What are you saying Mr Dale ?

Iain Dale has printed his Eastern Daily Press column today on his blog and makes a rather astonishing parallel between the Liz Truss situation in South West Norfolk and that of a gay man.

Quoting Iain directly he says

" I wrote on my blog that the social outlook of those Tories who sought to deselect Liz Truss over her past affair with an MP was ‘neanderthal’. It’s the same social outlook which caused a few – and I emphasise, a few – North Norfolk Tories to swallow hard when I, a gay man, was selected as the candidate there in 2003."

Now I find this analogy rather odd and also rather disrespectful.

What Iain is saying is that there is a direct link, an equation, which puts as equal the peoples perceptions of gay people with person who breaks their marriage vows and has a long term affair with another married person. Am I the only person who finds this odd ?

My own views on gay people is not any different from my opinions towards heterosexual people. I have many gay friends, indeed my very best friend has recently announced his intention to marry (and I mean marry because they are going to Canada to do it) his male partner next year. Yet Iain Dale seems to be saying that the social outlook that people have towards a person who cares not one jot about her marriage vows, her promise to her partner and the vows her lover made to his wife is equal to the social values of someone who dislikes gay people. I disagree.

I am not a great fan of those people who think that marriage vows are something that can be ignored. It is a solemn promise to act in a way that is wholly loyal to your partner. It is not to be taken lightly. People are perfectly entitled to view people who break these vows with suspicion, as someone who may not keep to their word, and as someone who puts themselves selfishly above others. However, if you view someone who is gay with the same suspicion simply because they are gay, then this is wholly wrong.

For Iain Dale to equate the two is absolutely wrong. He may feel as a gay man he can get away with it. But I know many people who feel that the equation between a gay man and a marriage cheat is unfair.

Someone being gay is not an issue and should never be. Someone who breaks vows and solemn promises is, for many a real and justified position to take. When the issue of trsut is so important at the moment when talking about politicians, anything that causes people to lose trust is a justified position.


Andrew Allison said...

Iain has gone too far on that analogy,I agree.

Old Holborn said...

Let us not forget that Mr Dale earns good money by his speaking appointments with Reform (deputy director, Liz Truss)

jailhouselawyer said...

Iain Dale, openly gay, caused a few North Norfolk Tories to swallow hard. I am not sure whether he is bragging or complaining.

Anonymous said...

I think the point in the analogy is that in both cases it is none of your business, nor does it have any bearing on someone's ability to be an MP. Nor would it be consistent to deselect a candidate on such grounds whilst Mark Field remains an MP.

Keith Elliott said...

I've read Iain Dale for about a year now and really enjoyed his 'independent Tory' views for much of that period. Even though I disagreed with much/most of his conclusions, he always wrote intelligently and lucidly.

Of late, I guess as the GE draws ever closer, he has become more slavishly Tory, clearly angrier and hence, less cogent.

I sort of know what he is getting at here, but he does himself no favours in the argument he makes.

jailhouselawyer said...

For what it is worth, here's my twopenneth...

South West Norfolk selection: molehill, slag heap or mountain?

Anonymous said...

It does seem Iain has gone over the top in what is seems to be an attempt to help out someone he knows.

The EDP should though start to wonder why he has a column with them after his criticism of them this week.

Iain Dale said...

What a load of old tosh, both from Nich and some of the commenters here.

I was not equating being gay with having an affair. What I was doing was saying that that people who have old fashioned attitudes about candidates who are gay, aare probably the same people who cannot forgive anyone having an affair.

I think the institution of marriage is a great thing, and keeping vows is very important. But hum beings are fallible. If Ms Truss's husband can forgive her, then so should others.

Old Holborn fails to understand the difference between Reform and the Tory Reform Group. He's also a prize cock. I have never earned any money through speaking for Reform. Indeed, I don't recall ever speaking for them.

Anonymous - I do not know Liz Truss. She is not a friend of mine. I think I have met her twice and exchnaged about 3 sentences. It is to the EDP's credit that they printed my column unchanged.

Keith Elliott said...

He is getting very touchy these days isn't he?

Quietzapple said...

Marriage means different things to people these days, and it is the meanings to the combatants which, in the absence of children, matters.

Sir Iain is surely right that there would be a considerable overlap between the homophobes and those with conventional views of marriage?

Don't you just love tory "politics"? All adultery, euro promises, homophobia and fox hunting . . .

I feel a modernist Evelyn Waugh adaptation coming on . . .

James Higham said...

Someone being gay is not an issue and should never be. Someone who breaks vows and solemn promises is, for many a real and justified position to take.

Exactly, Nich. Iain Dale seems to be losing it lately.

Richard T said...

All I can add is that I can't see how the Swaffham Tories got theirselves in such a mess over a bonka.

Malcolm Redfellow said...

I've a soft spot for SW Norfolk: it was where I was old enough to vote for the first time.

This story is quite amazing. On one level it proves the old adage that all the best Labour scandals involve money, while the Tories outdo us all in matters of sex. Then one comes to the details.

i was losing interest until I came across Nick Britten in the Daily Telegraph:

Elizabeth Truss, the high-flying Conservative candidate embroiled in controversy following her affair with a former Tory front bencher, has been given two weeks to save her political skin.

The 100-strong membership of the South West Norfolk Conservative Association will vote on November 16th whether to deselect her in the light of an 18-month long relationship she enjoyed with the married MP Mark Field in 2004.

What I found quite staggering there was the quoted size of the Tory membership in SW Norfolk.

Can that be the case?

Should we not remind ourselves that this is not an ultra-safe Tory seat? Gillian Shephard's majority in 1997 was down to under 2,500. There is, historically, a strong radical tendency: Sidney Dye and Bert Hilton held the seat for Labour from '45 to '64 (i.e. until the NUAW had lost the plot and a place in the world). Last time round the LibDem vote (April Pond) was up by 8%. This one could go the same way as North Norfolk.

And as a stereotypical Labour voter, I wouldn't weep too many tears over that.

Anonymous said...

I think Iain Dale's support of ET is very touching and rather puzzling. At the selection she was heard telling someone that she did not think Dale was MP material and was much more useful to the Party running his blog. Certainly much more useful to her methinks!

Anonymous said...

In this EDP article she states that she would have "made sure people knew" How does she square this with her pevious statements in her defence to the EDP and the Lynn Times (yup I'm a loocal) that she was not allowed to speak to anyone. Also she says she became a Tory at Uni. She was Chairman of the Libdems at Uni! That information is in the public domain. So is she now telling us she was being unfaithful to the Libdems?

Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Yesterday's headlines were "Liz Truss comes out fighting" (Iain Dale) and "Liz Truss wins over local paper" (Conservative Home).
They should waited a day for Saturday's EDP.
I think this finally does for Liz. Even Iain cannot spin this one.