THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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The blame shifters

Iain Dale is not a Conservative

Iain Dale's Diary: Good Riddance to Mr Lardner.

There is no reason why a Conservative should not be homosexual or vice versa. A person's sexuality is politically irrelevant. So, per se, is a person's opinion about sexuality. So why are Iain Dale and Tory Rascal in such a tizz about the very conservative (but probably soon-to-be-ex-Conservative) Philip Lardner?

If he had suggested any legal consequences of his view that homosexuality is "not normal", that would be worthy of discussion. It would be outrageous for a parliamentary candidate to suggest, for example, that homosexuals should enjoy fewer civil rights or be subject once more to criminal penalties. Those days are gone and rightly so. That Lardner simply thinks homosexuality is "not normal" (whether you agree with him or not) is however irrelevant. He has observed, oddly, that;

Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another...

What's odd about it is the notion that homosexuality can ever be successfully "promoted." If you are not that way inclined, frankly I think it's pretty unlikely you are going to be talked into it. it's as unappealing a notion to those of another persuasion as that of heterosexual fun and games presumably is to gays. For that matter, sexual orientation is not binary. It's a long and at times strange continuum. Whether it's determined by nature or nurture is, pace Iain (for whom that science was settled by Freud) a matter of opinion, but where one falls upon it has little to do with choice. Others have no legitimate interest in your place on the continuum for so long as you only ever act upon it with a consenting adult partner.

That homosexuality exists in nature, is a matter to be taught in Biology. That it was once illegal is a matter to be taught in History. That homosexuals now enjoy equal rights is a matter to be taught in Civics. None of that amounts to "promotion," which is why Philp Lardner's observation is odd. As is his nostalgia for Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which referred scathingly to the notion of homosexuality as "a pretended family relationship."

I don't know Mr Lardner and I suspect I wouldn't like him much if I did. He has expressed some other old-fashioned views unlikely to commend him to the modern voter and I can't help but feel his local party was ill-advised to select him. But his opinions on this matter don't deserve the attention they are getting, not least from David Cameron. Indeed on one point, many of us would have been reassured if his leader had backed him. Freedom of speech is a conservative (and was once a Conservative) value, for which Iain is a strong and admirable advocate, except when homosexuality is the topic. Therefore I could wish that David Cameron, Iain and Tory Rascal would find it in them to agree with Lardner's statement that;

Christians (and most of the population) believe homosexuality to be somewhere between 'unfortunate' and simply 'wrong' and they should not be penalised for politely saying so

Normality and abnormality are themselves politically irrelevant. The desire to join a political party, let alone to run for office, is statistically far more "abnormal" than homosexuality. I hesitate to offer this as a reductio ad absurdam for fear it will be embraced by the Labour Party as policy, but stupidity is very normal, whereas high intelligence is not. Yet, who (apart from a desperate Gordon Brown) would take seriously a proposal to exclude atypically intelligent people from voting?

I forget which actor responded to congratulations on being the first black man to win some award by saying that race would cease to be a problem when it was "like different flavours of pizza; not even worth mentioning." I think Iain and Tory Rascal might usefully meditate on that wisdom. I have never troubled my readers with details of my sexuality and I don't propose (you will be relieved to know) to begin now. Not least because I don't seek your approval. On the contrary, if I may express myself in abnormally High Tory terms, it's none of your damned business so be off with you before I fetch my horsewhip.

The "gay rights" movement has triumphed and I, for one, am pleased. That it has yet to fade away is, I suspect, merely nostalgia. The erstwhile activists are simply not ready to leave the field of victory. Their lounging around on their laurels, however, is in danger of becoming counter-productive. The once-persecuted may even be at risk of becoming persecutors. Most of us in Britain take Mrs Patrick Campbell's classically liberal view that:

My dear, I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.

The religious Right in Britain has never enjoyed the influence it has in America. Nor have social conservatives generally (as witness Mrs Campbell's wisdom). There is a danger that Christians told they may not teach their children "the Word of God" may join forces with immigrants belonging to even more sexually conservative religions. If Iain and others insist on demanding active approval for their sexuality, they will awaken forces we can all - straight and gay - well do without.


