Maybe as a result of fighting two General Elections against the disgraced Mrs Winterton (who often expressed social attitudes that Mrs Robinson (DUP) would have endorsed-especially about lesbians-)I am a little disbelieving when it come to the Tories adoption of Gay Rights.
The cynics may think that David Cameron's apology over Clause 28 was just a result of seeing the polling evidence-echoed and reinforced today by the survey into British Social Attitudes -which confirms the great change in public opinion. I am willing to give Cameron the benefit of the doubt. He has at least apologised for section 28. Some will of course point to his alliances in Europe with some blatant homophobes and the departure of Edward MacMillan Scott. Nevertheless he did apologies.
In all the time I fought Mrs Winterton the issue of gay rights was never raised with me by a member of the public. I concluded that I rwould not respond to her but took every opportunity to support equal treatment for all citizens. In fact the only time it has been raised with me on the doorstep was during a municipal election in Southport when the current Tory PPC stood for election. In her leaflet-published by her husband who wrote the ill judged letter leaked by Tories to us recently-it declared:
Do you want to repeal Clause 28?
Your Liberal Democratic M.P. does and voted to repeal this clause.
Your Local Liberal Democratic Councillor considers it UNIMPORTANT (Champion 22nd March)
This clause prevents the promotion of homosexuality in Schools
This is not the only such statement. I will publish more later. To date there has been to apology, no mea culpa. The election was won by the Tories in a tight race and several of us had this mentioned to us on the doorstep when canvassing. The Tories were reassuring their core vote . I guess what is more nauseating is the recent remodelling of the said PPC as a champion of diversity. The U turn would be welcome if it were accompanied by an apology for a nasty bit of scaremongering the like of which many in her party have apologised. Clearly her attempt was to smear the Lib Dems as morally lax and untrustworthy when it came to protecting children. It did garner her some important votes. It implies nasty things about gays. It suggests that the ban on important pieces of literature and appropriate discussions on morality that happened as a result of clause 28 was right. It was offensive and a decent person would apologise without having to being asked.
We have always found it difficult to hold this women properly to account. She seems believes that it unreasonable to ask her to justify her actions. In a democracy politicians should not come over all upset when electors want to challenge them.