Thatcher’s homophobia: why have we glossed over this legacy?


2:27 pm - April 14th 2013

by Claude Carpentieri    


      Share on Tumblr

In the flurry of hagiographies and tributes to Margaret Thatcher, her long list of heinous political acts seems to have been ENTIRELY forgotten. In particular, the way her rampant homophobia became integral to British law.

Which, you will understand, hardly sits at ease with the relentless campaign to portray her as Holy. They may tell you that she was stubborn and, if they really fancy rocking the boat, that “some people saw her as fairly divisive”, but that Thatcher was behind Britain’s first new anti-gay law since 1885 is so utterly embarrassing that chances are you won’t hear about it.

Like human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell writes, “At the Conservative party conference in 1987 Mrs Thatcher mocked people who defended the right to be gay, insinuating that there was no such right.

During her rule, arrests and convictions for consenting same-sex behaviour rocketed, as did queer bashing violence and murders. This backlash coincided with her successive “family values” and “Victorian values” campaigns, which urged a return to traditional morality and family life. In fact this is what she publicly said:

Too often, our children don’t get the education they need—the education they deserve…

Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life—yes, cheated.

Which is how, aided by a hysterical tabloid campaign about “the loonie left” and “gay lobbies” along with talks of AIDS as “the gay plague” and the barefaced lie that “GAY PORN BOOKS [were being] READ IN SCHOOLS“, the Thatcher government steamrollered in the homophobic Section 28.

The Act, which remained part of the statute book until Labour scrapped it in 2003, was as controversial and ambiguous as it was soaked in hate and deep prejudice.

In one fell swoop, Section 28 crucially advocated censorship – preventing local authorities and schools from discussing (“promoting”, the hideous wording was) homosexuality or engaging in anti-bullying activities, sneered at “pretended family relationships”, and added insult to injury by linking homosexuality to “the spread of disease”.

It is almost impossible to believe that such an ignorant piece of legislation was part of the British legislative framework and that half the Tory party was still defending it tooth and nail as recently as 2003.

Nevertheless, caught between rising homophobic violence and intolerance, and the calls in favour of tackling discrimination and promoting acceptance, Thatcher made it very clear where she stood.

No coincidence that, shortly after Section 28 became law, the offices of a gay newspaper, Capital Gay, were burnt down and lesbian and gay helplines reported a threefold increase in “queer bashing”.

Which is why, when the current hysteria over Maggie’s beatification subsides a little, hopefully the world will manage to remember how such a detestably homophobic piece of legislation was entirely in line with Thatcher and her character. Now hopefully buried forever.

    Share on Tumblr   submit to reddit  


About the author
Claude is a regular contributor, and blogs more regularly at: Hagley Road to Ladywood
· Other posts by


Story Filed Under: Blog ,Conservative Party ,Equality ,Westminster

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.


Reader comments


*sigh* you seem to forget that in this enlightened time, we know about aids, but gay men (I’m one) practiced complete unsafe sex before aids as there was no come back! (No pun intended) Yes section 28 was poor, but Thatcher voted to decriminalise homosexuality, AIDS was terrifying and devastated the Gay community until safe Sex became the norm and medicine caught up, AIDS fear lent to the queer bashing since at the time there was no cure, ill agree that she wasn’t overtly gay friendly but to blame all that on thatcher really does look “Looney-Left”

If you think Tory homophobia during the Thatcher years has “been ENTIRELY forgotten”, you clearly haven’t read much of the coverage.

3. Giant Gerbil

I agree, it was an appalling example of bigotry in action.

I don’t think it was quite as bad as covertly sending in SAS military advisors to train Khmer Rouge insurgents though – that one doesn’t seem to even get a mention nowadays.

well if you look at her policies as they occurred the one central fact is taking the easy option and ignoring the long term effects its little more than petty populism.

but have we really had a political leader with courage since Atlee

I was a personal victim of Section 28, and I know that a number of my friends were as well. At my school, I was bullied for being gay (or as I wasn’t officially ‘out’ for being perceived to be gay). The school was aware that was the issue, but did nothing to support it, although I sensed one teacher was at least sympathetic to the situation. It was a horribly low period of my life, and as I got older and heard the debates in the House of Commons and some of the views expressed by MPs in the chamber on such subjects, it filled me with horror. Oddly, when I was younger I’d accepted my sexuality very easily – it was only when I began to be exposed to the bigotry and lack of support that it began to have a very bad effect upon my mental state. To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, Section 28 “cheated me of a sound start in life — yes, cheated” – her claim that Section 28 would protect children in fact had the opposite effect on those who were LGBT, leaving them exposed, and without any sort of support.

6. Quick question

If the effects of section 28 are even half as bad as the OP says can somebody explain why it took Labour six years to get around to doing something about it?

7. the a&e charge nurse

Thatch was just toeing the party line – in other words she was simply promoting plain old religious intolerance.

According to Pinochet’s mate ‘The fundamental reason of being put on earth is so to improve your character that you are fit for the next world’.
http://www.margaretthatcher.org/document/2193F2214D8E4842A573084E7DFCEB16.pdf

8. Robin Levett

@gg #3:

I don’t think it was quite as bad as covertly sending in SAS military advisors to train Khmer Rouge insurgents though

Unsurprisingly, since they didn’t do so; the evidence is that their orders were to train only Sihanouk’s and Sann’s troops, who were not Khmer Rouge. Is there any evidence they disobeyed orders?

@6 Quick question

“If the effects of section 28 are even half as bad as the OP says can somebody explain why it took Labour six years to get around to doing something about it?”

You’re so keen to stick up for Tory prejudice that you forgot to do your homework.

Labour actually tried to repeal Section 28 several times between their first and second term but a House of Lords packed with Tory peers kept vetoeing the idea. That’s why it took over five years.

In the Scottish Parliament it was one of the very first things the then Labour government achieved. And in fact, within less than a year, Section 28 was successfully repealed in Scotland.

10. Giant Gerbil

@ 8 Robin Levett.

Thus a coalition government was formed, dominated by the Khmer Rouge and including two non-communist factions, even though they controlled hardly any territory other than border enclaves. Its nominal head was Prince Norodom Sihanouk, who actually spent most of his time in North Korea of all places, but despite this fig leaf the military muscle in the bush war was provided by the Khmer Rouge.

Throughout the 1980s, this body held Cambodia’s seat in the United Nations, supported by the United States, Britain and other European nations, China and pro-Western Asian countries. The Vietnamese-backed government — which included Khmer Rouge defectors — was recognised only by the Soviet bloc.

“That’s right guv, we never sold no weapons to the Gestapo, we only sold ’em to the SS!”

“Ok, that’s alright then, on your way.”

http://blogs.reuters.com/global/2010/07/30/cocktails-with-khmer-rouge-killers/

11. Quick question

claude,

and your very quick to make assumptions. I’m neither a fan of section 28 or a Tory. I just thought that, given Labour’s seeming lack of urgency on repealing it you might have been overstating its importance and impact.

