpayers' money to promote anal sex must surely be frowned upon, especially now that we know that buggery is directly linked to obesity.

Or should we perhaps just consider, just for a moment, that there is the tiniest possibility that Lord Tebbit's facts were not entirely based on medical insight, and that he might just have had a teensy-weensy smidgen of an ulterior motive for bringing the Civil Partnership bill into the discussion?

Because Lord Tebbit has always been a champion of, as he put it in 2002, "ordinary decent people," with an unwillingness to pander to "a few weirdos in Islington". His concern for ordinary decent people was highlighted in an interview with Sir David Frost a couple of years ago, when he said "if you go down to the pub and you say to people, do you think that homosexual couples should be allowed to adopt children? - oh boy, I can tell you the answer now."

Assuming he wasn't thinking of popping down to the Admiral Duncan, he probably means that the answer is 'no'. And so it all starts to make sense. Lord Tebbit believes Government policy should be formed according to the opinions found in working men's pubs (although this was not a strategy in evidence during the miners' strike). England's gay community can be boiled down to "a few weirdos in Islington" (Camden must be sighing with relief). With this socio-political starting point, his claim that gay sex causes fat children begins to sound quite moderate.

For the first time in his career Boris Johnson was the voice of reason in the discussion, as he laughed at Lord Tebbit down the telephone and finally giggled "I don't think you could say gay marriage is the root cause of obesity." Lord Tebbit jovially responded that he "wouldn't dream of suggesting that," apparently oblivious to the fact that he had just done so on live radio.

The Today programme should seriously consider giving him a regular slot, maybe doing Thought for the Day - we can't help but wonder what other revelations his unique outlook might lead to. Perhaps a homosexualist plot is the source of the violence in Iraq. Maybe the Civil Partnerships bill caused the breakdown in Tony Blair and Gordon Brown's marriage.

Who knows - buggery might even be to blame for Lord Tebbit's own descent into irreversible, unrelenting, bollocks-gibbering senility.



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