I wasn’t going to write about Simon Hughes. Although I’ve felt like saying a lot, I was just going to keep a lid on it. But I can’t keep the lid on any more. As with Mark Oaten, I’ve not been a particular fan of Simon Hughes’ in the past. But I respect him a lot more today than I did this time last week.
There is some pretty weird logic going on about this. Apparently Simon Hughes should be condemned — not because of his homosexual relationships, oh no!, but because of his lying. But if you want to know why he felt the need to lie about it, just look at The Sun story that broke it. It was filled with homophobic jibes about “Limp Dems” and “another one biting the pillow”. And if you think that’s just me having a sense of humour failure, do you really think any newspaper, even The Sun, would get away with calling, for instance, a black Tory a “Coonservative”?
The thing is, Simon Hughes did not reveal that he was gay. He did something far worse — he admitted to being bisexual. Because being bisexual opens you up to prejudice and attacks from both straight and gay people, it’s a pretty big step for Hughes to take. It also means that he was right when he said that he didn’t lie, although it could have been misleading, when he denied being gay.
People say, “oh, why couldn’t he have used the Cameron defence?” They forget that the Cameron defence happened in 2005 and drugs are cool things that Average Joe uses. Apparently the 1980s were quite a hostile time — even more hostile than it is right now — to be gay. I wasn’t around in 1983 so I can’t say, although I have no reason to doubt that. If in the early 1980s he was asked if he was gay and just batted away the question without denying it he would have been accused of being evasive, and people would probably have said he was gay anyway (not that denying it helped Hughes on that front anyway).
Given that you apparently have to be married with kids to be accepted as a top politician (similar rumours about Gordon Brown’s sexual orientation continue to hound him because he left it until he was a bit old to have kids), it should be no surprise that Hughes wanted to keep it under his hat.
…I donâ€™t think gay men make good party leaders or Prime Ministers. This has nothing to do with what they do in bed but everything to do with their lives in general.
Before I am accused of prejudice, I should say that not only are some of my best friends gay, but probably most of them are. I work in the media, for goodness sake. [aaaaaarggfghghghgh] It is precisely because I know such a lot of gay men that I can say that I donâ€™t think many of them are capable of representing the interests of the vast majority of people.
Their lifestyles are too divorced from the norm. They are not better or worse, but they are different.
Gay men face challenges of their own, but they do not face those associated with having children which is the way most of us live…
What a grade-A idiot. And it’s because of these sorts of views, which are clearly still common in today’s supposedly enlightened society, that Simon Hughes had to deny that he was a bisexual.
Another reason why Simon Hughes is apparently fair game is because of the Bermondsey by-election. You know, that one where dissident Labour members launched homophobic attacks against the Labour candidate. There was a Liberal leaflet that called the election “a straight choice” — although it doesn’t say anything like “Simon Hughes is the straight choice” as most people are trying to make out. “A straight choice” is a very common term to use on election leaflets — even Labour used it last year, so it’s a bit much to be criticising the Liberals for using it against Labour almost a quarter of a century ago.
I was watching BBC News 24’s weekly political roundup last night, and this very issue was discussed. All of the pannelists condemned the slogan. The irony seemed to be lost on all of the guests — the programme they were on was called Straight Talk. So they were on a homophobic television programme, were they? Actually, they probably were. Paraphrasing guest Ann Leslie: “Haha, did you see The Sun? They called him a Limp Dem! AHHahahaah!” None of the other pannelists or the presenter suggested that the homophobia might be a bit out of order. Must be the liberal Biased BBC again, huh?
As for the “I’ve been kissed by Peter Tatchell” badges, have a read on Wikipedia — gay homophobes, eh? Obviously it looks a tad ironic given this week’s news about Simon Hughes’ private life. But since Hughes didn’t actually have anything to do with the badges, I think he can be let off on that front.