Thank you for pointing out instead that the reason for the time taken to repeal it was because of the obstructive nature of the House of Lords rather than Labour giving the repeal a low priority.

12. Shinsei1967

“In the flurry of hagiographies and tributes to Margaret Thatcher, her long list of heinous political acts seems to have been ENTIRELY forgotten.”

Typical LC hyperbole.

I’ve linked to a far more balanced and nuanced view on Thatcher, Section 28 and whether she was homophobic. It’s from the Guardian published a few days ago.

Conclusion seems to be that Section 28 was a disgraceful piece of legislation but that Thatcher was almost certainly not homophobic, let alone “rampantly” so. She was, after all, one of few Tory MPs to vote in favour of decriminalisation in 1967

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/apr/10/margaret-thatcher-poster-girl-gay-rights

@12

Have you actually read the article you linked to?

It includes quotes such as:

Most symbolically, they say, she was one of the few Tories to vote for the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Whoop-dee-doo. One of the arguments of that time was that gay people should be free from threat of prison so they could “seek treatment”. More telling is the fact that when Lady Young led the campaign against Tony Blair’s scrapping of section 28 in 2000, Thatcher made her support known by sitting next to Young in the Lords for the vote.

:”when it comes to LGBT issues, to see Thatcher as anything other than a poster girl for the wrongs done to gay people is a wilful delusion.”

and

“This makes it more despicable that she was willing to throw us – including kids like me, desperate for help in 1988 when section 28 came in – to the wolves for the sake of a few poll points. What she did do was inflict huge damage on a community that desperately needed support, and smashed down any possibility of supporting confused children or educating them about how to not catch HIV.

And much more.

For the record, all the news programmes and appraisals of the last few days, including a 90-min long edition of Newsnight entirely on Thatcher on the night she died mentioned a load of things but NOT a word on Section 28, even though it was massive news at the time.

14. Shatterface

AIDS was terrifying and devastated the Gay community until safe Sex became the norm and medicine caught up, AIDS fear lent to the queer bashing since at the time there was no cure, ill agree that she wasn’t overtly gay friendly but to blame all that on thatcher really does look “Looney-Left”

Thatcher made it impossible to counter ignorance and prejudice because to attempt that would be to risk being accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality.

And whether she was personally homophobic or just an opportunist riding the homophobia bandwaggon doesn’t matter: the effect was the same.

Clause 28 was perfectly sent up by Kit and the Widow at the time with their song ‘Burn The Faggots’:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvSEUyGxIxE

You may also like to check out David Cameron’s dubious history of voting against any repeal of Clause 28…

I don’t get this….. I am not anti – gay. lesbian, black, white, rainbow, male, female, transgender, poor, rich, or even upper/lower/middle class….

I can imagine that, now Mrs Margaret Thatcher is dead, there must be a few other anti somethings of which I am not even aware, jumping up and down waving their flag at her coffin. WHY? Whatever doctrine she was following at that time and the effects it had on communities etc (and I remember it well enough), she was acting to save/advance/rescue or whatever, Britain.

Britain is bigger than you. Or me. Or whatever minority group you belong to. Stop taking Mrs Thatcher’s actions as being a personal slap in the face. It isn’t now and it wasn’t then. Grow up and take responsibility for your own anger at your own life choices – don’t pass it off on to a dead person just because you can’t handle life as it is.

17. Shinsei1967

Claude:

“Have you actually read the article you linked to?”

1) You’ll recall that I mentioned the article said Section 28 was disgraceful. So not sure why you are re-quoting my actual point back to me.

2) “One of the arguments of that time was that gay people should be free from threat of prison so they could “seek treatment”.” Any evidence that this was Thatcher’s view ? It may have been, I certainly don’t know, but the article offered no evidence. So for you to presume this was Thatcher’s view is simply prejudice.

3) I notice you don’t quote this bit of the article.

“Some gay men who knew her have said she liked gay people individually. The journalist and former Conservative MP Matthew Parris says that Thatcher told him she appreciated the difficulty he had in coming out to her.”

Parris was actually Thatcher’s correspondence secretary. So he wasn’t just some random backbencher she never had to spend any time with.

I think you’d have a very hard time persuading any neutral observer that she was personally “rampantly homophobic.”

The Guardian article makes pretty clear Section 28 was driven mainly by ugly political motives on the back of pandering to bigoted popular prejudices.

@16 Ayy Deie (“Britain is bigger than you. Or me. Or whatever minority group you belong to. Stop taking Mrs Thatcher’s actions as being a personal slap in the face. It isn’t now and it wasn’t then. Grow up and take responsibility for your own anger at your own life choices”)

There’s been a week’s worth of ‘tributes’ to Margaret Thatcher that have worked hard to airbrush out the policy decisions that she made that either were plain awful or have since been proven to be ill-judged decisions. If we are to have such a publication of someone’s ‘legacy’ then it has to include both what she got right and what she got wrong. Pick up certain newspapers and you will not find the ‘wrong’ bits mentioned at all. They have been airbrushed out because now people would see that as horrifying in today’s world. They shouldn’t be swept under the carpet in any analysis of someone’s achievements – you’d otherwise swear that “Saint Margaret” had presided over us during that period. No politician gets everything right, and she certainly got plenty wrong – yet things like Section 28 get barely a mention. A balanced debate is only possible when both the good and bad are recognised.

Oh and being gay is not a “life choice” as you put it. But that was the attitude at the time – interesting that you still seem to think that it is. But lack of education on the subject always was a strong reason of why homophobia existed – Section 28 helped fuel that.

19. Shinsei1967

Claude:

“For the record, all the news programmes and appraisals of the last few days, including a 90-min long edition of Newsnight entirely on Thatcher on the night she died mentioned a load of things but NOT a word on Section 28, even though it was massive news at the time.”

You may be right about Newsnight (I’m abroad currently and haven’t seen it).

However Ed Milliband mentioned Section 28 in his widely praised speech in Parliament. And I’ve seen a reasonable amount of mentions (if not debate) in the printed media. Though Chris Bryant had an article in Indy I think saying that Section 28 drove him into politics.

However her economic legacy (and its social implications) is so overwhelming that it has rather dominated coverage.

For instance, I’ve personally seen very little mention of the controversies surrounding the Falklands War. It’s mentioned en passant as a reason for her election victory in 1983.

20. Chaise Guevara

@ 16 Ayy

“I don’t get this….. I am not anti – gay. […] Grow up and take responsibility for your own anger at your own life choices – don’t pass it off on to a dead person just because you can’t handle life as it is.”

You’re not anti-gay, but you think homosexuality is a choice and that people complaining about homophobia are actually just angry with themselves for choosing to be gay?

Kind of made yourself look like a liar there.

