Tuesday 3 January 2017

Jeremy Corbyn and the Homophobic Knighthood

"Labour MP opposed to gay adoption receives knighthood!" was the gist of a gaggle of stories that did the rounds yesterday. As the Pink News points out, the honourable member for Bolton North East, David Crausby, has consistently opposed moves to equalise and normalise gay relationships. The repeal of Section 28 found him in the no lobby, as did moves to allow gay couples to adopt, and equal marriage. Jeremy Corbyn, who has consistently opposed homophobia throughout his career, gave the nod to grant Crausby a knighthood in the New Year's honours. This has left a number of comrades scratching their heads - what the hell is going on?

As I've had to remind people time and again on this blog, politics is about interests. Ideas come second. Given the gulf between Crausby and Corbyn on LGBT matters, you can bet that, again, it was the latter that came first. But for what, and why?

Are we talking favours rendered to the leadership? It doesn't appear so. While he's never marked himself out in the same way our Mike Gapeses, Jess Phillipses, and Jamie Reeds have as prominent anti-Jeremy people, he's hardly a loyal enforcer either. In 2015, Crausby backed Andy Burnham, and in 2016 he added his support to the PLP's attempt to no confidence and depose the leader.

It also can't be put down to a long and glorious period in the parliamentary trenches with Jeremy. He was favour of deploying troops in Afghanistan, for example, but was opposed to the Iraq War. Mainly, his rebellious voting record (which could hardly be described as inveterate) is focused on gay rights and reproductive medicine as its key themes. Which is what you'd expect as Crausby is a Catholic and follows the church's lead on these matters.

Could it, instead, be something more banal? I fear this may well be the case. This May, Crausby will be marking 20 years in the Commons. Time servers typically get some sort of recognition for all their hard work, etc. etc. I don't know if he'd quietly lobbied for a knighthood (some are shameless enough to do so, some cause trouble if none are forthcoming), but such honours are dished out regularly. Someone comes up with the names and off they go to the leader's office for rubber stamping - it's just yet another responsibility that comes with the job. I suspect it wasn't given a thought as Jeremy signed it off.

That is not good enough. As the same Pink News article notes, a Tory and a LibDem also received honours despite having less-than-stellar attitudes towards LGBT rights. Unfortunately, while it shouldn't exist there is a de facto hierarchy of oppression in British culture, and that's reflected in its institutions. Racism is the massive no-no, but for a variety of reasons sexism and homophobia aren't perceived or treated with the same degree of seriousness. And this, unfortunately, is underlined by no less a figure than Jeremy Corbyn passing over the problems this particular knighthood raises.


jim mclean said...

Bit like a Mantle Clock or gold watch, besides the more that are handed out the less the mean, now if it werent illegal he could offer them at £3 a head to build part funds

Anonymous said...

But not all the 20 years plus Labour MPs that voted in 2013 against equal marriage are being knighted. Ronnie Campbell MP for Blyth was elected in 1987. He has announced that he will stand down at the next General Election.

Walsie said...

I suspect the answer is pretty banal. I gather Jeremy is not a graat lover of minutiae and detail - which have been reflected in some of his gaffes which most other politicians
would have seen coming - and just signed it off amongst a host of other things

Igor Belanov said...

Much simpler just to oppose the honours system outright.

Ciaran McCormick said...

It is a shame that this person has been awarded a prestigious honour without these issues being more prominently discussed. Particularly as Corbyn is sold on the basis of being an ideas rather than an interests politician.

Chris said...

In other words, anyone who isn't a social progressive is scum?