Charles Moore: Peter Tatchell a “crank”

5:25 pm - September 18th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    

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Here is Charles Moore, chair of the think-tank Policy Exchange, in the Daily Telegraph today:

The BBC and Channel 4, culturally hostile to religion anyway, happily aired the critics. Peter Tatchell, the energetic crank whose life’s work is to reduce all human history to the question of gay sex, was virtually declared infallible.

Nothing at all to say about the Vatican sex abuses cases – it’s all Tatchell’s fault for being such a “crank”.

Nice bit of homophobia there – I doubt most Tories will even raise an eyebrow though.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

Is this the same Peter “I’m not a gay rights activist, I’m a human rights activist” Tatchell, that reduces everything to gay sex?

Pretty poor, Sunny. You can do better than that.

Far be it from me to criticise Saint Peter of Tatchell (I actually hold him in fairly high regard), but he has been somewhat omnipresent – and ‘record-skipping-on-track’ – of late.

I expect that gets on the tits of most right-wingers, Catholic or otherwise!

In a sane society there would be no chance of a ridiculous, pompous, self-important, absurdly vain fantasist like Charles Moore ever being given the chance to write a newspaper column. The man is a ridiculous clown.

“Nice bit of homophobia there – I doubt most Tories will even raise an eyebrow though.”

Well, I’d have to say there is a lot of admiration for Peter, even if people disagree with his views, across the political spectrum. Jesus Christ, even Peter Hitchens respects his bravery.

I agree no one should be off limits…

But, Christ, Charles Moore narks me so much I’d probably defend Lucifer from him. Or George Osborne.

Charles Moore was a “ridiculous, pompous, self-important, absurdly vain fantasist “ when he was a young man, so no surprise that he is the same in old age.

He was an old fogy at 19. And like all Conservative reactionaries he has this obsession with censoring people he does not agree with. He would have enjoyed the culture of Pravda.

There is a wonderful unselfconscious irony in Moore’s criticism, I must say.

I wonder whether he’s paid his TV license fee yet?

>Peter Tatchell, the energetic crank whose life’s work is to reduce all human history to the question of gay sex, was virtually declared infallible.

Much as I loathe Charles Moore, a find that a very accurate and funny statement.

Peter Tatchell and Charles Moore – a couple made in heaven. Or perhaps not.

Read Tatchell’s true position on child abuse here:

BYLINE: Peter Tatchell.
LENGTH: 480 words

ROS Coward (Why Dares to Speak says nothing useful, June 23) thinks it is “shocking” that Gay Men’s Press has published a book, Dares To Speak, which challenges the assumption that all sex involving children and adults is abusive. I think it is courageous.

The distinguished psychologists and anthropologists cited in this book deserve to be heard. Offering a rational, informed perspective on sexual relations between younger and older people, they document examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal, beneficial and enjoyable by old and young alike.

Prof Gilbert Herdt points to the Sambia tribe of Papua New Guinea, where all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood. Far from being harmed, Prof Herdt says the boys grow up to be happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers.

The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.

While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.

Peter Tatchell.
Rockingham Street,
London SE1.

LOAD-DATE: June 26, 1997


That’s not Tatchell’s true position on child abuse, he’s talking about consensual sex.

Some people (usually men unfortunately for my gender) struggle with the concept of consent, which ends up poisoning the entirety of their discourse on matters of sex. To them, sex is something to be taken, when sex happens, the man has won. In their eyes sexual abuse/rape merely becomes the most extreme method of “getting sex”.
Google “PUA” to find a large selection of such fellas, or Google toxic masculinity to see a number of analysis’s on their mindset.

In short by posting Tatchell’s thoughtful and nuanced statement as if is should be completely damning on the face of it says more about resistor’s character than Peter’s.

In a sane society there would be no chance of a ridiculous, pompous, self-important, absurdly vain fantasist like Peter Tatchall ever being given the chance to write a newspaper column. The man is a ridiculous clown.

Jimbo, you’re not really saying anything there except “I don’t like Peter Tatchell” and “I know how to copy AND paste”.

15. James from Durham

It is idiotic and naive to talk about consensual sex between adults and children, at least in our society. The relative power of the two parties in the “relationship” makes any talk of consent meaningless. Thus, while I may agree with some of PT’s criticisms of the Pope and Robert Mugabe, I would like to keep my distance from him.

Was Peter Tatchel on thre anti pope march?
This article was scathing of it.

The Guardian letter cited above by Resistor may give the wrong impression. After all, it was edited by the newspaper without my knowledge or consent, excluding some key qualifications and explanations – which I set out below.

The idea that I advocate paedophilia is laughable, sick, untrue and defamatory. I do not and never have.

Dares to Speak was an academic book published in 1997, authored by
professors, anthropologists, psychologists, a Dutch senator and a
former editor of a Catholic newspaper. It questioned ages of consent
and whether all sex between children and adults is necessarily
harmful. It discussed the balance between giving young people sexual rights and protecting them against abuse. This is an entirely legitimate issue to discuss.

