Monday, 24 January 2011

Melanie Phillips and the 'gay agenda'

Yesterday, an article on the Mail website claimed:

The article, by Kate Loveys, stuck closely to a story by Jasper Copping that was posted on the Telegraph website the day before.

The Mail's version was a classic example of the truth being revealed slowly but surely. It starts:

Young children are to be taught about homosexuality in their maths, geography, science and English lessons, it has emerged.

'Are to be'. So that's clear then, right? Well, the next sentence suggests maybe not:

As part of a Government-backed drive to ‘celebrate the gay community’, maths problems could be introduced that involve gay characters.

Ah, now it's 'could be'. Next:

In geography classes, students will be asked why homosexuals move from the countryside to cities – and words such as ‘outing’ and ‘pride’, will be used in language classes.

Back to 'will be'. So it's definite then, for kids aged four, as the headline suggests?

The lesson plans are designed to raise awareness about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues and, in theory, could be used for children as young as four.

No. Only 'in theory'. It certainly seems unlikely children that young would be asked questions about the reasons people move to the city.

And then, three sentences later, the big revelation:

Although the lesson plans are not compulsory, they are backed by the Department for Education and will be available for schools to download from the Schools Out website.

And towards the end of the article:

A Department for Education spokesman added: ‘These are optional teaching materials.'

So from children 'will be taught' and 'are to be asked' to 'these are optional' and 'not compulsory'.

Today, in her Mail column, Melanie Phillips takes on the story but, unsurprisingly, those facts about 'not compulsory' and 'optional' have disappeared:

schoolchildren are to be bombarded with homosexual references in maths, geography and ­science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to promote the gay agenda.

Phillips chooses not to mention that these lesson plans are optional at any point. It's just a bombardment that cannot be stopped. Why? Because:

Alas, this gay curriculum is no laughing matter. Absurd as it sounds, this is but the latest attempt to brainwash children with propaganda under the camouflage of education. It is an abuse of childhood.

And it’s all part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very ­concept of normal sexual behaviour.

It's hard to know where to start. Why is it Phillips, Littlejohn and their ilk believe educating children about LGBT issues - issues they may be trying to come to terms with personally - is 'brainwashing'? It is quite ludicrous, ill-informed rhetoric. And, as Jonathan at No Sleep Til Brooklands says:

How can you top the claim that mentioning gay people in passing in a textbook question equates to "an abuse of childhood"?

And then there's her view that homosexual sexual behaviour is not 'normal' about which little needs to be said.

She goes on:

As the old joke has it, what was once impermissible first becomes tolerated and then becomes mandatory.

So she not only redefines 'normal', 'bombarded' and 'abuse' but also 'joke'. But what is she on about? How does she think homosexuality is becoming 'mandatory'?

And then she laments the:

...values which were once the moral basis for British society are now deemed to be beyond the pale.

What was once an attempt to end unpleasant attitudes towards a small sexual minority has now become a kind of bigotry in reverse.

Expressing what used to be the moral norm of Western civilisation is now not just socially impermissible, but even turns upstanding people into lawbreakers.

Notice how she downplays homophobia. To her, homophobia isn't disgusting, or hatred or even bigotry. It's just 'unpleasant attitudes' held by 'upstanding people', although in her final sentence she finally admits gay people can be the 'victims of prejudice'.

She makes no mention of homophobic bullying, which may be tackled if children are educated about these issues. A 2007 Stonewall survey said:

Almost two thirds of homosexual pupils in Britain's schools have suffered homophobic bullying...Almost all of those had experienced verbal bullying but 41% had been physically attacked, while 17% said they had received death threats.

Does she not consider such bullying important?

She goes on to repeat yesterday's nonsensical Mail on Sunday splash which was deconstructed by Atomic Spin. And, of course, she refers to Peter and Hazelmary Bull - the B&B owners who were fined for denying a gay couple a double room. It's not that they had broken the law, Phillips says, but that they had:

fall[en] foul of the gay inquisition.

Moreover, she says:

It seems that just about everything in Britain is now run according to the gay agenda.

Has the 'gay agenda' (whatever that is) stopped her writing her column today? Or stopped it being printed in the daily newspaper with second-biggest circulation in Britain? No.

