Does he choose to be a doddering old fart?
Watched too much of It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum?
Jeremy Corbyn (67) is leader of the Labour Party, leader of what is (allegedly) the official opposition in the UK parliament, and appears to be stuck firmly in the 1970s.
Speaking from his offices at the start of LGBT History Month – because Labour exploit everything and everybody to get themselves noticed – in a rambling and waffling speech, the Labour leader spoke of people who “chose to be gay, chose to be lesbian”, quickly wrapped up his speech, and disappeared without taking any questions.
In the video of the speech, posted on the Pink News Facebook page, distinct murmers are heard amongst the invited guests as he comes out with the gaffe.
The Labour Party have since given a statement to Pink News, saying that “Jeremy clearly doesn’t believe that being gay is a choice. He obviously meant people should be able to choose how they live their lives.”
I have problems with that. The first of them is that Jeremy Corbyn was not talking off the top of his head; he was reading from a prepared speech, typewritten on four (yes, four, told you he was waffling) sheets of A4 paper. As the leader of the opposition and one of Britain’s largest political parties, one would imagine that Mr Corbyn has a press office and advisors. So did he run the speech past them first, and if so, if he did not spot his gaffe, how come they did not? If he did not ask anyone to proofread his speech, then I would equally ask why not?
But my main issue comes with the Labour Party response to complaints about his mistake, and that is the magic word is missing; “sorry”. Jeremy Corbyn did not comment on his speech himself, but instead a spokesperson did so on his behalf, saying he did not mean what he said. Neither Corbyn nor that spokesperson have actually said “sorry”.
I am not for one moment accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being a homophobe ~ well, not an intentional one at least. But he is a straight man of the older generation, and as much as he would hate to admit it, I suspect that his views on sexuality have been somewhat coloured by the culture and times of his younger days. I personally am old enough to recall (just ~ shaddup you lot) television and movies in the 1970s, with the likes of Frankie Howerd, Kenneth Williams, Charles Hawtry, John Inman, Dick Emery, Danny La Rue, etc, playing camp “mincing poofs” ~ the BBC sitcom “It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum” even had Windsor Davies calling the concert party “poofs” every episode ~ and we were all supposed to, and did, laugh at that. Even that odious fucking Nazi and very unfunny ‘comedian’ Jim Davidson had a go at it.
Okay, okay, so I am one of the biggest camp mincing poofs going. But that’s just me, darlings. I can’t help being FABULOUS!!!.
But all the same, those TV shows and movies did a great deal of harm by ingraining inaccurate stereotypes about gay men and others within the LGBT community, which we still live with unto this day. And know what? That was 40 years ago.
Anyone can make a mistake, particularly if they have been brought up in that kind of culture. But see when they do make such a mistake? I expect them to put their hands up, admit they made a glaring mistake, say “sorry”, mean it, and endeavour not to do it again.
What I do not expect is for the leader of a major political party to make such a mistake in a carefully-written speech, for such an auspicious occasion, with neither themselves nor anyone else in their party picking up on it and correcting it, or after having made that mistake, not having the guts to actually say “sorry”.
Speaking of LGBT activism overseas, Jeremy Corbyn stated “After all, an injury to one is an injury to all.” Quite so, Jeremy ~ so learn from your own words.
I also question one claim that Jeremy Corbyn made in his speech, that he was instrumental in ‘saving’ a gay centre from the neo-Nazi National Front. Corbyn claimed that in the 1970s there were derelict buildings, one of which was taken over by gay activists as the “North London Gay Centre”. He went on to claim that the National Front were going to attack the centre, and he and other community councillors gathered the local community to chase the NF off.
I had never heard this story, but it did ring a bell of the reports I have read about the courageous “Brixton Faeries” and such a centre in south London. The South London Gay Community Centre started life when some gay men broke into a boarded-up shop on 78 Railton Road, Brixton, London in 1974. They remained there for the next two years before being forcibly evicted in 1976. During that time they highlighted not only LGBT rights, but the poverty and rampant racism (including a great deal of which came at the hands of the Metropolitan Police) which existed in Brixton at the time. A group from the centre – the Brixton Faeries – took activism against homophobic and racist pubs. They stood by their community, and their community stood by them. When the NF did indeed come a-marching down Railton Road to picket the centre, it was the local Union Place Community Resource Centre who supported the gay centre, and sent the NF packing.
Far be from me to ever call Jeremy Corbyn a liar, but a search of the internet turned up nothing for a North London Gay Centre, and I would suggest that his memory is playing tricks on him. If that is the case, and he made no attempt to check his facts on that first, then I would seriously suggest his suitability for the leader of the opposition, or even (“Shudder!!!”) a future British Prime Minister.
Of course, it may well be I who is mistaken. And if either Mr Corbyn or anyone else can enlighten me as to this north London centre, then I will admit I was wrong, and I’ll say sorry, and mean it ~ because that’s what nice people do when they are in the wrong, Jeremy.
I do not for one moment attempt to hide my antipathy towards the Labour Party, collectively or Jeremy Corbyn as their leader. Labour have betrayed their working class support and roots ~ particularly true here in Scotland ~ and Jeremy Corbyn has made so many u-turns that he is now spinning erratically in the road, he wouldn’t know a socialist if one bit him on the bum, and enforcing a three-line whip on his own MPs to vote in favour of the Tory government taking the UK out of the EU was nothing short of cowardly and hypocritical in my opinion.
But when the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in 2017 can make comments about people choosing their sexuality ~ and fails to say sorry, and whose memory appears to be failing them, then they are either an out-of-date anachronism, or they are just simply past it. Either way, their suitability for any public office has to seriously be called into question.
The story in Pink News and the video can be found here: