Magazine article The Spectator

Mean Hearted

Magazine article The Spectator

Mean Hearted

Article excerpt

You're not a Conservative, Leanda. You're just not,' a friend of many years informed me after I'd told him I voted Conservative on 1 May. He obviously felt rather let down. `Well,' I said doubtfully, 'I suppose I'm not a Conservative party member, but I've always voted for them.' Whether I do so again remains to be seen. The Conservative party is behaving like an embittered ex-spouse. Its MPs rake over old arguments and cast around for people to blame for their empty political lives. There is a meanness at the heart of the party. Perhaps that meanness was always there, but now the party wears it on its sleeve.

The leadership election was not an edifying spectacle in any respect. But I particularly disliked the whispering about William Hague's sexuality. Not because I don't enjoy gossip (I do, I do), but because I'm so depressed by the sordid homophobia it drew attention to. I really don't believe the majority of people in this country would mind being represented by a homosexual MP, or even a homosexual PM. I've had heterosexual shires' MPs asking me over dinner, `How could they represent the family?' Perfectly well, I would think. They are human beings, aren't they? They have parents and siblings and are a part of the wider community, like everyone else.

Perhaps a homosexual MP would be more likely to try and lower the homosexual age of consent to 16 - a move I would disapprove of. But heterosexual MPs have already liberalised our abortion laws to a degree I find quite unacceptable. And actually the candidate whom I found most distasteful during the last election was Adrian Rodgers, head of something called the Conservative Family Institute. He appeared to be one of those Christians who miss the entire point of Christianity. You could just seem him pinning triangles on homosexuals and stoning women for adultery. …

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