There is an odd resemblance between Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister in the present coalition government, and Argentina’s President Christina Kirchner. It’s not just the colouring and complexion: they both have a washed-out Botox look about them, faces that seem to be on the verge of collapse. Politically speaking there is also a resemblance: they are both provocateurs.
There is Kirchner, in this anniversary year, making waves over the British ‘occupation’ of the Falkland Islands. There is Featherstone, frantically waving her gay marriage flag, warning church leaders not to “fan the flames of homophobia” in their opposition to this absurdly unnecessary measure.
She clearly has no conception at all what marriage means, no conception of its significance in Christian thought and practice. Gay ‘marriage’ is a joke, a parody of the real thing, just as the black sabbath is a parody of the Christian mass. There is no prejudice here on my part; this is simply a statement of the facts, an understanding that marriage, since the earliest times, was conceived of as a union between man and women for the procreation of children.
Personally I can’t work up any particular energy over this issue; I do not understand why homosexuals need the final step of ‘marriage’ when civil partnerships already exist. Politically the whole thing is just so, well, patronising, a perfecr example of the worst kind of trendy gesture politics. Actually I can work up some energy over an increasingly loud-mouthed lobby, one determined to advance its agenda, no matter the cost. I can get worked up by a Conservative government, yes, Conservative, seeking to undermine an important part of the social fabric, as if it has not already been seriously damaged.
Cost, yes; I can also get worked up about the cost implications of Featherstone’s proposal, which will see a Nineteen Eight-Four style purge on all official documents referring to husband and wife. Existing marriage certificates could even be threatened. In future we shall have spouses and partners, though I’m not at all sure who the spouse is and who is the partner!
According to the official analysis released alongside Featherstone’s recently published ‘consultation’ paper (consultation, what consultation?) the cost of this red tape revolution will run into millions. Oh, well, we have money to burn, do we not, in these economically vibrant times? We certainly do, bombing Libya into a new Islamic dark age at one point, introducing gay marriage and undermining Christianity at another. Oops, there I go, fanning the flames of homophobia!
Actually, no, but I am fanning the flames of Liberalphobia, expressing my contempt for all those knuckle-heads like Featherstone who have no greater cause than to interfere in the lives of others, forcing people to accept one fashionable ‘progressive’ cause or another, whether they want it or not. The sad truth about our present coalition government is that a predominantly Conservative government is pursuing a social policy agenda that is being set by the Liberal minority.
I welcomed the advent of David Cameron, a refreshing change to the bleak years of New Labour, a refreshing change to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, those sleazy and morally debased ogres. But what a disappointment he has turned out to be, how weak and how vacillating. He is turning out to be a silly, frivolous, inconsequential little man, a politician of no real stature, a man nervous of his own shadow, a shadow in the shape of the risible Nick Clegg, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Gay marriage is to be in place by the next general election, to be held, so the gay government marriage agreement goes, not before 2015. Stalin once asked sarcastically how many divisions the pope had. I ask how many people who vote Conservative are in any way enthused by gay marriage. Not many, I would hazard.
There is also, ironically, the illiberal tone of the debate, the terms of which are being set by Featherstone. It’s not about airing views; it’s about silencing dissent, as Simon Heffer argued recently in the Telegraph. It’s about the use of language. ‘Homophobic’ is just another of those words like ‘racist’, a slur to dismiss or silence dissent. It’s being used even so far as churchmen, whose opposition to gay marriage is driven by scripture and canon law, not bigotry. Abuse, vilification and unreason, these are the small coins of a small and feather-brained mind. England does not love coalitions. How right Disraeli was.