“I can imagine that, now Mrs Margaret Thatcher is dead, there must be a few other anti somethings of which I am not even aware, jumping up and down waving their flag at her coffin. WHY? Whatever doctrine she was following at that time and the effects it had on communities etc (and I remember it well enough), she was acting to save/advance/rescue or whatever, Britain.”

There are about 4,500 other threads on this site where the issue of whether or not it’s ok to celebrate Thatcher’s death is relevant. On this one you’re just using it as a stalking horse to justify Clause 28.

21. the a&e charge nurse

[16] ‘WHY?’ – because Thatch wanted to make life miserable for generations of children who were gay, with the knock on affect this would have had elsewhere.

In the flurry of hagiographies and tributes to Margaret Thatcher, her long list of heinous political acts seems to have been ENTIRELY forgotten. In particular, the way her rampant homophobia became integral to British law.

Well, thanks, Claude, for demonstrating that you never, ever read anything remotely connecte to being queer.

This went online two hours after Thatcher’s death was announced, and was followed by many, many more articles, blogposts, tweets, and other comments.

Couldn’t Liberal Conspiracy have found someone to write about this who wasn’t quite so ignorant?

23. Franklin Percival

What did she, dennis and jimmy get up to with her children?

24. Robin Levett

@Giant Gerbil #10:

You made a very specific allegation; that the SAS was used to train the Khmer Rouge. The evidence of which I am aware is that they did not do so; they trained their ultimate ideological opponents, the two non-communist factions. Your allegation is similar to claiming that the USA trained the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, and producing as evidence the training they gave to Osama bin Laden’s people.

Or, if you want to use WWII examples; it’s like alleging that the SOE trained the FTP, when the evidence showed that it was ordered to train only the CNR, and followed those orders. In fact less so – since I’m quite sure that the CNR and FTP routinely conducted joint operations, whereas the non-Communist Cambodian groups rarely operated alongside the KM.

@22 Jane Carnall
The fact that I was obviously referring to the mainstream media (BBC, ITV and daily publications) and not independent websites or blogs eluded you.
Unbelievably, I may say.
I’ve seen pointless ad hominem attacks on the internet, but yours seems particularly pointless.

@17, 19 Shinsei1967
You can clutch at all the straws that you like, but Thatcher presided over Section 28. She supported it bitterly throughout. It’s a simple fact. It wasn’t the product of a junior minister or two. It had Thatcher’s seal of approval from the word go, as far back as 1985 at least.

Thatcher is in history books for having been *extremely* controlling in the cabinet. No leaf would flicker without her approval. I hope you understand that making it sound like Clause 28 happened while she’d nodded off is actually heartbreaking.

Section 28 was entirely sanctioned, approved and promoted with her active assent. Like other commenters said, whether she was consciously homophobic or not, she was clever enough to know the consequences of her acts BOTH while Prime Minister AND when she voted against repealing Section 28 in the Lords.

There was a famous comedy sketch of her at a restaurant with her ministers and when the waiter asked “what would you like”, Thatcher answered “they’ll all have what I’m having” [NOTE: not the exact quote before someone turns all hysterical]

It’s worth noting that, as far as I’m aware, the number of people ever convicted under Section 28 was zero. That’s not to say it wasn’t a cruel and bigoted piece of legislation, or didn’t cause any harm; rather, it’s evidence that the ‘problem’ didn’t exist in the first place. It was a piece of naked political posturing, shamelessly stoking up homophobia in order to win over ‘family values voters’; that the supposed problem didn’t actually exist was irrelevant to the legislation’s purpose.

27. Giant Gerbil

@ 24 Robin Levett.

Casuistry!

28. Giant Gerbil

@ 24 Robin Levett.

You might also be interested to know that the CIA described Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s positioning as the leader of the coalition against the Vietnamese backed Cambodian government as “a master illusion”, i.e. he was a figurehead created for the purpose of suckering gullible people into thinking that the supposed government in exile wasn’t led by Pol Pot when in fact it was.

Both the Sihanoukists, and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, were run by the Khmer Rouge. In fact, Thaoun Prasith one of Pol Pot’s mates ran the office at the UN in New York.

The supposed non communist elements of the resistance were nothing of the kind – which is why the prince was happy to spend so much time in North Korea.

Congratulations, you bought the spin.

With most politicians, this would be pretty heinous. With Thatcher, it’s pretty low down her list of atrocities.

30. So Much for Subtlety

Like human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell writes, “At the Conservative party conference in 1987 Mrs Thatcher mocked people who defended the right to be gay, insinuating that there was no such right.

Well in 1987 there probably was no such right. I am not even sure there is any such right now. And I don’t think she insinuated it. I think she said it. Where was the right to be gay inshrined in law in 1987?

During her rule, arrests and convictions for consenting same-sex behaviour rocketed, as did queer bashing violence and murders.

Sorry but name three people who were arrested and convicted of same-sex behaviour during the Thatcher years. And evidence for a rise in queer-bashing and murders. Making stuff up is not nice.

The Act, which remained part of the statute book until Labour scrapped it in 2003, was as controversial and ambiguous as it was soaked in hate and deep prejudice.</i.

Well if it is soaked in hate and deep prejudice I don't see how it can be ambiguous as well.

In one fell swoop, Section 28 crucially advocated censorship – preventing local authorities and schools from discussing (“promoting”, the hideous wording was) homosexuality or engaging in anti-bullying activities, sneered at “pretended family relationships”, and added insult to injury by linking homosexuality to “the spread of disease”.

It forbade the promoting of homosexuality in schools. That is a form of censorship I suppose, but it is interesting that just over next door at LC there is a loud demand for all children’s advertising to be banned on the grounds it promotes the sale of toys or something. Either censorship is fine or it is not.

No coincidence that, shortly after Section 28 became law, the offices of a gay newspaper, Capital Gay, were burnt down and lesbian and gay helplines reported a threefold increase in “queer bashing”.

How do you know it is no coincidence? Evidence please. Helplines are meaningless as evidence. They are not neutral or impartial.

Which is why, when the current hysteria over Maggie’s beatification subsides a little, hopefully the world will manage to remember how such a detestably homophobic piece of legislation was entirely in line with Thatcher and her character. Now hopefully buried forever.

I doubt anyone wants to forget it. So what?

31. Robin Levett

@Giant Gerbil #28:

I don’t think anyone would suggest either that the KM wasn’t the leading force in the resistance to the Vietnamese, or that it was not the recognised government of Cambodia while the country was occupied by Vietnam. That a KM leader ran the country’s UN office is hardly surprising. But so what?

Do I take it that you have no evidence that the SAS trained the KM, and the argument is about whether Sihanouk and Sann made common cause with Pol Pot to throw the Vietnamese out of Cambodia; or are you seriously suggesting that Sihanouk and Sann actually had no independent forces, and that the forces the SAS trained were actually KM forces pretending to be something they were not?

