Hamasexuality? The Sun and Homophobia in Britain and the Middle East

Great front page on the Sun on Wednesday, concerning Crispin Blunt’s admission that he uses party poppers. Well great for fans of alliteration, though utterly execrable for the rest of us. See if you can identify which adjective here is totally superfluous?


“The gay ex-minister confessed during a debate on Government plans to outlaw the legal high, often used to boost sexual pleasure.”


You wouldn’t say a straight ex-minister, or black ex-minister. Only makes sense when you realise that this is connecting into a very well-worn discourse that views homosexuals as deviant hedonists.


It’s slimy, underhand and insidious.


What a load of old guff about British values. We castigate Russia for its illiberal anti-gay propaganda laws (an injustice, for sure) and yet totally forget about Section 28 which was around until last generation despite our vastly better circumstances and much longer tradition of democracy.


There are two inferences that we could draw: firstly, that Russia is not far off the curve and, more broadly, countries should be allowed to develop “organically”, free of Western interference– a boon to authoritarian proponents of “sovereign democracy”. Wrong. Prejudice should be confronted wherever it occurs, even this happens to be in communities aligned against imperialism – my enemy’s enemy is not my friend. It’s this attitude which has led to the lamentable state of Islam in this country at least – though conversely it is one which has saved us from the fate of the more principled French… for now.


The nature of this opposition is of course up for discussion. The very laudable values that we espouse can easily be connected to the injustices that we perpetrate abroad, so that the two become inextricable. Simply put our Enlightenment ideals come to be seen as instruments of imperialism to the extent that not only are reactionaries empowered in their non-western domestic context, but discussion is precluded altogether. It is in precisely this way that the foreign policy IS linked to terrorism. The key here is to quietly empower advocates abroad where we can, while avoiding the moral grandstanding and talk of “clashes of civilisation” which undermine them.


I think the second one is to take this is an injunction to improve ourselves; for this to be a clarion call that cuts across the strangely soothing cacophony of jingoism and self-satisfaction.


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