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Mr Paine,
If a Muslim propositioned me to love Allah and hate my country I would in 2010 have the right to call him perverted in his attitude towards women and living a sexually repressed-obsessed life due to his father not being at home but a shell of a man. In 1970 I could have said this to a homosexual and wake him up to find his real self and not the one bourne of guilt and resentment. In 2010 your profession can make a fortune. In 2010 there are support networks for young people to pull them in deeper.
You say people are sexually fixed due to their genes, yet evidence shows people follow a whole gamut of sexual shades and desires, none being rigid and are hugely influenced within decades by culture, fashion and taste. No two people are alike. LGBT should be simply LGBTH to include the emerging Heterosexualised people because the thing they all have in common is the act of sex is their identity of who they are: somethingsexual. The idea that people act as a unit is a Socialist one, given preferential treatment so for example a Muslim can throw a shoe in someone's face and it is not an assult, yet it would be for a non-Muslim to do the very same act. The difference of course is intent, but that is the whole point, because people can veil intent by belonging, so a society of individuals becomes a world of double-thinkers for rewards unearned.
I have the same sypmpathy for the addictive nature of the paedophile, same-sex procurer, prostitute customer (and they would all rationalise what they did was love and better for the world), but they would not be near my kids as I would not leave alcohol around for an alcoholic. It is so easy to learn another's vice as testified by the deceased friends of drug addicts.


I am a lawyer but I wasn't in the 1970s. I was a law student in the second half of the decade though. I was always with Mrs Patrick Campbell on this subject so I have not changed my views with the laws. In this one respect, English laws have changed with my views. My only academic prize was for an essay supporting decriminalisation, actually. It has been implied - rather rudely and on zero evidence- by one of the commenters here that I might be concealing "homophobia" (we need a better word, as that one is as ugly as it is illiterate) beneath a "veneer of respectability". Let me tell a story that may convince him he owes me an apology.

As a student I worked on building sites in university vacations. One of the young workers was convicted of murder while I was there, having killed a homosexual who propositioned him outside a local disco (as they were called then). Every worker on the site was horrified at the verdict and told me that their friend was unlucky. They all said they would have done just the same thing; their manhood having been outraged by such an approach. These were ordinary good-hearted working class guys at the less intelligent end of the spectrum. I suspect their views were pretty typical of the lumpen proletariat of the time. I spent time explaining to them why their thinking was ridiculous. I began by pointing out that if propositioned by a girl they didn't fancy, they wouldn't kill her - they would just tell her to get lost (or perhaps even be kind enough to let her down gently). They agreed (these same guys would never swear in the presence of a woman and would knock down anyone who did). After verifying that I was not gay myself (which sadly would have negated my views in their eyes) they accepted (after a bit of discussion) that all they would have to say to a gay man who propositioned them was "No thanks, I prefer girls". They could then walk away with their heads held high and no question about their manhood. The conversation then turned to regretful talk of how their friend had earned an unnecessary life sentence. One labourer even went so far as to feel sorry for men so trapped by nature as never to enjoy the delights of heterosexual sex. I appreciate modern gays might find that offensive, but frankly it was huge progress given how the conversation started.

Now THAT was "homophobia"; It was real and it was recent and I am sure there are residues of such thinking after such a short time. I find it a bit offensive to denounce people who have objections based on religion, morality or anything else as if they were the equivalents of those guys who thought violence a reasonable response. It is a fact that homosexuality has been despised for most of human history in most cultures and is still despised in most human societies. Having a homosexual child is a blow to one of our deepest human needs - to propagate our DNA - and many societies in history have tried everything to eliminate it. We have finally noticed that even extreme violence doesn't work; that a homosexual's sexual urges are as strong as our own, and have decided accept them. We have decided as a society that there is no point in trying to suppress a phenomenon that is no practical threat. It is worth noting among all the powerful competing certainties here, that the Anglosphere's stance on this is as unusual as it is commendable. Homosexuality is as prevalent in Russia and China as anywhere else but it's not safe to be "out" by any means. The closer a society is to an agrarian past where the welfare of the old depending upon producing generations of strong young males to support them, the less likely it is to be tolerant - yet.