32. So Much for Subtlety

28. Giant Gerbil

You might also be interested to know that the CIA described Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s positioning as the leader of the coalition against the Vietnamese backed Cambodian government as “a master illusion”, i.e. he was a figurehead created for the purpose of suckering gullible people into thinking that the supposed government in exile wasn’t led by Pol Pot when in fact it was.

That may be true, although I doubt it, but it is irrelevant. As the SAS still did not train KR soldiers. You simply made that up. Or more likely copied it from some Trot website. John Pilger who originally made this claim was sued when he was silly enough to name names. And he lost. This allegation has been tested and found to be false. You are simply lying.

Both the Sihanoukists, and the Khmer People’s National Liberation Front, were run by the Khmer Rouge. In fact, Thaoun Prasith one of Pol Pot’s mates ran the office at the UN in New York.

Now you are making another absurd claim. Even if it is true that the Coalition government was dominated by the Khmer Rouge, that is not proof that the Sihanouk Royalist and Lon Nol’s party were also run by the KR. Proof if you do not mind. Of course you do because you made it up.

33. So Much for Subtlety

5. Martin

I was a personal victim of Section 28, and I know that a number of my friends were as well. At my school, I was bullied for being gay (or as I wasn’t officially ‘out’ for being perceived to be gay).

How does that make you a personal victim of Section 28? Are you saying that before it was enacted and now since it has been abolished, no children have ever been bullied at school? Or that if it did not exist you would have got some sort of redress from the school?

To paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, Section 28 “cheated me of a sound start in life — yes, cheated” – her claim that Section 28 would protect children in fact had the opposite effect on those who were LGBT, leaving them exposed, and without any sort of support.

That is not actually what Section 28 did. If you were bullied it was not because of Section 28. It was because bullying is impossible to stop.

9. claude

You’re so keen to stick up for Tory prejudice that you forgot to do your homework.

What a perfect example of bullying on the internet. Someone asks a question, you attack his character and call him a bigot. Wonderful.

Labour actually tried to repeal Section 28 several times between their first and second term but a House of Lords packed with Tory peers kept vetoeing the idea. That’s why it took over five years.

Except the House of Lords does not have a veto. Hasn’t since 1911 or so. So that is not true.

14. Shatterface

AIDS was terrifying and devastated the Gay community until safe Sex became the norm and medicine caught up, AIDS fear lent to the queer bashing since at the time there was no cure, ill agree that she wasn’t overtly gay friendly but to blame all that on thatcher really does look “Looney-Left”

There is still no cure.

Thatcher made it impossible to counter ignorance and prejudice because to attempt that would be to risk being accused of ‘promoting’ homosexuality.

No she did not. That is false on so many levels it is hard to know where to start. The law did not forbid countering ignorance. It did not even do so in schools. Perhaps some schools were too cowardly to take the risk but I have seen no evidence of it. But they would have to be very cowardly indeed given there were no actual convictions so any school would be running no risk at all. Even if it is true, it only applied to schools, not to society as a whole. So it was not even remotely impossible.

And whether she was personally homophobic or just an opportunist riding the homophobia bandwaggon doesn’t matter: the effect was the same.

There being zero evidence of any effect at all. So you are half right there.

@5 – chin up old bean

35. Derek Hattons Tailor

IIRC Section 28 was a fairly minor piece of legislation which effectively banned schools using literature which “promoted” homosexuality. It was clearly a swipe at the left wing teaching establishment which was at the time churning out childrens literature full of shaven headed CND T-shirt wearing disabled Jamaican lesbians living in a father post nuclear family quasi-commune. The gay establishment blew it up into an attack on them personally, but it was an act of political retaliation, rather than anti-gay legislation.

Despite all the Victorian family values rhetoric, Thatcher actually had little interest in bedroom preferences, unlike NuLab who introduced a whole raft of “sexual” legislation, and of course asked every citizen to declare his/her orientation whenever they interact with a state agency.

Someone in Thatcher’s government also spend a lot of money raising aids awareness and funding research. At one time in the 80s there were more aids workers, counsellors, researchers etc in the Uk than there were people with aids. And I don’t remember the 80s (yes I was there kids) as being a queer bashing decade. Gay culture boomed in the 80s – to the extent that it influenced mainstream culture more than it does now.

36. Patrick James

It is unfortunate to see the rewriting of history by some. They wish to say now that clause 28 wasn’t so bad after all.

I remember clause 28 very well. The important thing to understand about it was its symbolism. That local councils were not to publish materials that “promoted” homosexuality was an odd instruction. After all they weren’t actually doing this in the first place. This is of course why there weren’t any prosecutions, it was legislation to prevent something that wasn’t happening anyway.

So, why create legislation to prevent something that isn’t happening?

Well I think the reason was to send a very strong message to the lesbian and gay community.

It is true that Thatcher voted on the bill to decriminalise the male gay sex in 1967. We are being told this here by the historic revisionists to illustrate that she wasn’t a homophobe after all in their eyes.

I think Thatcher’s mentality was that homosexuals (as she would have called us) were “okay as long as they kept it amongst themselves”. In the 80s this was the Daily Mail’s position and it was reflected in their articles and editorials.

For Thatcher and the Daily Mail gay people were to be pitied, they were an unfortunate group. Putting them in jail for their practices seemed unnecessary. However they certainly weren’t to believe themselves so worthy that they might express positivity about themselves.

Thatcher and the Daily Mail believe their view to be enlightened. They certainly didn’t consider themselves to be homophobes.

Clause 28 was designed to address the worst Daily Mail anxiety. That gay people were actually promoting themselves.

Remember that for them gay people were an unfortunate group worthy of pity. When they saw publications that suggested being gay might be okay, for them this constitued “promotion”.

Today, and for most in the 80s, to say “I’m proud to be gay” does not seem like promotion, simply a statement of being happy in one’s identity. But to Thatcher and the Daily Mail this did seem like promotion because their mentality was different.

This is how the legislation came into being, the bizarre legislation that was banning something that wasn’t happening.

Clause 28 was hugely damaging. It was a statement by the government about a group in society, that they were not suitable to be part of the discourse of that society.

This was a grotesque and mean spirited legislation.

37. Patrick James

I wish to address a few points by the historic revisionist. The ones that wish to say that “clause 28 wasn’t so bad after all”.

One of the historic revisionists has told us that the House of Lords has no veto over legislation. This is to suggest that the Labour party was responsible for the lengthy period to overturn the legislation which has become known as clause 28.

Well the House of Lords has no absolute right of veto, but if it opposes a bill it can delay that for years and many parliamentary procedures are required overcome the House of Lords decision. This is what happened with “Clause 28”. The Conservatives in the House of Lords supported “Clause 28” with great enthusiasm. That was why it took so long to overturn.

One of the historic revisionists has told us that gay life boomed in the 80s. This is to suggest I think that Clause 28 wasn’t so bad after all.

