Monday, 9 April 2012

The Ties That Bind

The issue of the moment in the blogsphere is the gay marriage one. There's been a lot of debate about this and I think every other blogger has now put their point forward. I've been waiting a while to see how things were playing out, so here goes...

To get it out of the way nice and early, I support gay marriage. We are going in that direction as a country and as Tim Montgomerie has argued, it could help boost the institution of marriage and I very much agree with that sentiment. There are definitely strong arguments against it such as the sanctity of marriage and whether this is even necessary or wanted. Comment has been posted by Chris Wells, Tony Flaig, Luke Edwards. Simon Moores and Michael Child have put bits about on this issue as well.

Without doubt there are far more important issues facing us as a District and as a Country than the issue of gay marriage. Watching the Full Council webcast, there was a big focus on Council services and a good debate about how the Council provides services and an early shot across the bows about a possible Council Tax rise for next year. THAT is the debate we should be dwelling on, seeing how the Council finances might look at the end of the year and planning ahead because clearly the Members recognise there's trouble ahead financially and that TDC isn't home and dry at all.

My reservation is that this has been nothing to do with the issue of gay marriage itself. It's been - as predicted - about John Worrow's obsession with what he sees as Conservative homophobes. We've been here before and this was knocked on the head back then with the closing of Worrow's World. Its clear this is the case as no argument has been pushed in favour of gay marriage by either John or Ian but instead they have criticised those who have made arguments against it. Their entire strategy is defensive.

John and Ian have argued that there was a consultation asking for opinion from local authorities and that's justification for it. I dont buy that. They are meaning relevant local authorities, that is those which handle marriages, which TDC does not. The vote is meaningless unless in light of the aforementioned background tactic to expose bad guys...


I remind them that there was a consultation on reforming Business Rates to allow greater local flexibility last year and neither Driver or Worrow were interested in that even though its clearly of interest to Thanet and that TDC did reply, listed in the summary of responses. I wonder if there's something in having Council considering relevant Government consultations. The downside would be that with the volatility of the Council Groups, this could lessen the effectiveness of such an idea.

While I support gay marriage, I'm thoroughly unimpressed by the behaviour of both Ian and John and I distance myself from it. John's ballsy yet bush-league questioning of Nigel Farage shows us another facet of the Councillor the residents of Birchington South have. I've twice posted on his "Thanet Diversity Network" Facebook page and both times they've been deleted without any explanation. I thought we were past all this, John.

The thing is, this didn't have to be handled this way. If the advice given by Matthew Brown back in December was heeded, this could have been an example of leadership rather than an attempt at Tory-hunting. He could have made an actual case and we could have had a full debate about this.

We now have the prospect of a public meeting hosted by Ian Driver at the Margate Media Centre. Originally this meeting was purely about the gay marriage issue but has now been overshadowed by Driver and Worrow's sensitivity to adverse opinion and now the main subject for this is "STOP HOMOPHOBIA IN THANET". This relates to Roger Gale's comment about "militant homosexuals" and secondly to the blogsphere debate. 

Well, Roger Gale has been talking about gay rights like that for yonks and should be of no suprise to anyone. Having been an MP since Thanet North was born way back in 1983, whether you agree with his views or not, its fair to say he's earned the right to express his views without such an over-reaction. Boris Johnson doesn't get this sort of reaction anymore... As for the blogs, I don't see any homophobia and the commentary by the other bloggers has been very well put. To throw the homophobia term about is reactionary and lacks maturity. The comment about Worrow being hung is no different than Clarkson's comment about executing striking workers. Just a joke.

Neither John nor Ian have made a case for gay marriage but slam anyone who disagrees with the idea of gay marriage as making "vitrolic comments" or threatening legal action. There is no right or wrong answer here, just different opinions. Both Councillors would do well to remember that.

Thinking over this, the following comes to mind.


4 comments:

simon moores said...

Excellent post James.. Well argued.. And a typical Glock self inflicted injury because of the squeeze safety on the trigger. More police officers than one can imagine have shot themselves in the leg through careless handling. I used to have the same firearm!

Anonymous said...

Theresa May MP
Home Secretary & Minister for Women and Equalities

On May 12 2010, the Prime Minister appointed The Rt Hon Theresa May MP as both Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

Ms May has been the Member of Parliament for Maidenhead since May 1997. She lives in her constituency and is an active local campaigner. She has been a keen advocate of positive action to recruit more women Conservatives to winnable seats and was a key architect of the ‘A list’ of preferred candidates.

A member of the shadow cabinet since 1999, and a Privy Counsellor since 2003, she has held a number of positions within Parliament since 1997. Her roles in the shadow Cabinet have included: secretary of state for education and employment, secretary of state for transport, local government and the regions, secretary of state for the family (culture, media and sport), and shadow leader of the House of Commons (2005-09). From 2002 to 2003, she was the first woman chairman of the Conservative Party. Before being appointed Home Secretary in 2010 Theresa held the positions of Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and the Shadow Minister for Women.

Theresa has been involved in politics at all levels for many years. She was a councillor in the London borough of Merton from 1986 to 1994. She worked in the City before becoming an MP, starting her career at the Bank of England before moving on to hold posts at the Association for Payment Clearing.

Anonymous said...

Interesting Simon Moores?

The claim that homophobic people are in secret attracted to members of their own sex, though they refuse to admit as much, will receive support from a series of psychological studies to be published later this month

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/04/09/study-homophobes-probably-harbour-same-sex-attraction/

Birch Tree said...

21.57 why do you bother posting pink news links on every blog? If we were interested we are all capable of looking for these things ourselves!
James, that was a very good piece and although I do not agree with gay marriage, I do feel that there is a debate here rather than, as you say, an attack just because we don't agree.
I am saddened as a resident of Birchington - we have been put in the limelight for all the wrong reasons. I have met Alastair Bruce and he is a good hardworking councillor and having to contend with Worrow and Cohen, who I see are now both in the TIGS party, is just a waste of his time. We cannot afford to lose these kind of people but why should they bother continuing when all there is to debate is trivia. It really is time that Labour and Conservatives worked together to sideline this petty and disruptive element.