It's worth observing that, as England has a (statistically unproven) global reputation for having more gays than average, much of the world just thinks our legal stance is proof of Mme Cresson's stereotypical view.

Even back in the 1970s, such attitudes as those of my co-workers were confined to the uneducated. England was always inclined to turn a blind eye to homosexuality. If you read a biography of Oscar Wilde, you will find that, though he was so flamboyant even my father (who is convinced homosexuality was invented in the 1960s) could not have failed to notice, no action was ever taken (and none would ever have been taken) had he not been foolish enough to sue for libel. He was the author of his own destruction and right up to the arrest in the Cadogan Hotel, was being given ample chance by the authorities to flee to the Continent so they would not have to act against him. His libel suit was rather "homophobic", if you think about it, as the definition of defamation is the propagation of an untruth that would lower someone's reputation in the eyes of "a right thinking member of society".

The gay rights movement has achieved a lot in our lifetimes and we should be pleased. That doesn't mean there is any obligation to celebrate or even actively to approve of homosexuality. Nor should there be any obligation for anyone to act against their conscience by accommodating gays in their home (when hotels exclusively for gays are boasted about on tourism websites as proof of diversity), or by giving gays sexual counselling or by organising adoptions for them. Nor does it justify making "homophobia" an aggravating factor in criminal offences, so that a heterosexual's death or injury is now considered less serious in English law. That is wicked and plays into the hands of those who hanker for old certainties (or current certainties across most of the globe). It is very ill-advised of gay activists to press for "positive discrimination".


"No-one seems to have asked WHY Lardner was saying that homosexuals are abnormal."

Mr Paine I imagine is a lawyer. As such he has to protect himself here and speaks only of the prevailing legal winds. If we were in 1970 discussing this subject of sodomy he may have referred to the law then and the psycholocial diagnosis of the time that same sex attractions were nothing more than a dissasociation of affection in childhood manifesting in a fetish for a thing or person which is as curable, yet as resistant, as say a Jew, Christian, Muslim coming out into the light of reason.
But we are not in 1970 and it reminds me of the saying "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God". Rich men will not give up anything.


I speak of perception: the discernment of what is done in conscience as opposed to acts of unconscience thru hypnosis, intimidation and trauma. Children are very succeptable to the "Stockholm Syndrome" and need protecting from those so easily 'outraged' to cover their tracks.

As there are healthy appetites there are unhealthy ones. You do not know this? Scientific evidence abounds from greater HIV inferctions, drugs and suicides.

Libertarians pride themeseves of relative cultural values upholding a moral vacuousness as if it were a stance: "... neither homosexuality or even a certain degree of paedophilia would be regarded as unwholesome". Just because adult and child abuse was institutionalised, as then was slavery, does not make it appropriate for one or more men to apply on their adopted boys at home.

"Harming others is wrong," another maxim of the Liberterian without knowing what "harm" is. Harm is the destruction of perception, to make blind so that ignorance becomes the truth and all children shall follow what is called halal or haram. Communists have 'Ground Zero' sending dissidents into slavery, Islamists have 'Ground Forever' sentencing apostates to death. Children in schools are desensitised to perverse sexual acts as love, made to feel inadequate if they had not done or been done to.

The Libertarian is the cognitive bi-sexual, letting themselves be screwed by anyone in return for plaudits of appreciation. The Useful Idiot for any extremist and the first to go once they are ensconced.

"...there is nothing wrong in any consensual action..." said the sadist to the masochist.

The realisation that a person is a slave is the first step to freedom. When they are proud of being slaves, there is no hope but more outlandish circles of rationalisation and man-boy love will again regain it's place for the elite if it has not done already.

Graeme Thompson

The concept of 'promotion of homosexuality' refers to the campaign to normalise it. Clause 28 came into being because it was thought inappropriate, to say the least, that homosexuals should have access to little boys in schools to teach them homosexuality was normal. Now they do, and the Conservative Party has cowered before the BBC's successful abuse of its propaganda power to demonise anyone opposed as 'bigots'.