In the US and Western Europe gay life boomed in the 80s. This was as a result of a wide movement which had actually started in academia in the 50s, spread into leftwing politics in the 60s. Progressive legislation was put in place by leftwing and socially liberal politicians in the 70s, but something else, much more powerful happened in the 70s, that was that popular culture embraced the “to be gay is okay” ideology. This popular culture proved to be hugely more powerful that then anti-progressive politics of Thatcher or Reagun and it was this which was responsible for the positive gay images of the 80s.

38. Planeshift

“pandering to bigoted popular prejudices.”

I’m willing to bet their focus groups framed the issue as ‘legitimate public concerns that must be addressed’ in the same way labour’s do on immigration.

Interestingly in the late 90s several commentators sympathetic to labour were arguing that labour shouldn’t embrace the pro-equality agenda quite so much as it may alienate centre ground voters. To his eternal credit Blair himself rejected this argument.

I wonder what lessons labour might learn from this?

She voted for legalisation in 1967.
Under her premiership homosexuality was legalised in Scotland in 1980 and in NI in 1982.
Hers was the first government in the world to recognise the AIDS crisis and respond with a widespread public health campaign promoting safe sex.

Clause 28 was a disgrace.

This would be difficult to justify:

“I think you’d have a very hard time persuading any neutral observer that she was personally “rampantly homophobic.””

Matthew Parris being one example. St John Fawsley another. He was in the Cabinet FFS and while she fired him it certainly wasn’t because he was effectively in a same sex marriage (the couple did marry, sorry, civil partnership, just before his death).

Politically I’ll grant you over Section 28. Personally though I don’t think so.

Patrick @37

I think Thatcher’s mentality was that homosexuals (as she would have called us) were “okay as long as they kept it amongst themselves”.

And what should she have called you?

Are you saying that she was only permitted to use descriptive terms that you deem inoffensive?

Unless you are suggesting that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice rather than a core sexual impulse there is little logic in attempting to promote it. I think Thatcher’s attitude to homosexuality was founded in an instinct to allow people to live their lives as they wish, without interference from authority.

If you are saying that what she did by helping to decriminalise was insufficient and that she should have voiced personal approval or funded state promotion of gay sexual activity, I disagree with you.

42. Shatterface

Well in 1987 there probably was no such right. I am not even sure there is any such right now. And I don’t think she insinuated it. I think she said it. Where was the right to be gay inshrined in law in 1987?

Are you seriously claiming people don’t have the right to be gay?

No wonder you are having trouble recognising homophobia.

No she did not. That is false on so many levels it is hard to know where to start. The law did not forbid countering ignorance. It did not even do so in schools. Perhaps some schools were too cowardly to take the risk but I have seen no evidence of it. But they would have to be very cowardly indeed given there were no actual convictions so any school would be running no risk at all. Even if it is true, it only applied to schools, not to society as a whole. So it was not even remotely impossible.

Ah, right – it’s not the law that was wrong but teacher’s unwillingness to break it.

Fuckwit.

43. Shatterface

Thatcher’s attitude to homosexuality was founded in an instinct to allow people to live their lives as they wish, without interference from authority.

?

Thatcher had no such ‘instinct’ except in the specific case of economic liberalism. She massively increased police powers in the uk and supported fascist and racist dictatorships abroad.

44. Charlieman

@41. pagar: “I think Thatcher’s attitude to homosexuality was founded in an instinct to allow people to live their lives as they wish, without interference from authority.”

Err, not really. Although she worked mainly as a tax barrister, it is likely that her few social liberal instincts were acquired during her legal career. Homosexual men were often the victims of blackmail (pay up or go to gaol) and a pragmatist like Thatcher would have viewed this as an unfair consequence. Her vote in favour of legalising abortion in 1967 would have been based on similar pragmatism.

Her tolerance of the Section 28 movement (a bizarre informal alliance which hoped to turn back the clock) was a repulsive act of political pragmatism.

@ Charlieman

Her tolerance of the Section 28 movement (a bizarre informal alliance which hoped to turn back the clock) was a repulsive act of political pragmatism.

OK, I accept that evidence of Thatcher’s social liberalism is patchy, at best (though she did vote to legalise abortion as well as homosexuality).

What I was saying was that I suspect her instincts were probably fairly liberal- of course she could not give such instincts much expression as leader of the Tory party and given the fact that she was a ….politician.

If there’s one thing that annoys me more than anything it’s people saying that Margaret Thatcher was bad because she was mates with Jimmy Savile. I know for a fact that Sir Jimmy was not a sex offender and the smears from PC, browbeaten liberals have been disgusting.

Those banging on about Thatcher voting in favour of the 1967 Act are pure comedy.

As if that mattered more, politically, symbolically, historically then her and her government’s slaying of homosexuality during her 11 years as Prime Minister and over a decade in the House of Lords.

It’s like saying now, in 2013, that Tony Blair is a massive pacifist and fan of the CND on the basis of his CND membership in 1982, while ignoring everything else he did in the following two decades, especially when Prime Minister…ie dubious wars, arms deals, dodgy dictators and the rest.

48. Charlieman

@47. claude: “Those banging on about Thatcher voting in favour of the 1967 Act are pure comedy.”

She voted. She voted that gay men should not subject to blackmail. She voted for abortion, so that medics could do what they had done illegally, legally. She was not a liberal siren but she was a free thinking MP.

“Those banging on about Thatcher voting in favour of the 1967 Act are pure comedy.

As if that mattered more, politically, symbolically, historically then her and her government’s slaying of homosexuality during her 11 years as Prime Minister and over a decade in the House of Lords.”

Well I don’t know if it mattered more ‘politically, symbolically, historically’, but it certainly did practically, with respect to gay men not having to fear being sent to prison for consensual sexual acts. I’d say from experience that that is far, far more important. I live life in the real world, not the symbolic one.

As for why people aren’t aking a huge deal of now:

1. There are plenty of other aspects of Thatcher’s career that people have been focussing on. I don’t believe it’s a conspiracy.

2. In the here and now, gay people have other concerns to contend with, including a wariness on the left of criticising homophobia from some sources for fear of being tagged ‘racist’. The stream of homophobic hate preachers going through places like East London Mosque today is of more concern to me than an act that was repealed a decade ago.

Still, carry on living in your ‘symbolic’ 1980s by all means.

50. Patrick James

In post 39 cjcj writes:

“Under her premiership homosexuality was legalised in Scotland in 1980 and in NI in 1982.”

It was Scotland in 1981 and Northern Ireland in 1983. To be a bit more precise was the decriminalisation of consenting sex between men over the age of 21, not “legalisign homosexuality”.

However the important point here is that in both cases this was a result of action taken by the European Court of Human Rights as a result of court cases launched by UK residents.

These legislative reforms were completely opposed by the Conservatives. They were ordered by ECHR to process them and so they had to whip them in the House of Commons.

