Saturday, 23 December 2006

Another Own Goal

BBC News 24 frequently annoys me but often it is the faux neutrality reporters assume rather than the stories they cover. But on a slow day such as the last saturday before Christmas this sparkler really rankled.

To recap the story as told on the news, a couple of elderly god-botherers were affronted by leaflets "promoting" lesbian and gay lifestyles produced by the local council and stocked in the town library. Convinced of the immorality of all things LGBT they complained to the council's diversity officer and asked if it was permissable to stock Christian leaflets alongside them. (Note - to their credit they did not ask for the LGBT literature to be removed).

Unsurprisingly the bureaucrat said no, believing their presence likely to offend LGBT people. At that point our protagonist Joe Roberts let it be known he thought the leaflets and homosexuality generally went against biblical teaching and therefore the will of God.

Fair enough. Anyone with half an inch of sense would write him off as an irredeemable homophobe and leave it at that. But not this intrepid diversity officer! Subsequent to the phone call he informed the police who popped round the Roberts's to put the frighteners on them for voicing a hateful opinion!

12 months on, the council and police have apologised to the couple and awarded them £10 grand, who the Roberts plan on donating to the barmy Christian Institute "charity". What a blow struck for progressive politics! Not only has this affair cheapened efforts at LGBT liberation, it makes all of us - the left - look like a bunch of PC-deranged simpletons. Be sure the reactionaries in The Mail, The Sun, Talksport and so on will have a field day.

This story didn't surprise me either. There is a layer of individuals scattered throughout local government and public services bureaucracy who imbibed leftish values at some point in their lives but for whatever reason have come to disassociate them from the labour movement generally and socialist politics in particular. In a sense you can understand this. The defeats of the 80s continue to cast their shadow on todays left, which almost everyone would agree is not what it used to be. Increasingly these bureaucrats look to the power that comes with their middling positions to push their values and take action against those that fall foul of them.

In this case it was entirely proper for Wyre Borough council to put stuff out on LGBT rights. But it was criminal of the diversity officer to punish a couple of neanderthals for expressing what is their heartfelt opinion by getting the cops in on the act. It bolsters the amorphous right wing populism the Littlejohns, the Davidsons, the self-proclaimed anti-PC brigade and the BNP leech off.

One lesson this bureaucrat and others need to learn and fast is no matter how well intentioned they are, attempts at imposing agendas in top-down fashion are at best likely to be ignored by the wider populace, or at worse alienate them from the very values we struggle to make concrete through our movement.

When we talk about socialism as the self-emancipation of the working class that is precisely what we mean. The muck of ages won't be washed away by cack-handed attempts at social engineering by well meaning but clueless do gooders.

1 comment:

Gregory said...

On that Christian Institute web site, some of the things under 'Religious Liberty Cases [under attack]' are funny; such "victims" and all of them about LGBT.

"We focus on moral and ethical issues where we believe the Bible's teaching is plain.

Whilst the Bible's basic moral teaching is clear, on other matters, for example transport or taxation policy, we recognise that Christians seeking to apply Biblical principles can legitimately come to different conclusions."
Isn't that quite contradictory, if the Bible's teachings are so plain then there surely won't be different conclusions.