Clause 28 came about because in the 80's looney left Labour Councils such as Islington were indoctrinating schoolchildren to accept that homosexuality was normal (and as was subsequently revealed in the 90's, during this time widespread, systematic sexual abuse of boys in Islington's care was taking place).


You speak of wholesome and unwholesome as if value judgements were scientifically-proven truths (and even those change). You clearly think that your moral strictures are correct, regardless of the fact they are only your moral strictures.

Lets look at this historically. In the original democratic societies of ancient Greece neither homosexuality or even a certain degree of paedophilia would be regarded as unwholesome. Yet in contemporary Rome, they may have led to a death sentence. Why did we adopt one line of thinking, rather than the other? Historical happenstance, pure and simple. And on that you base your view of what is right and wrong. Harming others is wrong, and that would include taking advantage of children sexually in most libertarian definitions. But there is nothing wrong in any consensual action, unless one of those involved judges it to be. You are not the judge of others actions, merely your own. Anything else is tyranny.

And alchohol is most likely to corrupt those who do buy their first drink - those who are introduced to it by their parents for example tend to drink more responsibly.


He could, he did and he said so. Your logic also extends to me and to you. Do you hear me complain?

Iain also applauded his Party's action in suspending a member for expressing an opinion he disagreed with and suggested he should be thrown out if he did it again. He suggested, in effect, that Lardner was unfit to be a member of the Conservative Party because he had a certain view of homosexuals, which fell well short of suggesting any negative legal consequences.

While expressing no support for Lardner or his opinions, I offered the opinion that someone with such an attitude to free speech is not truly a Conservative. It was damned sporting of him to link to it though and I entirely agree (indeed I think I said much the same in the post) with Steve Cass's comment above.

I have met Iain Dale and I like him. I have no problem with his politics or anything else about him (except his bizarre support for West Ham). I just wish he would not join the political correctness wolf pack whenever homosexuality is discussed.


***I forget which actor responded to congratulations on being the first black man to win some award by saying that race would cease to be a problem when it was "like different flavours of pizza; not even worth mentioning." I think Iain and Tory Rascal might usefully meditate on that wisdom.***

If you truly believe that and are not just saying it to give yourself a veneer of respectability, why didn't you add Lardner to the list of people who might usefully meditate on the wisdom of such things not even being worth mentioning?

As far as I'm aware, Dale didn't demand an expression of opinion from Lardner. Lardner volunteered it. It's clearly Lardner who has the unhealthy obsession with people's sexuality, not Dale. Yet you expect to be taken seriously when you express astonishment that a homosexual should object to being called abnormal.

No-one seems to have asked WHY Lardner was saying that homosexuals are abnormal. Are we to assume that he merely mentioned it in passing? Or that he suffers from a form of Tourette's Syndrome? What other reason could he have had for calling them abnormal than to encourage disapproval of them? Well, we live in a free country so he can say what he likes. But Lardner was also a politiciam seeking election on the coat tails of the Tory Party so that party gets to pick and choose who represents it and, more importantly, voters (of whom Dale is one) have the right to judge his fitness to be a politician based on his opinions.

If you hold that Lardner has the right to judge the character of people he disapproves of, then you must also hold that Dale has the right to judge Lardner's character.

The apparently oppressive anti-discriminatory laws wouldn't exist were there not people like Lardner ready to judge people on their nature rather than their lives. Just as we wouldn't have needed the Race Relations Act had there not been idiots who felt the need to express honest opinions by putting up NO BLACKS signs in windows.

Well Lardner has chosen to judge homosexuals on their nature and he has been judged on his nature. What's sauce for the goose...

If Lardner believes homosexuals are beyond the pale, why can't Dale believe that Lardner is too?


"There's a world of difference between a consensual act between adults..."
You waved your wand and made them all equal. There are wholesome and unwholesome acts even among consenting adults yet you no longer know what is perverse.