@50 Patrick
Spot on. Thank you. But they’ll only read what they want to read, of course. Like the earlier right wing commenter asking for evidence that homophobick attacks peaked after Section 28 was introduced. We could link to all the sources in the world (which are available on google.com, by the way), it wouldnt make the slightest bit of difference.

@48
Here’s a simple, but really simple, fact. The 1967 Act would have been approved ANYWAY without Thacther’s consent. Section 28 would never have even made it to Parliament without Thatcher’s consent. Not even remotely. Now argue the toss about that, if you have the cheek.

52. So Much for Subtlety

36. Patrick James

I remember clause 28 very well. The important thing to understand about it was its symbolism.

So in fact it was not very bad as its impact was entirely symbolic?

That local councils were not to publish materials that “promoted” homosexuality was an odd instruction. After all they weren’t actually doing this in the first place.

Actually they were. Which is why the law was passed.

This is of course why there weren’t any prosecutions, it was legislation to prevent something that wasn’t happening anyway.

Then by definition it was not particularly bad. Just as laws against, say, Treason are now irrelevant and anyone can take money from our foreign enemies because it is effectively a dead letter.

Well I think the reason was to send a very strong message to the lesbian and gay community.

That is your opinion but it hardly matters as this was actually debated at the time. As was said in Hansard:

Parents certainly came to me and told me what was going on. They gave me some of the books with which little children as young as five and six were being taught. There was The Playbook for Kids about Sex in which brightly coloured pictures of little stick men showed all about homosexuality and how it was done. That book was for children as young as five. I should be surprised if anybody supports that. Another book The Milkman’s on his Way which explicitly described homosexual intercourse and, indeed, glorified it, encouraging youngsters to believe that it was better than any other sexual way of life.

I think Thatcher’s mentality was that homosexuals (as she would have called us) were “okay as long as they kept it amongst themselves”.

And this is how you define homophobia these days is it?

However they certainly weren’t to believe themselves so worthy that they might express positivity about themselves.

Section 28 did not say that Gay people could not express themselves in a positive way. Just that they could not in schools in a way that might be considered teaching children to be Gay.

Clause 28 was hugely damaging. It was a statement by the government about a group in society, that they were not suitable to be part of the discourse of that society.

Except there was no ban on discourse in society, just in schools. Now we do not allow a lot of things to be taught in schools. Maybe it was wrong to forbid this to be taught. But I doubt that anyone would claim Catholics are excluded from the national discourse because teachers are forbidden from using classroom time to promote obedience to Rome.

So what was the damage? None I can see. None you have mentioned. But I do like the passive aggression bullying you come up with when you use terms like Revisionist.

37. Patrick James

One of the historic revisionists has told us that the House of Lords has no veto over legislation. This is to suggest that the Labour party was responsible for the lengthy period to overturn the legislation which has become known as clause 28.

No, it is a simple statement of fact. Which you concede. The House of Lords did indeed not have a veto. End of this discussion. The only Revisionism here is yours.

Well the House of Lords has no absolute right of veto,

Ta da! So I am right.

53. So Much for Subtlety

42. Shatterface

Are you seriously claiming people don’t have the right to be gay?

They probably do now, but I doubt they did in 1987. But if I am wrong, perhaps you might like to quote the law.

Ah, right – it’s not the law that was wrong but teacher’s unwillingness to break it.

You know reading is hard, but it is worth it in the long run. No, it has nothing to do with the teachers. It is simply that the law did not do what was claimed.

54. Derek Hattons Tailor

@ 38 Except that quite a few on the left have now admitted that, in hindsight, they may have been wrong on immigration. Maybe they are just saying it to counter the perceived rise of UKIP, maybe they genuinely believe it. Either way calling genuine concerns bigotry is generally unwise. One mans revolutionary is another mans freedom fighter and all that.

@ 42 – There is no “right” to be gay, or straight, or anything else, now, or in 1987. In case you hadn’t noticed we don’t have a constitution, if it’s not illegal, you are permitted to do it. We do not need positive rights, they are good only for lawyers.

55. Robin Levett

@SMFS #52:

Myth:

There was The Playbook for Kids about Sex in which brightly coloured pictures of little stick men showed all about homosexuality and how it was done.

Reality:

http://www.joaniblank.com/Playbook.pdf

56. Planeshift

” Either way calling genuine concerns bigotry is generally unwise”

I’m sure section 28 was about ‘genuine concerns’ as well.

At the time I suspect opinion polls overwhelmingly supported section 28. 25 years on opinion polls would overwhelmingly reject it, and it came to toxify the tories.

In 25 years what conclusions will centre ground voters make of governments that locked up children simply because their focus groups told them there are real and genuine concers about immigration. Particualry given demographic changes.

Hint; with hindsight do you think the republican party would be as anti-immigration as it was percieved to be in 2008 and 2012 if it could run those campaigns again?

Robin @ 55

From the book you cite.

“When grown ups choose someone to be one of their sexual partners, they sometimes choose a person of the same sex and they sometimes choose a person of the other sex”.

There are two problems with this sort of stuff being taught to very young children.

Firstly, there is the implication that homosexuality has some kind of statistical equivalence with heterosexuality. It has not. It is a minority pursuit and is, in that sense, abnormal.

Secondly, there is the implication that sexual orientation is a matter of individual choice and that ones choice can change over time. In my experience, sexual orientation chooses you, not the other way round.

The line should have read something like

“Grown ups are usually attracted to a person of a different sex to themselves but some people are attracted to a person of the same sex”.

You may think the above is nit picking but it was an avalanche of that kind of spin that was the justification for Clause 28.

58. Robin Levett

@pagar #57:

You may think the above is nit picking…

Well, yes.

…but it was an avalanche of that kind of spin that was the justification for Clause 28.

With respect, no it wasn’t. SMFS has very kindly quoted Baroness Knight’s reference to the book from Hansard in the 1999 repeal debate, which clearly misrepresents the content of the publication. And that book was never used in schools; that much is clear from the debates on the original clause (it was in the bill that became the Local Government Act 1988) when the member for Spelthorne – Wilshire – admitted as much:

http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1987/dec/15/prohibition-on-promoting-homosexuality

Whatever the rights and the wrongs of clause 28, and of Mrs Thatcher’s attitudes to homosexuals (which were largely of her time, and probably in advance of most the Labour MPs)….if we’d continued on the socialist path of the 1970s, the UK would now be North Korea – but without the hope!

Remember, iindustrial production was higher in 1990 than in 1979, and New Labour destroyed more of the industrial base from 1997-2010.

We’re told that her deregulation of the City (which broke the old boy network and let in the “barrow boys”) ushered in an era of greed and was the cause of the great crash. But the crash was the result of the preceding credit boom. Credit booms are the result of governments pumping too much money into the economy – which Thatcher was adamantly against.

