French Farce of a Gay Marriage

Missive directed at several newspapers after having watched the first gay marriage in France descend into a media scrum because one of the grooms had a point to make:

Sirs,

I’m a gay man, and fully in favour of same-sex marriage.

But I’d have a lot more respect for France’s first gay marriage if they’d done it quietly like a proper wedding instead of inviting 150 journalists and turning it into a media freak show. The younger groom looked distinctly uncomfortable with all the posturing that his gay-activist husband was indulging in, on what should have been their special day together.

It always annoys me when equality isn’t enough. It is a major issue I have with the gobbier members of the “gay community” (whatever that is supposed to be) over here who spend so much time and energy campaigning, that they don’t realise they’re putting people off and having the opposite effect that they think they are.

The battle had been one. It was bad form to stamp the defeated’s head into the ground.

Paul Harper

The Evening Standard printed it, heavily edited:

20130603-190531.jpg

Then the Independent printed a longer version:

20130603-190538.jpg

Advertisements

Coalition’s “Grown-Up” Junior Partner

Sirs,

I do wish Nick Clegg would stop saying that “the public decided this is what they wanted” when justifying his inability to break up the coalition.

Not one single voter had this in mind when we voted, something later proved by the resounding defeat of his proportional voting referendum which would have made these fake coalitions far more likely in future.

By hanging on for dear life to his tenuous and mostly imaginary grip on power, he does his party and the country a great disservice.

Paul Harper

Posturing politicians desperate to disguise their own failures

Sirs,

I am getting very bored seeing committee rooms full of posturing politicians trying to divert attention from their own failures.

Companies like Google, Amazon and Starbucks are behaving within the tax laws. If politicians don’t like this then it is their responsibility to make changes.

The frequent dragging of senior company figures before Parliament is achieving nothing and convincing nobody – the failure to collect decent amounts of tax is totally the fault of the politicians who define the laws.

Paul Harper

The Independent published it:

20130530-070720.jpg

Cameron’s Catastrophic Lack of Control

Having previously written to the Evening Standard (see May 14th blog entry), they emailed back asking for 100-200 words on Cameron’s failure to reign in his MPs after 114 of them voted for a motion expressing disappointment that the Queen’s Speech contained no mention of a referendum on Europe. This is what I wrote:

Control is a rare and precious thing, and in politics it is essential. David Cameron knows this because he has none.

He has no control over the economy because he stopped investing in it, he has no control over banks and The City and as events yesterday showed he has no control over his own political party.

Instead of positioning Britain at the centre of a rapidly-changing Europe, he has allowed us to be dismissed as irrelevant because his weakness means his actions never match his rhetoric.

This has allowed the lunatic fringe within the Conservatives to align themselves with the even more looney UKIP, and has given an undeserved credibility to nonsensical, racist extremism.

The protest vote – and that is all it was – at the local elections has him spooked and like the ideology-free opportunistic PR politician he is, he has no idea how to control it. Because of this, UKIP has gained a credibility quite out of proportion to its actual importance.

It’s always fun watching a political party implode. It’s rather more serious when it’s a government. I just hope it doesn’t do too much damage to the country on the way down.

Having asked for it, they didn’t use it. Of course!

Ageism and sexism in media is not a male-only problem

Rant at the Guardian after a particularly whiny front-page piece about the rarity of over 50’s female presenters:

Sirs,

You highlight that only 18% of media presenters over 50 are female.

Over 50% of the population of the country is female – why don’t these presenters have massive viewing figures? Surely if women wanted to support this “cause” then they’d watch and be supportive in huge numbers?

The answer is, of course, that it isn’t a “cause” at all, it’s just a few gobby individuals who feel their ‘special talents’ aren’t being appreciated.

They are right, they’re not being appreciated. But they’re not being appreciated by both men AND women equally, so the issue is NOT one of sexism.

Any female presenter who thinks she’s striking a blow for equality by appearing on shows for cooking or shopping or country walks is delusional. They are reinforcing stereotypes, not breaking them.

Paul Harper

UKIP Flash in the Pan

Sirs,

I do wish the mindless media would stop banging on about UKIP. Those of us with memories longer than a goldfish will remember “return to your constituencies and prepare for government” from David Steele, and more recently how Cleggmania was going to change the face of British politics because “everyone agreed with Nick”.

Both were flashes in the pan and rapidly forgotten when the hard reality of a general election ballot form was put in front of people.

However irritating Farrage is, he’s not stupid and he knows this. It is why he’s got everyone – the Tories in particular – running around like headless chickens doing what he wants right now because he knows that in two years time after the next election he and his party will be just more of yesterday’s news.

Paul Harper

Sewell vs. “Vicious” – Protesting too much

Missive to the Evening Standard:

Sirs,

I read Brian Sewell’s piece on the ITV series “vicious” with considerable amusement. Even now, I am not sure it isn’t parody.

Mr Sewell’s claims that ordinary older gay men do not behave anything like the show’s characters are well made – as a 53 year old gay man, I know this to be true.

Where Mr Sewell’s point runs out of both steam and credibility is his claim to be such a person. In his writing and occasional media appearances, he comes across as a missing third male member of the cast. The vicious posturing queen is exactly his public face, and it has been for donkey’s years.

I too dislike Vicious, but for the far worse crime of it simply not being funny.

Paul Harper