Paris Lees: 'Welcome to Tory hell, everybody'

2015-05-15
paris2-683x10241-200x300-200x300To be honest, I’m really not feeling this Tory government. Sorry if you happen to be gay and Tory. That’s your problem. There are many gay Tories I admire – Ivan Massow, Iain Dale and Matthew Parris, for example – but that doesn’t change the fact that this Conservative government is bad news for minorities. Let’s have a look at the evidence. First up is Caroline Dinenage, the new Minister for Equalities. You know, her who campaigned against equal rights for gay people. In 2013, when gay people’s right to marry still wasn’t in the bag, Caroline claimed that “marriage is in its nature a union of ‘one man and one woman’, and that “the institution of marriage is distinctive.” She voted against the equal marriage bill at its second reading and didn’t vote in the third reading. Religious objections, apparently. Our equalities minister actively opposed gay rights (although she now insists she's changed her mind). David Cameron, are you having a fucking laugh? I almost feel bad for Cameron. Almost. It’s clear that he and his lovely wife Samantha (I’m not being sarcastic: I’ve met her; she’s delightful) aren’t the nasty old Tories of the 1980s, many of whom, sadly, remain and will prove to be thorns in the Prime Minister’s side over the coming years. The Camerons, I’m sure, are not so very different from any other cosmopolitan couple living in London in their 40s. I doubt they are homophobes. Samantha’s brother certainly likes to party with gay fashionistas and Sam Cam seems to have been a driving force behind the push for marriage equality. But there was always a danger that whoever Dave chose to be equalities minister might not be pro equality because, let’s face it, his is a party full of anti-equality MPs. It’s not looking good for other minorities, either. Cuts disproportionately affect women. Disabled people will suffer too. Guess who voted against protecting benefits for disabled children and those having cancer treatment? Why, Dave’s new minister for disabled people, of course! Say hello to Justin Tomlinson, who, it must be said, did at least vote in favour of gay rights. But still. He’s also a fan of the bedroom tax. Who else is running the country now? Oh yes. John Whittingdale. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Pretty much wants to get rid of the BBC. Or how about the delightful Michael Gove? Who was so unbelievably popular as minister for education that Dave’s giving him a crack at looking after justice now. Back in 1998, Gove called for the death penalty to be reintroduced. He seems to have softened his stance on capital punishment since then – he’s not, as far as I’m aware, calling for the death penalty now – but he will taking care of the government’s plans to take us out the Human Rights Act. It will be the first time anyone has repealed human rights legislation in Europe since the Second World War. We’re going to have a ‘British bill of rights’ instead. Don’t worry, though. I’m sure we’ll all have loads more human rights when the Conservatives are done working their magic! Like many people, I’m coming to terms with living in a truly Tory Britain for the first time. The last time the Conservatives had a majority I was more interested in Blue Peter and the Spice Girls than the boring old business of politics. Politics still bores me, by the way, but with these lot as our new overlords, I think it’s time I started paying a bit more attention to what’s going on at Westminster – and you should too. WORDS BY PARIS LEES