According to the Left, the proles are oppressed, and the source of that oppression is economic freedom. The Left wants the working class living in state housing, travelling on state transport, working in state-controlled jobs, receiving a state education….All in a highly regulated environment. The Left fights not to change, but to preserve, working practices (aka inefficiency) and “working class communities” (aka disadvantage).

Mrs Thatcher saw that “working class” people wanted the things she wanted – to own their own home, to leave some money to their children, to own a few shares, go on foreign holidays, own a car or even two cars, – maybe start a little company!

Mrs Thatcher saw voluntary profitable economic exchange as an essential and vital part of a truly human existence. Her commitment to economic freedom was moral and inspired by a (Christian) love of and confidence in other people. The “market” was not a wicked thing. It was lively and sociable…

Enjoy and learn:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/margaret-death-of-a-revolutionary/4od#3508791
or:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSrEpMYYpUs

Kinnock’s squirming is a joy to behold!

60. Robin Levett

@SMFS #33

The law did not forbid countering ignorance. It did not even do so in schools

Perhaps you should refresh your memory of the content of section 28, which inserted s2A into the 1986 Local Government Act. S2A(1)in full reads:

A local authority shall not—
(a)intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality;
(b)promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship

Note subsection (b). Combine it with the curriculum requirement to teach the importance of family life. So schools must teach that family life is a good, but must ensure that pupils are made aware that that doesn’t include families with same-sex parents, or they will be accused of teaching that homosexuality is acceptable.

Robin @ 59

I was most certainly NOT saying that I agree with Section 28 in any way. I was only pointing out, to be fair, that there have been attempts to brainwash children from the liberal, as well as the conservative, side of the argument.

Indeed you might well argue, given the laudable current consensus on homosexuality, that the liberal brain washers have been more effective.

62. Robin Levett

@pagar #60:

I was most certainly NOT saying that I agree with Section 28 in any way.

I hope I said nothing implying that you did.

I was only pointing out, to be fair, that there have been attempts to brainwash children from the liberal, as well as the conservative, side of the argument.

And I was pointing out that the specific examples (of liberal attempts to brainwash) pointed to by the socially conservative side of the argument were at best misrepresented by that side.

It is of course also true that the rewording you propose at #57 would itself fall foul of s2A(1)(b), since its very neutrality of language implies acceptability of the homosexual family arrangement.

At the time, the Inner London Education Authority was in the vanguard of the anti-Thatcher ‘revolution’along with Ken Livingstone and the GLC. Agit-prop was the order of the day. Camden declaring itself nuclear-free on every other lamp-post and so on.

My child entered an ILEA primary school in Notting Hill Gate in 1980. Some time in 1983 (the child was around 8 years old), she came home from school to ask me what I would say if she told me she was a lesbian. At this stage, I had not yet told her – precisely – the facts of life. In order to answer her question as my hand was now forced, I brought this conversation forward by about a year and explained sex, mothers, fathers, babies and, yes, homosexuality. The school had not provided her with this part of the information but they had sent her home worried that I might reject her if she told me that she was a lesbian. As she was looked after by our neighbours – a (male) gay couple – after school whom she loved, I was able to ‘contextualise’.

Of course I told her I would love her even if she told me she was Worzel Gummidge.

64. So Much for Subtlety

55. Robin Levett

Myth:

Sorry but that is not a myth. That is a quote from Hansard. Now you may think she is wrong, but it is irrelevant. The purpose of quoting her is not to suggest she was right but to point out her reasons for doing what she did. So your comment contributes nothing.

56. Planeshift

At the time I suspect opinion polls overwhelmingly supported section 28. 25 years on opinion polls would overwhelmingly reject it, and it came to toxify the tories.

Yes, the Left has come close to Brecht’s dream.

In 25 years what conclusions will centre ground voters make of governments that locked up children simply because their focus groups told them there are real and genuine concers about immigration. Particualry given demographic changes.

Who knows? But I expect that Section 28 is more likely to be irrelevant because Gays are being stoned to death than Britain’s immigration policy is remembered with loathing. Particularly given, as you say, demographic changes.

Hint; with hindsight do you think the republican party would be as anti-immigration as it was percieved to be in 2008 and 2012 if it could run those campaigns again?

I would think they would want to be actually genuinely anti-illegal-immigration going back as far as Reagan’s amnesty. Given that their pathetically weak opposition to illegals has meant their eventual extinction.

57. pagar

Secondly, there is the implication that sexual orientation is a matter of individual choice and that ones choice can change over time. In my experience, sexual orientation chooses you, not the other way round.

Well it is orthodoxy these days that homosexuality is not a choice, and who am I to disagree? But in reality that only applies to people who might be critical of the Gay lobby. I have yet to meet a Gay who does not think he can “turn” someone like Brad Pitt. However, be that as it may, people do change. We have no idea what causes homosexuality but the evidence of people like Michael Portillo who was Gay but then wasn’t is too strong to suggest any easy answer.

58. Robin Levett

And that book was never used in schools

Sorry but how do you know? You think that some MPs are always right?

60. Robin Levett

Perhaps you should refresh your memory of the content of section 28, which inserted s2A into the 1986 Local Government Act.

Why bother? The Act did not apply outside schools and thus the original claim was wrong. The Department of Education looked at the law and said that it would not affect what schools did one little bit. And it does not seem to have done so. It certainly did not ban discussions of homosexuality. Simple as that.

Note subsection (b). Combine it with the curriculum requirement to teach the importance of family life. So schools must teach that family life is a good, but must ensure that pupils are made aware that that doesn’t include families with same-sex parents, or they will be accused of teaching that homosexuality is acceptable.

So what? You are also wrong. The law does not impose a positive duty on schools to do a damn thing as far as homosexuality goes. It imposes a negative duty on them not to promote homosexuality. So they may be required to say that family life is good. They are under no obligation to mention homosexual families at all. Or heterosexual ones for that matter. They can just say family life is good.

I thought you claimed to be a lawyer?

65. Robin Levett

@SMFS #64:

Myth:

Sorry but that is not a myth. That is a quote from Hansard. Now you may think she is wrong, but it is irrelevant. The purpose of quoting her is not to suggest she was right but to point out her reasons for doing what she did. So your comment contributes nothing.

Persons of moderate intelligence would have spotted that I was pointing out that what she was claiming was a myth. Did you look at the link to reality, which showed that the book did not contain “brightly coloured pictures of little stick men [that] showed all about homosexuality and how it was done”?

You are also wrong.

Wrong.

The law does not impose a positive duty on schools to do a damn thing as far as homosexuality goes.

True up to a point.

It imposes a negative duty on them not to promote homosexuality.

Incomplete; further, it imposes a duty on LEAs not to have a policy that promotes the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a “pretended” family relationship. BTW, one has to be blind not to see the bigotry in that word.

So they may be required to say that family life is good. They are under no obligation to mention homosexual families at all. Or heterosexual ones for that matter. They can just say family life is good.

