Thursday, 8 November 2012

Defending David Cameron. This Shan't Happen Again.

Phillip Schofield, in an ill-advised stunt, "confronted" David Cameron with a list of names of people suspected of paedophilia (by people online). I've no evidence they aren't but I suspect Schofield has no evidence they are. If he does he's best talking to the police about his accusations. I'm pretty sure David Cameron already knows who is suspect of paedophilia at this point, I doubt his advisers have been slow to fill him in given how big a story this has become.

David Cameron responded, and it pains me to say this, in a dignified and thoughtful way.

"There is a danger, if we're not careful, that this could turn into a sort of witch-hunt, particularly against people who are gay and I'm worried about the sort of thing you are doing right now - giving me a list of names that you've taken off the internet."

Warning against witch-hunts, which let's face it aren't that unusual in this country when it comes to paedophilia, is sensible. And people, especially online, do have a habit of accusing gay and bisexual men (or even heterosexual men accused of being gay) of paedophilia so warning against this is sort of sensible.

I was concerned that, in bringing this up, Cameron may well be giving just the angle to the story certain media outlets would love to have to spin this scandal from paedophilia to homosexuality (and some of the accusations so far have been of men with boys over 16 but under the age of consent at the time when the sex occurred).

Unfortunately his comments have been taken in the wrong way (or used to politically attack him) by many on Twitter. They are accusing him of linking homosexuality and paedophilia. Which he did but only in warning against linking them!

 It is sad we have come to the point where we attack someone who is trying to protect LGBT people from undeserved accusations, probably some of his colleagues and friends who will have been named but may not be guilty. People online really do make these connections, often in vivid and disturbing detail. Just read some of the stuff on Guido Fawkes website sometimes and you'll see how much homophobia is expressed through paedophilia jokes. David Cameron was not wrong and I am pleased he has stood up and called for reason and caution on what is obviously a very emotive subject.

I'm not saying that we shouldn't rigourously investigate allegations of paedophilia. But we need to do better than rumours and innuendo. And when someone tries to defend LGBT people, let us not cut them down just because it suits our political agenda. Even if that someone is a Tory Prime Minister.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

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