I do not condone adults having sex with children. My Guardian letter about this book was in defence of free speech and open debate about the issue, in opposition to those who said that the book and the debate it generated should not happen and should be closed down. I was against calls for censorship. Even if Dares to Speak is entirely wrong, in a free society its authors have a right to be published and heard.

My Guardian letter cited examples of Papuan tribes and some of my
friends who had sex with adults while they were still children, but
who do not feel they were harmed. I was not endorsing their viewpoint
but merely stating that they had a different perspective from the
mainstream one about inter-generational sex. They have every right for
their perspective to be heard. If they say they were not harmed, we
should respect that (while also recognising that many people are
harmed by early sexual experiences).

My Guardian letter did say very clearly that paedophilia is
“impossible” to condone – meaning that I don’t condone it.

Here’s an example of what I wrote in the Irish Independent two years ago:

Irish Independent – 10 March 2008

“The time has come for a calm, rational debate about the age of
consent. It should be premised on four aims. First, protecting young
people against sex abuse. Second, empowering them to make wise,
responsible sexual choices. Third, removing the legal obstacles to
earlier, more effective sex education. Fourth, ensuring better
contraception and condom provision to prevent unwanted pregnancies and
abortions and to cut the spread of sexual infections like HIV.”

You can see that I made protecting young people against sex abuse my
first priority.

I have said similar things in many other articles and interviews.

See this Guardian article, published in September last year:

It is true that I support reducing the legal consent age to 14. But I
support 14 in order to end the criminalisation of the many young
people who have sexual contact with each other from this age onwards.
More than half of all British teenagers have their first sexual
experience (not necessarily full intercourse) at around the age of 14.
I do not advocate them having sex at this early age. It is best if
they wait. But I don’t think that consenting 14 years olds should be
dragged to court and threatened with prison. I certainly do not
endorse adults having sex with young people aged 14.

My critics may disagree with me on the age of consent, but I have
advocated a clear ethical stance and moral framework, which stresses
sex with mutual consent, respect and fulfilment. My arguments and
articles are not about abusing young people but protecting them.
That’s my motive.

I hope this clarifies and reassures you.

Best wishes, Peter Tatchell

So why did Tatchell contribute a chapter to this book?


The contents and contributors of The Betrayal of Youth:

Chapter 1: ‘Incest’ by Clive Coliman: Described as “An ardent supporter of the children’s rights movement.”

Chapter 2: ‘Child Pornography and Erotica’ by Richard Green: Illustrator for the Paedophile Information Exchange magazine under the pseudonym “Dominik”

Chapter 3: ‘Child Prostitution’ by Warren Middleton of P.I.E. Chapter 4: ‘Gender Differences’ by Liz Holtom and Kathy Challis: both from the anti-Christian Peace News.

Chapter 5: ‘Power and Consent’ by Eric Presland: Homosexual activist. Contributed also to the American paedophile book “The Age Taboo.”

Chapter 6: ‘Love and Let Love’ by Tuppy Owens, Editor of the Sex Maniac’s Diary, and Tom O’Carroll: ex-Chairman of P.I.E. who was convicted in 1981 of conspiracy to corrupt public morals by sending out a paedophile contact list.

Chapter 7: ‘Children and Sex’ by Fr Michael Ingram: Catholic priest, defender of paedophilia.

Chapter 8: ‘The Paedophiles’ by Beatrice Faust: militant feminist & civil libertarian.

Chapter 9: ‘Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent’ by Peter Tatchell.

Chapter 10: ‘Ends and Means: How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable?’ by Roger Moody of Peace News: “One of the most outspoken advocates of children’s rights in Britain .” Well-documented as a ubiquitous paedophile intellectual.

Chapter 11: ‘Socialism, Class, and Children’s Rights’ by John Lindsay: “ardent supporter of children’s rights.” Member of the Socialist Workers’ Party. Homosexual activist, hates the institution of the family.

Chapter 12: ‘Childhood Sexuality and Paedophilia: Some Questions Answered’ by Warren Middleton of P.I.E.

Chapter 13: ‘The Oppression of the Young: An Inside Perspective’ by Jeff Vernon: Involved in Gay Youth Movement and Campaign for Homosexual Equality.

Appendix 1: ‘P.I.E., from 1980 Until its Demise in 1985? by Steven A. Smith: ex-chairman of P.I.E. Fled to Holland in 1984, became “active in the Dutch crusade for children’s rights,” was deported back to the UK in 1991 and sentenced to 18 months for sending indecent articles through the post.

Appendix 2: ‘The Uranians’ by Timothy d’Arch Smith: Bookseller. Author of “Love in Earnest.”

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Charles Moore slurs Peter Tatchell as an "energetic crank"

  2. Nicolas Redfern

    RT @libcon: Charles Moore slurs Peter Tatchell as an "energetic crank"

  3. Martin Coxall

    RT @libcon: Charles Moore slurs Peter Tatchell as an "energetic crank"

  4. Paul Nolan

    Charles Moore: Peter Tatchell a “crank” | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon

  5. Dane

    Charles Moore: Peter Tatchell a “crank” | Liberal Conspiracy

  6. Ryan Bestford

    @PeterTatchell reduces 'all human history to the question of gay sex' – (via @LibCon)

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