Brexit Party MEP and former Westminster MP Ann Widdecombe is in trouble. Or rather we are.
For we all live at a worrying time when a perfectly innocuous remark can be tantamount to a crime if it goes against the grain of a modern cult.
Actually, because her views tend to be informed by her Catholic faith, Miss Widdecombe treads on thin ice even before she says anything our pious secularists see as controversial. And if she ever utters anything consistent with her beliefs, the ice cracks under her feet.
Since she’s a forthright woman, tricking her into saying something seen as objectionable by The Guardian and PinkNews is easy. Our TV interviewers can set verbal traps with the skill of a KGB interrogator.
Armed with a full armoury of such techniques, save for rubber truncheons and strategically placed electrodes, Sky News presenter Niall Paterson was questioning Miss Widdecombe about the policies of the Brexit Party.
Except he really wasn’t. What Paterson was trying to do was to trick his mark into ‘incriminating’ herself by saying something ‘controversial’.
In that spirit, he pointed out to Miss Widdecombe that some of her views are at odds with many members of her new party. Specifically, he referred to her 2012 article in which she suggested that one day science may “produce an answer” to homosexuality.
She wrote that: “The unhappy homosexual should, according to gay activists, be denied any chance whatever to investigate any possibility of seeing if he can be helped to become heterosexual.”
“The fact that you expressed [this view],” said Mr Paterson with a well-practised self-righteous grimace, “means that plenty of people would not want to share a platform with you.” The mimicry was so vivid that the viewer was left in no doubt that Mr Paterson himself was talking to Miss Widdecombe only under duress.
All hell broke loose in the aftermath. Independent MP Nick Boles referred to Ann Widdecombe’s remark as “poisonous bigotry.”
Labour MP Chris Bryant added, without even pretending personal disinterest, that: “She clearly thinks there’s something wrong with being gay and wants to cure us or make us disappear.”
That Ann Widdecombe said something reasonable and compassionate got lost in the din, drowned in the venomous spittle sputtered by the paid-up worshippers of modern cults. Clearly, the only acceptable way to talk about homosexuality is to treat it as an ‘alternative lifestyle’, equal, and in some subtle ways possibly even superior, to any other – and certainly as normal as any other.
Anything else is treated as blasphemy against the cult, whose exponents won’t even bother to argue with the blasphemer. ‘Off with her head’ is the only righteous response.
Now I’m not aware of any universally applicable ethical system in the West other than that of Judaeo-Christian moral doctrine. This is the foundation not only of our morality, but also of our legality, which has to be accepted even by atheists.
According to that doctrine, homosexuality is a sin – not the worst sin, but one nonetheless. True, to most people these days sin is nothing but an outdated construct.
However, even they must see that homosexuality falls short of the norm, practised as it is by a small proportion of people (1.4 per cent according to the most extensive study I’ve ever seen). Yet in Britain the attitude to that practice has been lenient for at least a couple of centuries.
Society took the view that in this matter, as in many others, Judaeo-Christian morality shouldn’t be enforced. It was accepted that what two people do in private is their business and no one else’s, provided they don’t impose their morality on everyone else.
That’s where things would have stood had homosexuality, along with everything else that contradicts our moral tradition, not been politicised. It was no longer enough for people to tolerate homosexuals – the new political cult, just like bolshevism and Nazism, wasn’t satisfied with good-natured acquiescence. It demanded enthusiastic support.
Whenever none is offered, the ensuing outrage has nothing to do with the face value of the argument. The response isn’t that of a debater; it’s that of a fanatic whose sacr
So what’s the precise nature of Ann Widdecombe’s “poisonous bigotry”? She said that science could help homosexuals to become heterosexuals. This statement sounds unassailable: if science can change sex, why not sexuality?
If a man who used to be a woman can be impregnated by a woman who used to be a man, it’s counterintuitive to reject the possibility that science will one day be able to scale that particular barrier.
Miss Widdecombe was specifically talking about “unhappy homosexuals”, those who find their sexuality onerous. Do her detractors think such people don’t exist? Do they seriously believe that, while multitudes are supposed to be clamouring for a sex change, no homosexual would wish to change his sexuality?
If they believe that, they are deluded. They should listen to the song Glad to Be Gay by the punk group Tom Robinson Band, which has been considered the national gay anthem since it was released in 1976.
No one can miss the rage and anguish thundering from the lyrics “Sing if you’re glad to be gay, sing if you’re happy that way.” The unmistakable message is that some such people aren’t happy, so why not help them if possible?
If a treatment for homosexuality were available, clearly it would be like any medical help: offered only to those who seek it. In this case, those who aren’t glad to be gay.
One would think that anyone with a modicum of compassion and love would welcome such a scientific breakthrough. But that would be missing the point, which has nothing to do with compassion and love.
It’s all about scoring political points by propping up totem poles with false idols perched on top.
Yet Ann Widdecombe stubbornly refuses to prostrate herself before those idols. So the pyre has been assembled, all the twigs are in. Does anyone have a match?