Seems that 'gay inquisition' isn't quite as powerful as she claims, let alone 'McCarthyite' as she so hyperbolically states. And yet:

the seemingly all-­powerful gay rights lobby carries all before it.

Sigh. To quote David Schneider:

Melanie Phillips' latest article. Blimey. Can we build a paywall round the Daily Mail website to keep the articles in?

(For more, try the Melanie Phillips' Quiz of the Day from The Media Blog, and see posts from Press Not Sorry and Forty Shades of Grey)


  1. It must be a very scary place inside Mel's head.

  2. The comments (and the ratings) under the article on the Mail website are well worth reading. Phillips is currently getting quite a drubbing and the commenters are getting very good reactions. From people on the Daily Mail website! I doubt if it will be long before they stop taking comments.

  3. "...values which were once the moral basis for British society are now deemed to be beyond the pale.

    What was once an attempt to end unpleasant attitudes towards a small sexual minority has now become a kind of bigotry in reverse.

    Expressing what used to be the moral norm of Western civilisation is now not just socially impermissible, but even turns upstanding people into lawbreakers."

    Fun game: remove the word "sexual" from this quote and pretend Melanie is lamenting the days when slavery was socially acceptable.

  4. I am amazed that someone of Melanie Phlilips's obvious limited intellect is allowed to air their nonsense in a national newspaper.

    People do not convert to their sexuality in the same way that people such as Phillips convert to believing in a mythical sky-dweller who is perfect, omnipotent, all-seeing and all-powerful and yet reputedly wiped out his family a few years ago, (after putting two of every one of 5 million species in a boat *sigh*) and who created a method of feeding as cruel as the food chain.

    It is not gays, and their love for their fellow man or woman who should be subjected to such bigoted scrutiny, it is the followers of primitive fairy stories handed down from primitive shepherds who we should be eyeing with suspicion in this age of scientific enlightenment. It is religious intolerance and the idealogical assertion of all religions that theirs is the only true way to heaven, that should be condemned and ridiculed and subjected to legislation to prevent its corruption from spreading any further. That is something we can achieve. Telling people not to be gay is about as productive as telling christians to stop talking nonsense. In both cases it is how they were created, and if you''re religious surely it is how both were created by god?

  5. "It must be a very scary place inside Mel's head." - Anon.

    I've heard similar said about many a large, unoccupied house.

  6. Some of the comments are priceless - like the person who says that "when this country has become an Islamic state, we will look back and see that the gay agenda and the soft treatment of criminals was largely to blame"

    As one of my colleagues suggested, they may have got their "list of people I hate" muddled up somewhere.

    I'm quite intrigued how many of them seem concerned about all the "ramming" and "thrusting" that the gay agenda requires. Freud would have a field day

  7. As ever, many of the comments - especially the highly rated ones - make depressing reading. Meanwhile, eminently reasonable comments get red-arrowed, like that from Mrs S of Bucks:

    "I suspect that the truth is a lot less sensational than the DM likes to report but I have absolutely no problems with this being part of the curriculum when my daughter goes to school. Unlike some other posters, I bring my daughter up not to be small minded and to be allowed to make her own choices in life. It's OK to be gay and if she turns out to be a lesbian, it will not be a problem for me and my husband."

  8. I can't recall having the 'gay agenda' forced on me, but then again I'm not a hateful bigot who insists on treating them like shit in a million little ways, like placing unprovable stories above something deeply ingrained in a person's sexual identity and inner happiness.

  9. Your entire artifact here is just cementing the fact that your position is entirely left wing, and even if you had an ear open enough to hear what Melanie Phillips is saying, you would just simply refute it without even minute understanding. I, for one, both abhor you, and regret the compunction that moved you to this meaningless breakdown. Lastly, I feel sorry for you, that deploring others words through cold un-backed factual analysis is somehow a noble thing in your mind.

  10. Re: iainkilpatrick, it's always interesting to see a Christian coastguard both "abhor" and "feel sorry" for a fellow man who simply points out the fact that what someone is saying is incredibly short-sighted and immensely right-wing.