True, there is the option of leaving children ignorant, which does rather run counter to the general idea of education. Again, what if little Johnny in form 2B does have two dads – and one of his classmates asks “is Johnny’s family life good”?

I thought you claimed to be a lawyer?

I am. Perhaps that why I am able to see the problem and you cannot.

66. Charlieman

@51. claude: “Here’s a simple, but really simple, fact. The 1967 Act would have been approved ANYWAY without Thacther’s consent.”

Which rather strengthens the argument that she did a good thing by voting in favour. She didn’t have to turn up. It was a free vote.

“Section 28 would never have even made it to Parliament without Thatcher’s consent. Not even remotely. Now argue the toss about that, if you have the cheek.”

I don’t see Thatcher as a cardboard-out homophobe. As others have pointed out, it is helpful to acknowledge her contradictory actions. Section 28 was not the last Act passed for expediency or perceived political advantage. If we understand the fragility of liberalism in this case, we have a better chance of defeating bigotry in the future.

67. Chaise Guevara

@ 59 TONE

“Whatever the rights and the wrongs of clause 28, and of Mrs Thatcher’s attitudes to homosexuals (which were largely of her time, and probably in advance of most the Labour MPs)….if we’d continued on the socialist path of the 1970s, the UK would now be North Korea – but without the hope!”

Congratulations – you’ve just out-hyperboled the intro to the OP. And the OP used DRAMATIC CAPITAL LETTERS and everything! Quite some feat.

“According to the Left, the proles are oppressed, and the source of that oppression is economic freedom. The Left wants the working class living in state housing, travelling on state transport, working in state-controlled jobs, receiving a state education…”

I’m loath to use your lazy, black-and-white homogenising, but I see you’ve got your silly hat on today, so I guess I’ll have to adapt.

*State housing: some on the left want this available to those who need it. This just happens to benefit the working class more, because that category correlates with poverty. I’m middle class and I could really go for some state housing right about now.

*State transport: some on the left want more people doing this regardless of class. I’m one of them.

*State jobs: cart before horse. Some on the left (me again) just think certain things should be handled by the state. This would create (well, move) jobs for both classes.

*State education: see housing.

“All in a highly regulated environment. The Left fights not to change, but to preserve, working practices (aka inefficiency) and “working class communities” (aka disadvantage).”

Ah, the joys of a narrow perspective. Whether you support preservation or change really just comes down to what the status quo is at the time. So I assume you now support “the left” for wanting to change Tory working practices, and condemn “the right” for wanting to preserve them? No doubt you have some wonderfully droll line about how if we follow the Tory line we’ll be like Mussolini’s Italy… only without the reliable trains!!!!!111 🙂

Gripping stuff.

Chaise don’t be too heavy with TONE
He is excited about his post because he has copied and pasted from the Thatcherite on Channel 4. He has posted it at least twice. Bless him.
“I don’t see Thatcher as a cardboard-out homophobe”
I agree but she needed to appease her Christian right, including that appalling Green guy.

69. So Much for Subtlety

65. Robin Levett

Persons of moderate intelligence would have spotted that I was pointing out that what she was claiming was a myth.

Then you should not have put it under my name and looked like it was a comment in any way relevant to anything I said. As it wasn’t. As I said, it contributed nothing.

True up to a point.

So you are admitting you’re wrong. Whatever.

Incomplete; further, it imposes a duty on LEAs not to have a policy that promotes the teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a “pretended” family relationship. BTW, one has to be blind not to see the bigotry in that word.

The bigotry is irrelevant. Again you’re wrong and so you keep trying to change the subject. Let us agree that it is bigoted to say that homosexuals have pretend families. That still does not mean schools have to teach that heterosexual families are the only acceptable form of family. You are wrong about that.

True, there is the option of leaving children ignorant, which does rather run counter to the general idea of education. Again, what if little Johnny in form 2B does have two dads – and one of his classmates asks “is Johnny’s family life good”?

It does not run counter to modern British education which is all about leaving children ignorant. Nor is it in any way relevant. Schools can’t teach everything (in fact they can’t teach anything these days but let’s ignore that). They have to pick and choose how to best use their time. I doubt that this comes under a particularly good use of their time. Who knows what would happen? As there is zero evidence it ever did it does not matter.

Section 28 did not, again, impose any positive duty on schools wrt homosexuality.

70. Robin Levett

@SMFS #69:

Let us agree that it is bigoted to say that homosexuals have pretend families. That still does not mean schools have to teach that heterosexual families are the only acceptable form of family.

You’re right; but since that wasn’t my position, you’re arguing with yourself.

The requirement that LEAs “not promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship” is what ensures that, if LEAs mention that homosexuals may have familes, requires them to make clear that such a relationship is not acceptable.

It does not run counter to modern British education which is all about leaving children ignorant.

…thereby neatly demonstrating that you have no school-age children.

Section 28 did not, again, impose any positive duty on schools wrt homosexuality.

Not in a vacuum, no; but I didn’t say they did. What i said was (after drawing attention to s2A(1)(b)) was:

Combine it with the curriculum requirement to teach the importance of family life. So schools must teach that family life is a good, but must ensure that pupils are made aware that that doesn’t include families with same-sex parents, or they will be accused of teaching that homosexuality is acceptable.

71. Kismet Hardy

Kenny Everett’s career was ruined spectacularly seeing as he came out the minute the nation started freaking about AIDS.

Yet he remained a rabid Thatcherite.

I have no explanation.

72. MoronicToryNarrative
73. Derek Hattons Tailor

It’s not about “leaving children ignorant” it’s about schools taking over the role of parents. As was said up thread you may not feel that you or your child are ready for “that conversation” and then the school does something that forces the issue. There seems to be an assumption that if schools don’t do sex education then no one else will ?
At what point was it decided that it was for schools to teach sexuality – which does not exist in a vacuum and also speaks to moral, ethical, religious and cultural convictions. Schools obviously realise this as they allow some children, on religious grounds, to opt out. What about the rest of us – why is assumed that only religion is an acceptable reason for rejecting the state approved version of sexuality ?

@73

There seems to be an assumption that if schools don’t do sex education then no one else will ?
At what point was it decided that it was for schools to teach sexuality

Sex and sexuality are two different things, related, but different.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. UK - Thatcher’s homophobia: why have we glossed over this legacy? (Claude Carpentieri)

    […] Thatcher’s homophobia: why have we glossed over this legacy? | Liberal Conspiracy […]

  2. Why I’ll miss Maggie T | Chic By Jowl

    […] this were the late nineties; the era of Section 28. The first anti-gay law in this country since 1885, it forbade any positive mention of gay people. Terrified of being struck off, teachers sat in […]

  3. Thatcher – The Last Word | Op-Ed

    […] Thatcher’s homophobia: why have we glossed over this legacy? (liberalconspiracy.org) […]

  4. Random recommended reading | Ideologically Impure

    […] us remember Margaret Thatcher as she was: a homophobic would-be ethnic […]





Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.