Disease and despair follows the least moral up to the doors of the most moral. Children are only corrupted by consenting adults who were corrupted. Kids don't buy their first drinks.

steve cass

Thank you for your excellent article - I concur with it in entirety. At least by signposting us to your article Iain Dale shows that he can take people who disagree with him and even happy for their views to be more widely read. I agree he has ablind spot where homosexuality is concerned but otherwise I find him a liberal conservative of sense.

Young Mr. Brown

If I were a member of the Tory Party, I'd be worried. Not only that they allowed someone as accident prone as Philip Lardner to be selected as a parliamentary candidate, but also because of the sheer strangeness of the utterances of so many of the people concerned. Whose utterances were the most bizarre? Those of Philip Lardner, Iain Dale, or Andrew Fulton? It's difficult to decide.

It seems to me that Mr Lardner was not advocating any particularly problematical policies - he merely expressed unfashionable opinions. There is no evidence at all that he favoured policies that were seriously out of line with those of his party. Iain Dale thinks that Mr Lardner holds profoundly unconservative views? Is Iain Dale sane?

The only policy point where Mr. Lardner left himself open to criticism was his support of section 28. And to be honest, while section 28 was (IMHO) ill-conceived, it was considerably less dangerous and ill-conceived (as I have argued here) than many people think, and certainly less dangerous and ill-conceived than much of the legislation that we have had in the past 13 years.

(I doubt if I would be exaggerating to say that we have probably had a few thousand more ill-conceived pieces of legislation under Brown and Blair. After all, we've had over 3000 new criminal in their time.)

Reality Check

If the Scottish candidate had attacked Christianity and
Catholicism in particular, the Gay Mafia including the
intolerant Dale would be applauding him.
Fortunately most of us have seen through the likes of
many in the "freedom loving" libertarian front
Just another self interesr branch of the chattering classes.nuisance and boring,little else.

They've had their chance ,lets move on.

Noisy Majority


I'm not sure how you found this site, but it sounds like you've been reading too many tabloids.

There's a world of difference between a consensual act between adults and the exploitation of children.

Libertarians also draw a clear line between thoughts and actions. In a civilised society, only the latter can be punished, and only when the rights of others have been infringed.

However, you may sleep easier knowing that the libertarians, who will undoubtedly come to power on 7 May, favour a small government that has no interest in promoting one lifestyle choice over another.

Indeed, we would dismantle the tools of influence, such as state schooling.

With no small measure of regret, we would also do away with the BBC. It produces some of the best television in the world, but it is both dangerous and immoral. We would hope that the public would choose to freely part with their money in exchange for high quality, commercial-free television.

Above all, libertarians respect the rule of law, while restricting the law to its proper domain. We will all be much safer if there is ever a libertarian at the helm.


What's odd about it is the notion that homosexuality can ever be successfully "promoted."
Just like paedophillia cannot be promoted?
That's a relief Mr Paine. I was worried about child porn on the internet affecting how people then went out and looked at children.
I will feel much safer after the election with a Libertarian at the helm.

"Christians (and most of the population) believe homosexuality to be somewhere between 'unfortunate' and simply 'wrong' and they should not be penalised for politely saying so"

He apparently went on to say

"The current ‘law’ is wrong and must be overturned in the interests of freedom as well as Christian values."

He's half right. Religious views, Christian or otherwise, should have no special influence on the laws of a modern secular state. However, freedom is more than strong enough a reason to overturn all anti-discrimination laws, including the recently introduced 'protection' for homosexuals.

"The "gay rights" movement has triumphed and I, for one, am pleased. That it has yet to fade away is, I suspect, merely nostalgia"

The most important triumph was the removal of active discrimination by the state, such as the barbaric authoritarian intervention that led to the death of Alan Turing, who should have been venerated as a national hero.

The state should also get out of the marriage business, leaving it entirely to religious authorities, who should be free to decide who they will and will not marry.

B&B owners, like any other businessmen, should be free to refuse trade according to whatever reprehensible prejudices they may hold.

In today's Britain, the businesses of bigots will suffer, and their lives will be poorer, for their refusal to treat people as individuals. That is enough.

Brian, follower of Deornoth

Amazing how intolerant those demanding tolerance are, isn't it?

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