    It's fuckwittery like this that sets us back a generation, and reminds us that whether you "love a good church service" or not, it doesn't necessarily make you a good person, though certainly highlights how you can be so blindly judgemental.

  11. @Iainkilpatrick

    You said:

    " Lastly, I feel sorry for you, that deploring others words through cold un-backed factual analysis is somehow a noble thing in your mind."

    Great point. After-all; who wants to have their head filled with "factual" commentary. I much prefer to use the nonsensical, bigoted and opinionated ramblings of a gutter-press journalist when taking my viewpoint on a subject.

    Facts? Pah, they're for lefty-loonies.

  12. Ian, it seems that the post understands Melanie Phillips' points perfectly. Saying that it is "cold un-backed factual analysis" seems to be a contradiction in terms. Each point is opened up and examined; a process that any journalist should expect to have happen to their work.

    By doing this, we can separate the facts from the rhetoric. The result is we find that the very bigoted "agenda" of Ms Phillips is exposed. At its worst, it's a hate-fuelled attack on an imaginary enemy. At best, it is a flight of peculiar fantasy.

  13. Iain, I think you'll find that it's Ms Phillips who doesn't have facts on her side.

    I hesitate to speak for others, but I don't think that "deploring others['] words through cold un-backed factual analysis is somehow a noble thing" in anybody's mind here. It does fit Ms Phillips, as has been explained. However, I suspect you haven't even read the post above, you just popped in to troll.

  14. iankilpatrick

    Seems odd that you would accuse Macguffin of "[refuting] with minute understanding" when you seem to have done just that. Seems just as odd that you would then "abhor" (hate) him for it.

    Also, try to tone down the flowry vocabulary in the future. You're coming across as somebody desperately trying to look clever.

  15. I'm going to borrow Ian's (15:38) words, replacing some with my own, because similar arguments could easily be made against Melanie Phillips herself.

    "[Ms Phillips] entire artifact here is just cementing the fact that [her] position is entirely [right] wing, and even if [she] had an [eye] open enough to [read] what [the original report] is saying, [she] would just simply refute it without even minute understanding. I, for one, both abhor [her], and regret the compunction that moved [her] to this meaningless breakdown. Lastly, I feel sorry for [her], that deploring others [sexuality] through cold [lack of empathy or understanding] is somehow a noble thing in [her] mind."

    I fail to see what is 'left-wing' about opposing bigotry, unless all right-wingers are, in fact, bigots. Perhaps people shouldn't be allowed to air their opinions about columns in national newspapers. Maybe the right to reply should be rescinded. Ah, except so-called right-wingers are forever talking about the right to free speech.

    Ms Phillips is free to write her article, just as others are free to share their views on why they think she's wrong, and just as you, Ian, are free to say you abhor and feel sorry for someone who has done just that. Actually, I would be genuinely interested to hear your thoughts on what Ms Phillips has written, and your opinion about the point she was trying to make. That's a sincere expression of interest, by the way, and not me trying to start an argument.

  16. What exactly has the Mail done wrong, according to you, in publishing the column, and what should be done about it?

    Has the Mail misrepresented her views? Surely not, if she wrote the piece herself. So should they be censored?

    If yes, say so. If not, then what are you complaining about, and what is the problem?

  17. A good post. My only concern is that, by actually reading Mel P's deranged twaddle, you might be permanently harmed. Remember, as the guy with the big moustache so nearly said: 'He who studies loons must be careful that he does not become one. And when you gaze into the Daily Mail, it gazes into you.'

  18. The Daily Mash spoof of Liz'a Jones's article had it right:

    "There was no ceremony here, no policeman, just the article on a now dog-eared poster. I got the feeling the world is starting to forget Liz, that she'll become just another thumbnail on the Daily Mail website, along with Peter Hitchens, Jan Moir and that fucking lunatic Melanie Phillips."

    She is a fucking lunatic.

  19. As someone who is interested in facts rather than quasi-religious babblings from aggressors pretending to be victims, can anybody answer the following: -
    Both The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail state that the TDA is providing the funding.
    According to its website: "The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is the national agency and recognised sector body responsible for the training and development of the school workforce." Does the TDA have any input as to how lessons are conducted in schools?
    Has Michael Gove anything to say about the two articles?

