- Bishop Hill blog - Clause 28 revisited.
What can one say about the proposal to prosecute parents who keep their children from school during LGBT History Month? Bishop Hill, in the linked article, wonders;
...if Cameron's Cuddly Conservatives have actually got the balls to bring Clause 28 in again...
The answer to that is "stop wondering." Of course they haven't. Nor do I think they should. These are matters unmeet for punishment and legislators should keep their noses out. Sexual ethics (like all moral questions) are best left to families, civil society and the remaining fragments of the churches. Nor do I agree with Bishop Hill's commenter, Tristan, who suggests it's unwise to raise this issue in;
...an area with a high muslim population and a high white working class
population, both groups not generally noted for their tolerance of
I don't claim to speak for Muslims. I have only one Muslim friend and I can't say his religion much influences his life. I don't think gays bother him though. Yes, the Koran is as trenchant on the subject as the Bible. It's clear that Allah and Jehovah both abominate homosexuals, but few of their followers seem to care quite as much as They do. And the ones who do care are usually people one would not much miss from one's social circle. I have seen my Muslim friend behaving affably around people who must have been pinging even the most rudimentary gaydar.
As for the white working class, however, I venture confidently to say they are generally pretty tolerant. At the risk of offending my feminist readers, I would go so far as to suggest that the attitude of most straight working class males is "..all the more women for us..." For that matter, working class women seem to value their gay friends as much as anyone else. Mrs P. trendily had one as a girl in the 70s. He plotted with her the tender trap into which I fell so willingly all those years ago. Everyone knew he was gay. I dare say he took some ribbing (though not nearly as much as I did for aspiring to be an intellectual). The truth was that nobody gave a damn - quite rightly so.
Tolerance, however, is not what the ruling classes now want. They want positive approval, or at least they want - in token of their power - total submission to the idea of approval. I suspect that heterosexual attitudes to gay sex mirror fairly accurately homosexual attitudes to straight sex. "Eugh", pretty much sums it up, in both cases, which seems fair enough to me. Human sexual desire is rich in the variety of its expression and "eugh" may well be our reaction to many sexual practices of which we are nonetheless completely tolerant. Tolerance is necessary for civilised society. Approval is not. Why would a healthy person even need such approval? If I am not seeking to interfere in what you do, why would you raise it with me and demand that I endorse it? It seems impolite, to say the least, if not impertinent.
Bishop Hill is on the money, however, when he speaks of the motivation of the educators;
Children, they believe should be taught to think like bureaucrats, which is to say rarely, uncreatively and only in a progessive, left wing manner.
He is right. This discussion is not about sexual ethics. It is about power. The British State believes that it is the proper fount of moral values. Leaving aside the ethics of that for now, let's be practical. Nothing in history suggests that such a tainted source can be trusted.
Mrs P., her sister and I were discussing the tragedy of British education as we drove back from lunch today, passing one of our old schools in the process. This weekend we are in the area where all three of us grew up - far far behind Labour lines in the North. We were feeling sorry for the many thousands of children, just such as we once were, currently being denied the chance to enjoy their lives to the full by defective local schools. This story came up in the course of that discussion as failing our personal litmus test for education. Done properly, we agreed, education is not about being taught what to think, but how to think. When schools and education authorities try to do do the former, they will generally do more harm than good.