    On 24 November 2010, the TDA received a letter from Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, outlining his intention to transfer the functions of the TDA to an executive agency of the Department for Education.

    There is nothing on the TDA website about the LGBT community, except a pdf about the Equality Act of 2010.

  20. @Anonymous, I don't think anyone is specifically saying that Mad Mel isn't entitled to her views.

    But I think people are entitled to question the motives of those who deliberately distort facts, by claiming for example that "gay maths" will be compulsory, when in fact these are only optional ideas.

    When people make ludicrous claims, at the expense of any particular group of people, and exaggerate those claims, with the possible consequence that others then believe that something is happening in every school, which is patently not the case, then I think it's right and proper that their actions are highlighted on blogs such as this.

    Remember that, back in the 1980s, it was precisely this sort of scaremongering, whipping up a storm about a book called "Jenny lives with Eric and Martin", which was available in a resource centre for teachers, where newspapers gave the impression it was in actual school libraries, and pretty much compulsory to read it, that gave rise to Section 28.

    Mad Mel is perfectly entitled to say she doesn't think an optional set of resources should have been produced, but when in doing so she exaggerates and suggests it's actually going to be compulsory, then do you really think no one should say anything?

  21. Melanie is on to something in the bit that says;
    "In science, they will be directed to ­animal species such as emperor ­penguins and sea horses [sic], where the male takes a lead role in raising its young...And it’s all part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very ­concept of normal sexual behaviour."
    I'd go as far to suggest that the gay rights lobby probably invented both of these animals for the purpose of "brainwashing" children. I for one have never actually seen a seahorse or a penguin in the flesh; has anyone? The clues are there; they're pretty gay ideas for animals if you think about it, seahorses sort of move in a gay way, and penguins all wear those skin-tight dapper suits. Dead giveaway.

  22. Not saying anything is not the best response to Melanie Phillips. But simply saying "I disagree" is not a good response either. And if that is all this blog has to say, then it is hardly worth the trouble. That goes for the other blogs which reacted to her comments.

    You might try looking at some facts:

    1. Melanie Phillips' view are shared by a section of the population.

    2. Melanie Phillips did not make anyone think that way, and even daily republication by the Mail can not alter peoples attitudes.

    3. Tabloids and the media in general, are incapable of altering individual positive or negative attitudes to gays, women, foreigners, Muslims...

    4. If a society accepts that such views may be expressed, then politically speaking, that is the end of the matter. They will be expressed, and that's that.

  23. @Anonymous,
    Re. point 4. Yes, legally she can express her views just as opposing views such as this may also be expressed (which is no more or less futile than her expressing those views in the first place). You would seem to suggest that the only possible response is either to agree with Melanie Phillips or to propose censoring her: a highly reductive position. Surely providing facts with which to refute such an argument is a legitimate activity (regardless of your political standpoint).

    With regards to the rest of your points, yes, 1 is manifestly true, 2 and 3 are highly debatable (and indeed, are the subject of debate).

  24. The problem is not really Melanie Phillips at all. In this case, you all know approximately which group most strongly holds the views she published: evangelical christians. However you should also note that her views on Islam and immigration are shared by many gay men. (Pim Fortuyn was the archetype of the gay immigrant-basher, but he was not the only one).

    However: that wont get any coverage here. The whole purpose of this blog is to blame the tabloids for prejudice, xenophobia, racism, and discrimination. That's why points 2 and 3 (above) are important.

    What this post suggests is that Melanie Phillips causes other people to hold the attitudes she expresses. She doesn't, they held these views already. You have to recognise that to begin to think about what to do.

    In case it is not clear enough: the proper response to discrimination and xenophobia specifically founded in Christian beliefs of specific sects or churches, must be concerned with those specific churches, and their members. Not with columnists who parrot their views.

  25. Anonymous (14:28) - That is not the 'whole purpose of this blog' at all.

    Also, I strongly disagree that this particular post suggests what you says it does. It is solely about the factual inaccuracies and nonsensical hyperbole of the Mail and Phillips.


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